To introduce participants to the principles of active participation. To give participants the opportunity to analyse everyday situations in which young people are often involved. To introduce participants to different situations and levels of participation. To let participants know where they can participate.



45 minutes



Each group receives a situation print out and writing tools.

The host prepares to introduce the Participation Ladder.

The task sheets are attached. The Participation process is described in this book



Groups receive sheets with tasks (the sheets are in mixed order). Then participants have to rank the sheets – from low participation by young people up to high intensity.

Once the groups have completed the task, the sheets are placed side by side, in order to better compare the work of different groups and facilitate discussion on situation rankings. Afterwards, participants are presented with the Model of the Participation Ladder.

After the presentation, participants are asked to point out their level of involvement within their organization (school project).



What did you understand about young people and participation?

On what level would you like to participate yourself?



Participants may find it difficult to rank their level of participation, their evaluation tends to be based on the number of young participants or the benefit to the organisation. The host has to devote time for explanation regarding what participation is.



Once this task is completed, you can introduce more complicated theoretical frameworks of youth participation, plan or conduct other practical activities.


Worksheets for participants          




A youth worker gathers together a group of young people to participate in a Youth Initiative project on ‘art in the community’. The youth worker is keen for the project to be a success as the bought art equipment will be extremely valuable for the community’s summer arts activities. The young people are given clear instructions, where to meet, what to do and how to deliver the project as the youth workers are concerned with some health and safety issues.




A youth worker and young people attend a meeting in a local school with teachers and health workers. The young people have been developing an international exchange project on sexual health awareness. The teachers and health workers lead the discussion and decide it best for the group to work on a poster campaign only and due to the sensitive nature provide some clear and precise guidelines. The young people start working on it straight away.




A group of young people who have participated in an international youth exchange project arrive at a young people’s award and celebration event. To promote the benefits of the exchange and youth participation the organisers have arranged for certificates, photographers and the radio to be there. The event will close with live music and DJ’s chosen by the workers.




As part of a youth democracy project a group of young skaters are invited to meet local government officials who wish the young people to be involved in the development of a new skate park. The organisers have already chosen the design and location for the new facility and the young people are asked to choose the colour and name for the park.


Assigned but informed


A young volleyball team need a new training venue and new members and have applied for a Youth Initiative so the worker and manager have recommended a local schools tournament to be organised by the young players. The worker and club manager have booked a venue, set the date and drafted a letter to the schools. Now they need volunteers to plan and organise the rest of the event. Whilst the event is taking place the worker and manager will observe and identify possible talent and new members, and the young members will promote and gain support for the new training venue.


Consulted and informed


A local municipality establishes through town twinning a youth democracy project that encourages young people to engage in youth parliament activities. The aim is to increase the influence young people have in shaping the local youth and cultural political picture. All the active members are from an ‘international youth information and advice centre’ and have been asked to complete a questionnaire about the project. The results will be shared and then actions agreed by the young people and adults involved.


Adult-initiated, shared decisions with young people


Members of a local music rehearsal venue have developed a Youth Initiative to organise a Community music event. All young members of the centre have been involved following the initial idea from the older members. The centre has identified the main aims of the event as ‘promoting new music and local talent’. The young members are promoting the event within schools and colleges and are responsible for organising the youth bands and the adults are promoting the event in the community and organising the adult bands. It is hoped the event will also promote some kind of unity and understanding between the different generations and music groups involved.


Young person-initiated and directed


A group of young people involved in a variety of adventure sports have been successful with a transnational youth initiative to develop an international adventure sports newsletter called ‘Xtreme’. They have already designed the newsletter and now need some support to identify printing, sponsorship and funding possibilities. Several partners have approached their school teachers who have agreed to offer them help where and when they can and as and when they are needed.


Young person-initiated, shared decisions with adults


A group of young people have established a small group to promote international youth opportunities across the local communities through a transnational youth initiative. The group are all experienced in different aspects of international activities (exchanges, youth initiatives and evs) but to establish the organisation and web-based network in the correct manner they have asked for the assistance of local youth workers and college staff. The group wish to be independent but recognise the support and experience that the adults can offer and initially it is more to meet local legal requirements.


Young person-initiated with no adult support


A group of young people who have previous experience in European projects have now established organisations and a youth democracy project to promote the active participation of other young people in local and international democracy. They have worked together to create a movie that highlights the interests of young people, and the rights and opportunities to promote active citizenship. They hold film events that show their own film, and that of others, that increase and inspire youth action in the community.

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