Balancing Youth Leadership with Adult Support

All Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) need support from adults to be successful. Adults manage access to money, meeting spaces, and other resources that can affect the YAC’s work. They also have knowledge and skills that can help the group succeed.

Balancing adult support with youth leadership can be hard. It takes practice.

Adults must:

  • Take youth seriously.
  • Listen and respect young people’s decision-making power.
  • Understand that youth need ongoing support.
  • Help youth make real change for themselves and their peers.
Teacher studying school books in class with high school kids

What normally happens?

Adults make decisions in schools and other organizations that serve youth. This does not mean that adults do not care about what students can offer. When adults and youth do not work together to make decisions, they miss the chance to learn from young people’s lived experiences about important issues and ways to address those issues.

Opportunities for youth to lead:

  • Set the agenda.
  • Share experiences.
  • Play the primary role in developing goals.
  • Direct the development and completion of projects.