Youth-adult partnerships are at the heart of the 4-H mission, and are a guiding principle for how 4-H leaders, staff, and volunteers work with young people.
All members of a community (including young people) have a role in creating a strong and healthy community. Sustained positive relationships between young people and adults support the healthy development and well-being of youth, while also benefiting adults, organizations, and communities.
Youth-adult partnerships occur when:
- Young people are seen as assets to their communities as much as adults.
- Adults create ongoing opportunities for young people to share leadership with them in community settings.
- Youth contribute what they uniquely bring to the group and to the community.
- Youth and adults engage as equals in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs that shape the development of youth, as well as their communities.
In 4-H, youth-adult partnerships take many expressions. They may be achieved in youth and adults working cooperatively to lead club meetings, organize fundraising events, plan summer camps, carry out community service-learning projects, or support youth voice and representation on councils.
Youth-adult partnerships are one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of 4-H! Please see the link on this page for more information and additional resources.
Here is a collection of resources we feel can help you strengthen your youth-adult partnerships.
- The Power of an Untapped Resource: Exploring Youth Representation on Your Board or Committee (PDF)
Manual compiled by an Alaskan teen for any group that is interested in expanding representation, "growing their own" board members for tomorrow, and/or empowering the youth in their community. An increasing number of previously adult-only boards are soliciting youth involvement. This resource is designed to address the questions adult board members may be asking.
- Making It Work: A Guide to Successful Youth-Adult Partnerships (PDF)
Publication from the Texas Network for Youth Services is geared toward helping youth and adults find success in partnering together in their communities. It includes sections on fundamentals of YAPs, forming and sustaining YAPs, and recognizing and working through barriers.
- Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders (PDF)
Published by the National League of Cities, offers municipal leaders a look at what makes youth engagement authentic, and the settings, structures, strategies and supports leaders can put in place to make local government more welcoming and inclusive of youth.
- Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide to Engaging Youth in Policy Making (PDF)
Guide offers policy makers a rationale, six keys to effective youth councils and resources to assist with planning and implementing initiatives to involve young people.