Step 1 of 2 - REAL EMPOWERMENT

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  • Welcome to the survey! Your answers are confidential and are only shared with people if you choose to share it. You can click 'Next' or 'Back' without loosing your answers.

    As you fill in the survey, think about real examples around the program, project, event, organization or initiative you are filling this in for.
    Don’t worry; it is not realistic that you will write ‘Always’ or ‘Often’ on every answer!

    0 = N/A (Does not apply to us. Ex. The initiative has no control over where we are legally allowed to meet youth.)

    1 = Never (Have not taken action yet, or might not have thought of this before.)

    2 = Sometimes (Have started planning this, or occasionally do it.)

    3 = Often (It happens often and I can see how it could happen more.)

    4 = Always (It is core to the way we ‘do things’.)


  • REAL EMPOWERMENT

  • Does something change in the lives of the youth or others as a result of participating? It can be anything from feeling a little better, to making new friends, to learning something useful, to improved self-esteem.
  • Planning means getting ready for something to happen or setting out a longer-term plan to achieve a vision. For example, if holding an event, did youth; decide they wanted to do an event, choose a theme, set a date, pick a place, choose activities/performers, set the schedule, decide how to decorate and what kinds of food and drinks to have?
  • There is a lot of work that goes into making an event, project or program a success. Were youth part of the behind-the-scenes work and in the spotlight to make it happen? For example, if holding an event, did youth; make posters, spread the word (in person/social media), design the event, set up, organize volunteers, welcome people, perform, speak or facilitate?
  • Environment is Youth Friendly

  • When planning meetings or events, it is important to make sure that youth can access it easily, that it feels safe, and free from distractions. Each group of youth will have different needs. It is essential that participating youth decide which days, times and locations work best for them. For example, having meetings after school on school property could work for one group where as another group might find it easier at the community centre on weekends.
  • What is your first reaction, your gut feeling? Does it feel easy to be yourself in the group?
  • Support and Guidance from Adults

  • Group agreements can be the most valuable aspect of the entire program. It is an opportunity for the participants to create the standards of how they want to be as a group and the principles that they want to live by and strive for during the program (and beyond!). All groups need some form of group agreements and they can look like lots of things: like a mural, poem, list of principles, or a sculpture created together! The process of creating group agreements is an invaluable experience for any group.
  • Support and guidance comes in many forms. Finding the right balance of support and guidance can be tricky as adult supporters must be careful not to take control away from youth. It works best when the youth shares what support they need to participate fully and when adult supporters make themselves available, often above and beyond role descriptions.
  • Critical thinking is used when we see or hear something and ask ourselves questions around whether or not it makes sense and if we agree with it. For example, someone can use critical thinking when seeing messages in the media by asking questions like: Where do these messages come from? What is their purpose? How does the message make me feel? Do I agree with the ethics behind it?
  • Participation is Meaningful

  • This is different for everyone. For example, one person might be interested in graphic design, someone else in learning about their culture, and someone else in meeting new people. Participation feels best when there is room for people to explore personal interests.
  • It is important not to assume that everyone has the same time or interest to take part in just one way, and that all ways of participation are valued. For example, the youth who show up every week and sit quietly are equally as important as those who take an active leadership role.
  • Establish Goals

  • Each initiative will have different goals depending on its starting point and where the youth and adults want to take it. Goals can be anything from; having more youth involved, to changing how the youth participate, to what it accomplishes in a year. For example, an initiative might set the goals to start peer-to-peer learning programs and to have more youth-driven projects over the next year.
  • Being clear about goals are and when and how they will happen helps make it easier to reach. Try for S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Timely)
  • Community Matters

  • Focusing the initiative outside of the youth involved helps build connections to a sense of greater purpose. Service learning is a great example of how mutually beneficial relationships and learning experiences can be created.
  • Value is created for youth, the organization, and society when youth can engage within the greater community. Building relationships with community members can help build a sense of belonging and attachment to the community as well as provide future friendships and volunteer or work opportunities.
  • Most structures in society do not naturally have space for youth voice, decision making, and participation. It can take dedication, perseverance and imagination to find mutually beneficial opportunities for youth that offer genuine involvement.
  • Together We Learn

  • Sometimes building skills will be done in a formal way, and other times it happens naturally. People like hearing feedback in different ways. Learn how each person wants to receive constructive feedback. For example, some might like it one-on-one while others like it in small groups; some want to know right away and others want to have a weekly check in.
  • It is important for youth to develop healthy relationships with other youth. This can be learning from other youth, giving support and guidance to each other.
  • Are there resources for adults to build new skills, learn from each other, receive feedback from youth, and take risks? Does the organization review its practices and policies to remove barriers for youth participation?