Youth Master Planning, a comprehensive process to plan for issues facing young people, brings together stakeholders including parents, teachers, employers, and youth. This method of community planning is taking hold in cities throughout America.
“Youth master planning processes offer many benefits to cities, including a better alignment of resources to reduce duplication of services and eliminate service gaps; coordination of city, school, and community efforts to improve outcomes for youth; cost savings; and opportunities for citizen input and youth participation.” (American Planning Association)
The National League of Cities (NLC) has been a key component in the success of Youth Master Plans. In 2005, the League chose six cities to participate in their MetLife City-Schools Youth Planning initiative, sponsored within their Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF) sector. The success of these cities’ plans prompted others to adopt the Youth Master Planning process and now over 30 members cities of the NLC have created complete Youth Master Plans.
Together government officials, educators, civic leaders, and students inventory existing youth programs, address budgetary concerns, and look towards to future needs for youth.The NLC provides various resources, tools, and networks for cities to work with their young people to create a Youth Master Plan. A vital resource provided by the NLC is the Action Kit on Creating a Youth Master Plan. This publication for municipal leaders and educators provides tools to create a successful Youth Master plan.
The NLC also provides numerous examples of successful Youth Master Plans, including Bereley CA, Denver CO, Manchester CT, Nashville TN, and Omaha NE, to name a few. These examples show municipalities that have successfully included youth in the decision making process for their city, engageing younger gerenation in making decisions about their future.