Myth: It’s easier to do it myself.
Fact: As the old adage goes, two heads are better than one. Adults bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, while youth bring fresh ideas, new energy, and a revitalizing way to do business.
Myth: Young people aren’t interested in attending meetings.
Fact: Most young people understand the importance of meetings and can be just as comfortable as adults sitting at the table. One suggestion—when bringing a young person (or an adult!) to a meeting, make sure he or she is prepared. Give the person an idea of what to expect and reflect on the experience with her or him afterward.
Myth: Youth aren’t responsible.
Fact: Many young people want to assume responsible roles. Responsibility is not an age-specific trait. Responsible roles need only be offered and leadership opportunities created.
Some people, regardless of age, may not be the most responsible in the group, but don’t dismiss their potential contribution. Find their strength, use it to involve them, and offer guidance, support, and skill building.
Myth: Youth don’t want to connect with adults.
Fact: Surveys of youth in junior high and high school show that most young people want very much to connect with adults.
Myth: Adults don’t want to connect with youth.
Fact: Many adults feel left out of the lives of young people and really do want to connect but don’t think young people want their involvement. It’s all about communication!
Myth: Youth aren’t interested in community issues if they aren’t youth-related.
Fact: Many young people are interested in matters that affect their community and the world.
They only need to be invited to be part of the conversation.
Information from Will Gaines, based on his experience as a young person with Minnesota government and the Minnesota Alliance with Youth.
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