Youth in Community Decision-Making: A Study of Youth-Adult Partnerships

Shelley Murdock, Carole Paterson, Mary Claire L. Gatmaitan


Involving youth in community and organizational decision-making is widely believed to lead to stronger communities. A promising strategy to foster decision-making is youth-adult partnerships in which youth and adults work collaboratively, sharing their strengths, collective knowledge, and decision-making power. A qualitative study of eight youth organizations showed that those organizations employing youth-adult partnership strategies were most effective in increasing youth's contributions to their communities. This article explores the elements of youth-adult partnership that were evident among successful organizations including: mutual respect, meaningful roles for youth, unique contributions of adults and youth, and shared decision-making and implications for youth development programs.

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