Children and Youth Voice, Youth Involvement, Youth Engagement, Youth Organizing and Youth Participation

in City and County Government


INTRODUCTION: Lifelong community membership through active youth councils. These councils have a variety of responsibilities, including opportunities to affect citywide decision-making. There are also an increasing number of youth positions on regular city commissions.


POINT TO PONDER: "If it is clear youth will be encouraged and listened to, and preparations are well thought out, you are set up for success... Having youth on boards and commissions has been a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Youth feel their voice is valued and that they have an impact on city decisions. Adult members benefit from the fresh perspective, optimism, and enthusiasm youth bring to the table."

- Matt McCarter, quoted here.


RESOURCES: The following are groups of special groups of youth-only decision-makers in local government agencies.

National League of Cities Youth Leadership in Municipal Government - Activities and resources promoting youth voice.

League of Minnesota Cities Youth Involvement in Governance Webpage - A good resource including information on organizing, operating and developing youth councils, conferences, and other youth involvement ideas.  Includes tips for youth and adults working together and resource information.


Also visit The Freechild Project Child and Youth Involvement in Community Planning webpage.



Spotlight: Hampton, VA

Spring, 2005 - Hampton, Virginia may be the foremost community in the United States when it comes to infusing Youth Voice, Involvement, and Engagement. Schools, community organizations, and the local government are heavily interested and invested in young people.


Following are links to programs throughout the area, as well as articles and publications about what is going on in Hampton.


Programs in Hampton

Articles about Hampton

Freechild Hearts Hampton!

Baltimore Youth Congress (scroll down)

Boise, Idaho  Youth on City Boards

San Francisco (CA) Youth Commission

Boston, Massachusetts Mayor's Youth Council - Established in the spring of 1994, the Mayor's Youth Council provides Boston young people with an active role in addressing youth issues.

Mankato, Minnesota Youth on City Committees

Dallas, Texas Youth Commission - The mission of the Youth Commission is to serve as a voice for the youth within city government.

Ann Arbor (MI) Youth Senate - Teens meet weekly in school-based Forums and monthly on a citywide basis. Senate Officers and Committee leaders from Forums meet weekly to address issues of common concern to youth in the community.

Dane County, Wisconsin Youth Commission

A collection of dozens of youth involvement activities in communities across Washington

Global - International

Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Council)- Ireland - Comhairle na nÓg is an Irish term for Youth Council. Each city or county in Ireland has created a Comhairle na nÓg to give voice to young people aged 7-17 living in Ireland. Their objective is to ensure that the youth voice is heard at local level. Dublin's Youth Council is the largest in Ireland. The 55 members of the Dublin Comhairle na nÓg were elected from over 500 children of ages 7-17 who participated in six prior youth seminars.


The Freechild Project Section Investigating Youth Involvement


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