Youth councils in municipal government: Examination of activities, impact and barriersedit
This study reports on youth councils in 24 municipalities in one major metropolitan area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with one key adult stakeholder in each municipality in order to understand the scope, structure, functioning, activities, and impact of youth councils. These data were supplemented with review of documents and websites that described the councils. Findings indicated that youth councils were engaged in a wide-range of activities suggesting the model is fluid to meet the needs of both the youth and the community. Specific impacts were identified by participants some of which were directly related to the delivery of activities and others which influenced policy change. Among the barriers identified was the continuing need to identify a broader range of youth to participate in these initiatives. Despite a societal need for greater youth civic engagement and the generally positive attitude toward this idea, youth councils remain limited in practice and the research base is under-developed. Our study contributes to advancing both practice and research.