Youth-adult partnerships (YAPs) are a way to meaningfully engage youth. A YAP has youth and adults working as partners instead of adults making decisions for or only providing services to youth. As a group, YAPs work together on important issues in an environment characterized by mutual learning and respect. All participants have options in how and to what extent they want to participate.
Benefits of a YAP:
- Youth can develop leadership, critical thinking, decision-making, communication, and teamwork skills, among others. Participating in a YAP is linked to increased self-efficacy and self-esteem, improved self-respect and confidence, community awareness and civic responsibility.
- Adults have an opportunity to pass on their experiences to a new generation. They develop a new respect for youth competence and expertise, gain new perspectives on decision-making and problem solving and generate innovative ideas, energy, and enthusiasm.
- Organizations with YAPs have an expanded understanding of community issues, improved organizational culture, more relevant programming and services, and increased ties to a potential pool of skilled future leaders.
- Communities benefit through increased capacity to serve youth, increased social capital, and intergenerational partnerships (Outley, 2018).
Want to start a YAP in your community?
We have worked with our partners to determine the capacity areas that are key to successful youth-adult partnerships. First, take the assessment to determine your organization’s strengths or areas for improvement. Then,
learn more about positive youth development and YAPs though an online, interactive YAP 101 training, read about creating a YAP or identify resources in each of the capacity areas.