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Principles Underlying Authentic Youth Engagement

In the spirit of collaboration, seeking input or comments on an overall list of principles for youth engagement. After combing through quite a few sites, here's what I've got as the principles of youth engagement....

I'm keen to see this improved for the APA report

youth leader showing her commuting breakdown
  • Curiosity/Learning/Dynamic

  • engagement is not a static process but one where the dynamics of the time, place, and participants reflect/shape the process;

  • each participant contributes to the process by bringing their expertise (academic, lived experience, and/or observations); and

  • an open attitude encourages all to learn from each other.

  • Supportive/Relationships

  • it is essential to make time to establish trust, social cohesion, and to build/maintain a safe space with open channels of communication;

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs can be adapted in relation to youth engagement;

  • youth are free to opt-out if that is what they feel they need to do.

  • Agency

  • clearly outlined goals and parameters for youth input help to set realistic expectations and avoid tokenism;

  • there is a sincere intention to follow up with de-briefs and discuss feedback with transparency during and after the decision-making processes;

  • there is capacity for youth to build/strengthen skills;

  • youth can be active participants in the research process.

  • Respect/Inclusive

  • personal respect is essential for each participant as individuals, (accessibility needs, emotional comfort and inclusivity, check-ins during public processes);

  • youth’s time is no less valuable than adult’s;

  • avoiding acronyms and acknowledging pronouns is important;

  • inclusivity often means actively seeking participation from underrepresented and BIPOC youth.


Roark 2024; Urban Minds 2022, 14-18; Vokes et al 2019; Holley 2016; Orsini 2013; Ministry of Youth Development Aotearoa 2004

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