Are you on board with youth boards?

young girls meeting ()

Today we are launching Young Board Members (YBM) in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust. YBM is a report designed to help organisations engage with their young stakeholders and showcase great practice form across the sector.

We talk about the importance of stakeholder engagement in The Principles of Good Governance for Sport and Recreation and the impact it can have on organisational success. Offering a platform for the young person’s ‘voice’ has many benefits; they can provide strategic guidance, encourage objectivity and fresh perspectives, and build a pipeline of future leaders in your organisation. In YBM, we wanted to uncover how organisations engage with their young stakeholders, and examine the impact this had on their overall work.

We’ve presented nine organisational case studies from across the sector in the report, including British Cycling, Welsh Rugby Union, Kick It Out, and England Golf. Each of them are at different stages of developing their youth board, meaning the report should have relevant examples which you can relate to. For example, Table Tennis England launched their Young Ambassador Programme in 2016, while the Rugby Football Union established their Youth Council in 2009 and have already made structural changes. All case studies provide their own key learnings which you can adopt in your engagement practices.

We’ve tailored these common observations and turned them into practical guidance around areas such as recruitment practices and impact reporting. Our findings should help to inform your governance practices while establishing or developing your youth board.  The Youth Sport Trust also offers their own guidance on leadership skills such as team working and communication. Developing a young person’s leadership skills are an important part of helping them to grow personally and professionally.

Sport England’s (SE) recent Active Lives Adult survey found that 15% of adults (ages 16+) volunteered at least twice in the last year. The results also show that volunteering led to positive associations with mental wellbeing, individual development, and social and community development. Findings like these show the value of a young volunteer’s role and the potential impact they can have on themselves and the wider community. 

Youth boards are an important step towards achieving board diversity and advancing the standard of governance in the sector. Improving diversity at a youth board level can be a first step towards creating a talent pathway in your organisation. When you achieve a good balance of skills and experiences you are more likely to develop future leaders who can offer new perspectives and better decision making. 

Sport England and UK Sport called for a change in organisational governance with the release of A Code for Sports Governance; a year and a half on, we can begin to see these changes being adopted by organisations.

Young Board Members encourages changes to the recruitment pathway and ‘thinking’ culture on board’s through promoting young stakeholder engagement. Organisations have a responsibility to empower their young stakeholders and create a pipeline of trusted, future leaders for the sector. Young Board Members can help you to achieve this. 

Click here for more information on Young Board Members.