Systems of youth engagement are the broad ways young people experience sustained connections throughout their lives. There are many different ways to envision these systems operating. Here, I focus on the formal and informal institutions throughout the lives of young people that drive, affect, or impact the sustained connections they have throughout life. These systems can include, but aren’t limited to, their family, education, health, social services, recreation, faith communities, cultural activities, work, civic action, mental health services, and juvenile justice. Other systems can include transportation, food and nutrition, housing, business, and the environment.
When these systems function well, there are communities full of engaged children and youth. When they do not function well, young people experience disengagement in any or all of these spheres. The fewer sustainable connections a young person experiences in each and all of these spheres, the more disengaged they become throughout their lives. The more disengaged a person is as a young person, the more likely they’ll be disengaged as an adult; the more engage a person is when they’re young, the more engaged they will become when they’re older.
- Find out more from my new publication available FREE as a pdf, A Short Introduction to Youth Engagement.