Sometimes clichés ring true: The youth are our future; and they need to have a say in its direction. Unfortunately, youths are a disproportionately unengaged group by organizations that want to make a difference. Many organizations may think it too difficult or feel it is off-mission to add a youth component to their initiatives.
On the contrary, market research by The Ocean Project has shown that young people are the most knowledgeable and motivated segment of the population when it comes to the environment and its protection. Youth generally have the free time, familiarity with current issues, and the motivation to go out of their way to take environmental actions. Furthermore, the research shows that parents are increasingly looking to their tween and teenage children for information and advice on these issues.
Essentially, youth can be real agents of change. Based on The Ocean Project's market research, youth are the most promising members of the public to reach out to if you want to effect lasting change. Investing in getting youth involved with your organization, can be challenging, but there are resources out there to make the process much easier.
The Youth Effect is an online toolkit developed by the Youth Task Force of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, as part of an effort to ensure that children and youth are an integral part of designing, shaping and creating a more sustainable future. The toolkit was developed to help you and other leaders of organizations across all sectors engage youth in a way that is successful for your organization, the youths involved, and our planet. It goes over questions to ask yourself about how your organization currently interacts with the next generation of leaders, and provides tips and case studies to improve your efforts.
You can view the toolkit pre-publication through this online e-reader at: http://www.youtheffect.org/.