What is Participation?

November 26, 2002

This excerpt discusses various definitions of participation in the youth work literature, including concepts of decision-making, power, control, involvement, accountability and partnership. The article argues that the opportunity to use power democratically and responsibly is crucial for young people’s political education and maturation. The author suggests ways to involve young people at the school and program levels. Various levels and degrees of youth participation are discussed. The authors also note that participation can take place in varying degrees at different levels, and that participation is reciprocal, involving adults as well as young people.