Youth input and participation in Reach for Youth's strategic planning for community-based youth and family social services
This creative project was developed as a supplement to the external stakeholder assessment component of the strategic planning process that Reach for Youth, Inc. (RFY)-a nonprofit youth organization located in Indianapolis, Indiana-adopted to create its strategic plan for 2002 to 2005. It supplemented the larger strategic planning process by positively engaging youth in focus group activities using surveys, creative exercises, and questionnaires, to attain their input and feedback, as program participants and primary stakeholders in the agency. As a result, youth participation validated the overall process, substantiated RFY's interest in expanding programs, influenced identification of critical issues that formed the basis of the plan, and sparked an organizational conversation about youth participation in the agency. The youth not only provided important feedback that informed RFY's strategic plan, they also were given a meaningful opportunity to express themselves as individuals, and had their roles in and contributions to the agency affirmed.