A How to Guide for Youth Councils

Download the Complete Youth Council Guide or download it in parts below.

Operating Guide

Workbook

Toolkit

Resource Guide

Overview

Meaningful participation in decision-making on issues that concern their lives and community is an essential component in supporting positive youth development. This early involvement creates a sense of belonging, autonomy and power, and helps youth develop needed social and decision-making skills they carry with them into adulthood.  A formation of Youth Councils provides a vehicle for young people to become involved in decision making that effects their individual lives and lives of others in their community.

Youth Council Goals

  • To provide life skills and leadership training to youth in middle school through the ages of 24 to be stewards of social service;
  • To increase preteen, teenager and young adult participation in events;
  • To complete community projects that have a positive impact;
  • To foster a sense of belonging and responsibility;
  • To develop future leaders of our communities; and
  • To lead our youth to a greater sense of wellbeing

 Desired Outcomes

  • Increase engagement in individual and community wellness activities;
  • Build leadership skills and individual competencies;
  • Build the skills and abilities of young people to be decision-makers and problem solvers;
  •  Increase positive self-identity and confidence;
  • Increase interest in local decision-making through city and tribal councils;
  • Support positive peer relationships;
  •  Increase knowledge of all dimensions of wellness;  and
  • Encourage effective communication.

 Youth Leader Responsibilities and Duties

  • Attend bi-weekly Youth Council meetings;
  • Disseminate wellness information throughout the community;
  • Help organize a minimum of 2 events a year;
  • Participate in a minimum of 2 service activities;
  • Attend all youth council meetings (to the best of your ability);
  • Engage other youth to participate in wellness activities;
  • Be a role model for younger kids;
  • Maintain good grades and positive attitude; and
  • Receive parental consent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Youth Council?

A Youth Council is comprised of community youth working together to improve the health and wellbeing of themselves and their community. Youth provide guidance and develop activities that can help create a healthy, active and resilient communities. It is up to the individual community to determine the specific guidelines for their Youth Council (i.e. age range of council members, responsibilities, activities)

My community does not have a Youth Council. How do I get started?

Whether you are a youth, teacher, parent or local leader, you can take the initial steps in establishing a Youth Council in your community. Ways to get started:

  • Gather three to five interested people to start discussing the need for a Youth Council in your community
  • Discuss who will oversee the Youth Council (i.e. school, local organizations, City or Tribal council, Boys & Girls Club)
  • Identify an adult leader to oversee the Youth Council
  • Hold an initial meeting
  • Design an application process
    • Do you want written applications or interviews? Can all interested youth participate?
  • Select Youth Council members
  • Create a Youth Council Action Plan

How should members be selected?

Potential members of the Youth Council should:

  • Demonstrate interest in individual and/or community wellness;
  • Display community awareness/involvement;
  • Be willing to commit time; and
  • Be reliable, respectable and honest.

What can a Youth Council do?

  • Help develop and implementation of wellness activities and program;
  • Assess your community’s health and wellness policies and programs;
  • Develop an action plan;
  • Hold weekly or monthly wellness activities;
  • Distribute wellness information;
  • Engage with other local organizations and councils (City, Tribe, Elders);
  • Coordinate resources, services and healthy initiatives
  • Create Public Service Announcements (PSAs);
  • Create and distribute a newsletter with wellness and healthy living tips;
  • Raise money for specific activities or projects; and
  • Host talking circles for their peers.

RESOURCES

 http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/shapingnj/documents/work/publications/SCHOOL%20WELLNESS%20COUNCIL%20BROCHURE%20FINAL.pdf

 http://nutrition.dadeschools.net/Wellness/SchoolWellnessCounciltoolkit.pdf

 http://www.centerfornonprofitexcellence.org/sites/default/files/files/Creating%20a%20Teen%20Board_Ambassador%20Program%20Toolkit%20CNPE.pdf