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What do we mean by “Youth in Governance?”

Youth and adults working together in positions of authority to make decisions and take action to strengthen organizations, communities, and our democratic society.

Jackson County youth and adult board members talking

Youth and adult members of the Jackson County Extension Committee

Why is it important?

Public Support

In 2002, over 2000 Wisconsin residents came together in 83 county-based conversations on youth development. They identified two top priorities which emphasize public support for the role of youth in building healthy communities and a vital democracy:

  1. Create a culture in which youth are equal partners in decision making and governance.
  2. Encourage youth community service and civic involvement.


Youth Voice and Representation: Youth have a voice in decisions that affect them.

Community Improvement: As youth become stakeholders and change agents in communities and organizations, they bring perspectives, knowledge and relationships that lead to better decisions and more productive action.

Positive Youth Development: It promotes positive outcomes among youth. It teaches the skills of active citizenship such as understanding how decisions are made and how to organize, plan, and communicate.

Civic Development: Our civil society is strengthened when youth become informed and thoughtful citizens. Young people with skills, knowledge, commitment, and experience can reflect upon the common good, become full members of their communities, and take political action.

Kenosha Youth in Governance meet with elected officials



Members of the Kenosha County Youth In Governance program had the opportunity to meet with Wisconsin Senator Robert Wirch and Wisconsin Representative Samantha Kerkman on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. 

First Row: Patricia Gonzales, Rebecca Stoebe, Alice Wei, Gisel Romero, Stephanie Fuerte, Representative Samantha Kerkman

Second row: Jared Ottmann, Senator Robert Wirch, Jesse Wilson, Neelpret Kaur, Olivia Taber, David Cantwell