What Does This Mean?

Goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Timely. * Establish and achieve SMART goals for the initiative. Where possible, youth are involved in setting and attaining these goals. * Youth are supported to establish SMART personal goals.


Specific.  The goals are well defined and clear to anyone with basic knowledge of the initiative.


Measurable.  Goals can be measured in several ways, the easiest way of knowing if a goal is measurable is to ask yourself: How do you know when the goal is achieved? If the goal is to increase the number of youth who sit on a board to be 50%, then you have reached that goal when half of the board members are youth.


Agreed Upon.  Goals are agreed upon when all the stakeholders agree on what the goals are. If goals are only stated verbally, then it can lead to people having differences in understanding what the goals are. For this reason, writing them down and reviewing them helps everyone get on the same page.


Realistic.  Goals are realistic when they take into account true availability of resources; time, money, knowledge, interest levels, and skilled people. If it’s not realistic, it can lead to undue stress and even burnout.


Timely.  Goals are timely when they have the right amount of time set aside – not too much or too little. Keeping track of how much time is invested on tasks and objectives makes future estimations of time easier.

Examples of establishing SMART Goals.

  • Youth Board Members
    Youth Art Connection
    Having youth on the board is critical to YAC’s strategy. They are often past participants who were highly active in YAC as well as remember what it was like to participate in the programs. Who better to help make important decision about youth programming than youth?
  • Personal Goals
    Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
    Being involved in YTM helps youth to identify their own areas of interest and to set goals within and outside of the program. These vary between personal, academic, community and career objectives. Goals are highly individual: For some youth, showing up is a measure of success where as others aim to build specific skills. It is important that adult supporters and youth know that it is perfectly okay for people to participate and set goals according to interests.
  • Professional Goals
    ArtPreneurs, Youth Art Connection
    ArtPreneurs is designed to help young artists to find the courage to set and achieve professional goals to become entrepreneurs in the arts. One of their strengths is in providing consistent meeting times and places where participants work towards their goals with support from the staff and other youth.
  • Evaluation
    Healthy Relationships for Youth, Antigonish Women’s Recourse Centre
    Both youth facilitators as well as youth participants engage in evaluations to measure the effectiveness of the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program. Having youth actively involved in the evaluation can lead to insights that adults might have missed as to how the program could be even better in the future.

Resources to help create SMART Goals!

Take the Survey for


Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre

The 10-20 min survey is designed to get members of your initiative talking by asking questions from each of the seven RESPECT components that provoke new ideas around youth engagement. It works best if both adults and youth from across the initiative take the survey before discussing next steps. After you’re done the survey, you will get a snap shot of where your initiative is at with youth engagement, your answers to the questions, and one example and resource for each of the components. In the discussion, pay attention to where there is common agreement, and where people rated the initiative differently. Exploring the differences in perspective can reveal blind spots and new insights.

Also found in Principle S of this website.

Airport Activity
Partners for Youth Empowerment
A fun, short activity to help with visioning and goal setting.

D3PARC: A Tool for Youth Community Action
Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development
This tool aids groups, organizations, or individuals to work with youth in order to take action in their community (service learning, placemaking, volunteering, art projects, etc…). D3PARC has proven to provide a strong guideline for creating a meaningful, empowering, and engaging process for youth action in community.

Also found in Principles R & C of this website.

Youth Engagement Spectrum (YES)
HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development
The YES tool can be used by organizations, communities, and systems (e.g., health care, child welfare, education, etc.) to:

  • Assess the extent of youth engagement in existing programs and services
  • Explore new ways and means of engaging youth in organizations and in the community (or system)
  • Identify the underlying values and activating principles that can help make youth engagement a commonplace practice
  • Design youth engagement strategy to fit specific situations and local circumstances.

Also found in Principles R & P of this website.

Indicator Framework
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Assessment Tool
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Visit Website

Indicator Framework & Assessment Tool
Youth Engagement Toolkit, Joint Consortium for School Health
The Indicator Framework outlines eight Qualities of Youth Engagement, which are: Physical and psychological safety; Appropriate Structure; Supportive Relationships; Opportunities for Belonging and Meaningful Inclusion; Positive Social Norms; Support for Efficacy and Mattering; Opportunities for Skills Building and Learning; Integration of Family, school and Community Efforts. The Assessment Tool helps guide the conversation in light of your initiative’s current practices and to set goals for improving engagement practices. Click here to see the complete Toolkit.

Youth Engagement Outcomes
Youth Engagement Toolkit, Joint Consortium for School Health
This resource lists the outcomes of youth engagement with respect to impacts on young people (individual and social level outcomes); on adults (individual and social level outcomes); on programs/services (system level outcomes); and on the organization (system level outcomes). Click here to see the complete Toolkit.

Evaluation: Sharing the Stories
The Students Commission
Sharing the Stories provides youth serving organizations with the capacity and consistent tools to evaluate their youth programs, events and initiatives. This project will support both youth and your organization in tracking outcomes and telling the story of your youth programs and initiatives more readily, rigorously and efficiently.

Engaging & Empowering Aboriginal Youth: A Toolkit for Service Providers (2nd Ed.)
Authors: Claire V. Crooks, Director, Debbie Chiodo, Darren Thomas, Shanna Burns, & Charlene Camillo
This Toolkit presents a wide range of guidelines, strategies, templates, and case studies for those who work with Aboriginal youth. A mix of conceptual guidelines and practical strategies are provided throughout the Toolkit. In addition to the four key sections of the first edition – Background and Overview, Guiding Principles, Working with Schools, Research and Evaluation – the second edition has been updated to include an additional section on assessment, which provides a series of assessment tools to assist with identifying a starting point for change.

Also found in Principles S, P & C of this website.

Workshop Game: Group Quilt
Partners for Youth Empowerment
The Group Quilt helps youth create a visual representation of their experiences and to process what they have learned.