FINDING AND KEEPING YOUNG PEOPLE ON BOARDS
By Vanessa Ford and Kimberly Stuart
- Advertise for board positions where the young people are.
- Use the local paper, notice boards at school and community radio.
- Give a presentation at a school assembly and use other organisations already working with young people for possible participants.
- Utilise young people you already know to make suggestions about potential board members.
- Give out flyers at Youth Week events.
- Be clear about what is required by the young person. For example, attendance and participation at meetings, particular skills or attributes.
- Use the same selection process as for other board members to avoid tokenism.
- Make information jargon free.
- Remember that membership of the board can be more effective if the young person is somehow involved in the organisation already.
- Ask the young person what skills they would like to develop through participation on the board.
- Make discussions with young potential board members informal. For example, have meetings at Macdonald’s during the selection process.
Introducing a Young Person to Your Organisation
- Provide a fun induction process.
- Include parents and family in celebrating their successful inclusion on a board. This allows parents to see that their child is in a safe environment.
- Provide an information package on the organisation and assign an experienced board member as a mentor.
- Brief a young person before their first board meeting, and most importantly, provide a de-brief after every meeting.
- Ensure there is time for a young person to learn about the organisation and their role on the board.
- Use email as young people respond well to technology.
- Have a minimum of two young people on the board.
- Reimburse young people with their transport costs and possibly a gift voucher to an appropriate shop.
- If the meeting is held at night, provide taxi vouchers.
Vanessa Ford is a policy officer at the NSW Commission for Young People and Kimberly Stuart is a sixteen year old student at Campbelltown High School of the Performing Arts and a member of the Young People’s Reference Group at the Commission. The NSW Commission for Young People have produced a kit called TAKING PARTicipation seriously for organisations who want practical advice about how to involve children and young people in their activities.