Youth-Adult Partnerships are an important part of the 4-H model and emphasize youth and adults planning, learning, working and leading together.
Youth-Adult Partnerships are not only a key part of most 4-H programming, they are also considered an important component of Positive Youth Development. They take place when youth and adults plan, learn and work together. A true Youth-Adult Partnership is one in which each group has the opportunity to make suggestions and decisions and in which the contribution of each is recognized and valued. This is critical when discussing issues facing youth and/or on programs and policies affecting youth. (Advocates for Youth, Building Effective Youth Adult Partnerships, 2001)
A best practice is to ensure youth have a say in the types of programs and initiatives being developed for them. Building in the structure for youth to be involved in helping to identify goals and develop programs at all levels is encouraged.
At the club level
At the club level, 4-H leaders and members work together in the planning, development, delivery, and completion of projects. They work together to plan Achievement Days and other 4-H events in their community.
At the regional level
At the regional level, youth can be engaged as ambassadors, where they represent their club, community and region at events. They actively contribute their ideas, time and leadership skills, working with regional staff and board members.
At the national level
At the national level, youth can play a significant role providing input into the strategy and programs of the national organization. Some organizations may have a separate youth advisory committee, made up of youth representative from across the country, whereas youth representation at the governance level is also a common and encouraged practice.