Balance of Power. Do youth and adults feel like there is equality and respect between them? That they are able to speak and be heard, to make decisions, and set the direction of the initiative? Adults have more access to power within typical power structures, so it is important that the power balance is not taken for granted by ensuring that youth have a say in whether it feels balanced for them.
Token youth engagement is when youth are invited to participate only to give the appearance of youth engagement. This can be when their participation does not feel important or inclusive for the youth and/or when youth are asked their opinions or feedback yet it is ignored or there was never any intention to take action.
Giving Input. There are ways for youth to share thoughts, feelings, opinions, and feedback that are taken seriously and influence decisions moving forward.
Youth Involvement. Youth are more engaged, feel more ownership, and care more about the outcomes when they are involved in multiple dimensions of the initiative. Are youth involved in: Planning events, decision making, short and long term programming, or strategic planning? Being hands-on both behind the scenes and in the forefront? Evaluating the initiative? Overseeing that part or all of a job is done, including training or overseeing others? This could be anything from organizing the volunteers, to making sure that the food table is set up, to leading the clean up.