Youth Civic Engagement Tools & Resources

Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders (2010)
Published with support from the Surdna Foundation, this guide offers practical tools for promoting meaningful youth participation in local government. The guide is informed by a year-long process in which the YEF Institute synthesized the knowledge and expertise of more than 300 youth development experts, academics, municipal leaders, community organization partners and young adult and youth leaders from across the nation through a series of focus groups, surveys and interviews conducted in 2008 and 2009.

The State of City Leadership for Children and Families: Innovations and Trends in Youth Civic Engagement (2009)
The YEF Institute's first-ever report on The State of City Leadership for Children and Families identifies the nation's most cutting-edge city strategies to help children and families thrive. This chapter highlights the broad range of innovations and trends in municipal leadership around promoting youth civic engagement.
Full report (PDF) | Youth civic engagement chapter (PDF)

Building Effective Youth Councils (2007)
Produced by the Forum for Youth Investment in collaboration with the YEF Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures, this report highlights six key tasks for creating effective youth councils, examples of strong municipal youth councils, and sample city ordinances, applications, bylaws, release forms, research, and other resources.

Shaping the Future: A Manual on How to Start or Improve Your Own Youth Commission (2007)
Shaping the Future is a manual on how to start or improve your own youth commission, published by the award-winning Hampton, Va., Youth Commission. The manual outlines the basic steps necessary for a successful commission and guidance to help you create a commission that works for your community's specific issues.

Organizational Tools and Helps for Starting a Youth Council (2006)
The Caldwell, Idaho, Mayor's Youth Advisory Council (MYAC), formed under the leadership of Mayor Garret Nancolas, created this guide for municipal leaders on how to form a youth council. The guide highlights steps for organizing a youth council, and includes sample letters to schools, by-laws, applications, agendas, minutes, and proclamations.

Strengthening Families in America's Cities: Youth Conditions and Participation (2003)
Research findings published in this report are from NLC's Strengthening Families in America's Cities survey of municipal officials. The study finds that city leaders see youth as one of the most underserved groups in America; job training and employment opportunities are seen as an especially critical need; youth voices are valued by local elected officials; and cities are providing youth with multiple opportunities to become involved in civic life.

Youth Participation Strategy Spotlights (2003)
These strategy spotlights highlight a range of opportunities for city officials to get involved in promoting youth participation in municipal government and the community, as well as examples of cities that encourage youth leadership.
Youth Summits (PDF) | Youth Service (PDF) | Youth-Adult Partnerships (PDF) | Diversity (PDF)

Action Kit for Municipal Leaders on Promoting Youth Participation (2001)
This action kit for municipal leaders focuses on youth participation in municipal government and youth involvement in local communities by highlighting strategies to establish a youth council, plan community youth mapping projects to identify local programs and services that are available, host a youth summit, and promote youth service.