What Does This Mean?

Build trust. Youth are supported and guided by adults in the activities, and also to take leadership roles. * Respect, encourage and actively listen to everyone’s ideas. * Together, create group agreements around behaviour, roles, expectations and limits. * Adults encourage youth to make their own decisions while still providing a high level of support and guidance. * Youth are encouraged to think critically about their actions and decisions. Be flexible and prioritize youth needs.


Building Trust  is a major part in the foundation of interpersonal relationships, whether they are with parents, young people, friends, or co-workers. It is just as easy to build trust as it is to break it down. It is important to put effort into trust building, which in turn develops mutual respect.

Healthy Relationships  consist of honesty, trust, respect and open communication. In a healthy relationship, people spend time together and apart, are able to openly express their feelings and concerns, and personal boundaries are respected.

Support & Guidance  comes in many forms, and it can be as simple as being a soundboard for youth to bounce their ideas off of while providing suggestions. Finding the right balance of support and guidance can be tricky as adults want to guide and support and must be careful not to take control away from youth. The best thing to do is just ask the youth what support they need and to make oneself available to them, which is often above and beyond role descriptions.

Respect Ideas.  It is essential that adults promote and encourage discussion in a way that does not put youth down or make them feel uncomfortable, because, it is easy to break someone’s confidence with a negative remark or dismissal.

Group Agreements,  or Community Standards, 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 community standards and they can look like lots of things: a mural, a poem, a list of principles, or a sculpture created together! The process of creating community standards is an invaluable experience for any group.

Critical thinking  is used when we see or hear something and test whether or not there is evidence to support or oppose it, and if it makes sense for us. 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?

Examples of how adults can offer support & guidance.

  • Trust & Respect
    Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
    Adult supporters in YTM keep their promises to youth and prove over time that they can be counted on. Some of the ways they become trust worthy are by being on time to meetings, ensuring that the events they bring youth to will have a positive impact on the youth, and treating all youth with the same respect. Youth are trained in trust-building principles to: “Do what you say; Never lie; Volunteer information; Don’t omit important details; Speak your feelings; Tell the truth; Honour your promises”.
  • Flexibility & Emotional Safety
    Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
    The YTM staff prioritize the needs of the youth over their agenda on any given day. Remaining flexible and open with their plans sends a strong message to the youth that the adult supporters care about the youth as human beings. Putting youth first leads to a greater sense of trust and emotional safety within the group. Youth know that they can speak honestly in the weekly group meetings and in one-on-one talks with the staff.
  • Core Values: Boundaries & Love
    Centreline Studios, In My Own Voice (iMove)View Website
    Centreline Studios provides young participants with their core values of boundaries and love. Participants needed to know that the studio had no intentions of parachuting into their community and then bailing out when and if resources dried up: They have continued programming through thick and thin. Restorative practices are used as methods of conflict resolution and over the years Centreline has become home to youth, elders and organizations within and beyond the borders of Uniacke Square.
  • Video: Youth Adult Partnerships
    Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and HeartWood Centre for Community Youth DevelopmentView Website
    Several years of collaboration between HeartWood, the NS Department of Community Services and young people connected to DCS in Bridgewater has lead to some amazing change in how youth and adults partner to make positive community change. Watch the inspiring video on what can be accomplished when youth and adults cooperate around a common goal!

Resources to enhance support & guidance from adults!

Take the Survey for

Youth Participants
Adult Supporters

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 E (Establish Goals) of this website.

Community Standards
HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development
Having youth create their own “standards”, or agreements, is empowering and it provides a foundation for group development; i.e., when the group gets into its “storming” phase, the standards are a useful reference for how we can deal with issues and problems that come up. This resource illustrates how a facilitator may guide a group through the learning process to maximize their learning experience.

Also found in Principle E (Environment) of this website.

Tools for Adult Supporters: Youth Leadership Training
YTM Tool Kit Section 1, Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
This guide is valuable in creating Youth Leadership Facilitation Training retreats, covering anything from the logistics, to the art of facilitation, to example YTM youth-led workshops. Embedded throughout are approaches that help create the right atmosphere including creating community agreements, building trust, and using inclusive language. The guide includes these trust-building principles for the youth and adults: Do what you say; Never lie; Volunteer information; Don’t omit important details; Speak your feelings; Tell the truth; Honour your promises. This guide can be modified to fit your initiative’s purpose and goals. See the website for the complete tool kit.

Also found in Principles R, E (Environment), P & C of this website.

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 P, E (Establish Goals) & C of this website.