Youth-Adult Partnerships
A training for volunteer
administrators working to build
partnerships among youth and adults
Youth Boards = Youth-Adult Partnerships
Building Youth-Adult Partnerships
Characteristics of Effective Y-A Partnerships
Identifying Barriers to Effective
• Mapping Youth-Adult Partnerships
• Developing a Common Vision
Effective Youth-Adult
• Each person is able to contribute his/her
unique talents, skills and knowledge
• Youth and adults share equally in the
decision making process
• Each group is treated with respect and
Youth-Adult Partnerships
• Do NOT occur any time youth and adults
are present in the same room!
• DO occur when youth and adults plan,
learn and work together, with both
groups sharing equally in the decisionmaking process
Claiming Your Voice
• Objective: Creates an opportunity for
youth and adults to understand each
other’s perspectives and have dialogue
about power.
• Agree/Disagree Statements
• No conversation, comment or debate
Agree or Disagree
Youth should be able to evaluate the
programs and agencies that serve them.
Agree or Disagree
Young people don’t have enough life
experience to make informed choices
about their lives.
Agree or Disagree
Youth should be involved in hiring staff.
Agree or Disagree
Adults don’t listen to the opinions of
young people when program planning.
Agree or Disagree
Every youth agency should have young
people on its board of directors.
Agree or Disagree
Elected officials should involve young
people in making every decision that
affects youth.
Agree or Disagree
Young people should sit on the school
Youth-Adult Partnership
• Examine how you are doing as an active participant
in a youth-adult partnership – YOUTH BOARD
• Identify current strengths, motivations, actions and
• Support you in establishing new goals and
pinpointing areas of development that you may
want to focus on
• Assist youth-adult partnerships in becoming more
Building Youth-Adult
• Basic Principles and Values of Partnerships
– Acknowledging that everyone has something to say and
that everyone should be listened to equally.
– Adults publicly say that they respect youth, and youth
publicly say that they respect adults.
– Understanding that there is a difference between doing
something with youth and doing something for youth.
Building Youth-Adult
• Conditions must be in place for partnership
to succeed:
– Adults need to be willing to share their power
and responsibility.
– Youth need to be willing to gain power and
take on responsibility.
– Both youth and adults need the skills to work
successfully together.
– Everyone needs to forget everything they have
ever though about youth and adults as
separate groups and start treating them the
way they would treat their peers.
Adults Need to Remember:
• Don’t expect more from a youth than you would
from another adult.
• Treat young people as individuals; don’t make
one youth represent all youth.
• Be careful about interruptions when young
people are speaking.
• It’s okay to ask for help when you don’t know
how to do something.
Youth Need to Remember:
• Criticism doesn’t necessarily equate to
• Adults may not be aware of how capable youth
• Adults will feel responsible for the success or
failure of the project.
• It’s okay to ask for help when you don’t know
how to do something.
Identifying Characteristics of
Effective Youth-Adult Partnerships
• Think about a time when you were a part
of a successful youth-adult partnership:
– What do you remember?
– How did it feel?
– What made it work?
• What are some of the characteristics that
are important to you?
Identifying Characteristics of
Effective Youth-Adult Partnerships
Effective youth-adult partnerships…
Identifying Barriers
• How do adults view young people?
• How do young people view adults?
• What behaviors have you experienced in
intergenerational meetings that would not be
helpful in building healthy partnerships?
• What behaviors have you seen that help build
strong partnerships?
• What blocks us from building effective working
relationships between youth and adults?
• How can we ensure that barriers to building
effective partnerships are minimized or
Timing is Everything
• Plan a two-hour meeting as quickly as
• Rules:
– No one may cancel any appointment, and they
may only move the underlined appointments
– Each person must be asked about a specific
slot in order to reply. A person cannot offer up
she he/she is free but can only answer specific
Mapping Youth-Adult
• Think of the last decision made that
affected your 4-H program
– Who identified the problem or issue?
– Who made the decision?
– How did everyone find out about the
decision once it was made?
Mapping Youth-Adult
• List all committees, task forces, coalitions,
etc., that make decisions affecting your 4-H
• Think about where youth are involved in
the decision making of all these groups.
Circle the groups that use youth-adult
• Think about the groups that could have
youth-adult teams or that could increase
the level of youth-adult partnership.
– Find at least five new areas
Developing a Common Vision
• Envision the future of your Youth Board…
– What specific project(s) might you work on?
– What roles can the youth and adults play to
get the work done?
– What outcomes do you want to achieve in a
year or two?
In 2 to 3 years…
• What do we want to see in place?
– Imagine it is two years from now. What are
your Youth Board’s accomplishments?
– What have you learned?
– What are others saying about your Youth
– Who has been affected?
How does this relate?
• Successful youth-adult partnerships will
lead to a successful Youth Board
• Youth Board members need youth-adult
partnership training
• Let them know they are a part of a youthadult partnership
Information and activities adapted from: