source: | 2000 Games, Devotions, Themes, Ideas and more for Youth Work
only for private using

Youth and Politics

Youth and Politics
Youth and Politics | ©: - Fotolia

For years now, almost all the parties had to deal with the so-called disenchantment of the politics of young people in Germany. Very few young people are interested in political issues. But are the young people really to blame here?

Definitely not. It is part of the general disenchantment with politics, which, of course, relates to our youth as well. These days it is no longer commonplace that parents discuss political issues during dinner time. And if they do, most likely parents themselves express negative or undifferentiated statements about politicians (at least in certain social strata) and rarely, if at all do they vote. Through the exemplary role model of the parents, the young people then too, are hardly, if at all interested in politics.

Also, young people often do not feel taken seriously with their individual problems and likewise, when it comes to a particular political engagement they feel they can’t change or do anything about the many challenges. In short, the "big politics" is too big for the young people, they don’t find any points of engagement. This is reinforced by the way political issues are discussed in Germany. – With intricate analyses of self-proclaimed experts, too complicated even for political literate adults to follow. For a young person, this is even more incomprehensible, so they don’t develop any interest in the first place.

The goal: Starting small!

Faced with these truly adverse circumstances, it is the best beginning, introducing young people to politics on a small scale. For example, for local politics: Getting involved politically at this level might be worthwhile for young people when it comes to fighting for a new football area or a skating rink. Even the school can actively contribute to the political interest in small discussion groups where the young people learn to discuss, decide and accept other points of view, but also to represent the own point of view and uphold it with arguments.

Reaching out to young people: What are they interested in?

There is no point in waiting for a resurgent interest of youth in politics. In this case, adults themselves have to become active and reach out to the young people and bring the politics to them.

This works best when specific issues are addressed. Issues, which concern and affect them. Therefore, the first step is to find out: What concerns young people? What are the issues they struggle?

Here are some examples of issues young people are concerned about, and which therefore should be addressed, to awaken an interest in political activities:

  • Violence, social conflicts, bullying
  • Love, sex, relationships
  • Xenophobia
  • Addictions, substance abuse
  • Education and career choices

Whoever can give young people the feeling that they can bring about change in any of those issues, for themselves, their friends and all other people in their age, will not have any problems, getting young people interested in politics.

Confidence & conflict resolution skills

"Give young people a voice" - this is the demand of many politicians. In fact, in this regard it is about confidence, which needs to be nurtured in young people. They must get the feeling, that their voice is heard, that it counts and that they can make a difference. That also will rise a feeling, getting involved in politics is a worthwhile thing to do. Simultaneously, the ability to handle conflict should be highlighted. Those engaged in politics learn to deal with other views and opinions, to find compromises and develop solutions. These are all important social skills needed by all people in many other areas of their daily lives. Especially later in their professional lives.

What’s the best way to convey to young people that political commitment is worthwhile? By making them see, their voices can make a difference. If the young person realizes, that his thoughts and solutions indeed are feasible in reality, this will give them the extra boost of motivation to stand up for something later on in life as well.

Social commitment is also political commitment!

The entry into political work does not necessarily mean attending party meetings, debates, etc. For some young people, it might be easier to get politically interested through social commitment. Because in this context, politics stands for social coexistence.

The great advantage of social commitment regarding his interest in politics is that in this way the young person sees the results of his work directly and within a short time. Moreover, within the social field, he learns some vital skills that, for example, can decide between success and failure later on in his professional life. Social responsibility does not mean just theory and how it is applied in politics where it has an especially dissuasive effect on young people and their enormous thirst for action. On the contrary: Social commitment means responsibility and support for the whole of society!

Examples of voluntary youth work

There are some examples of how young people can get involved in volunteer work, in clubs and associations. These examples also offer a starting point to get in touch with politics. For example, when working in youth centres or sports clubs. Often there is an opportunity to enforce certain events or projects to the city or the local government. A good example is building a skate park. Young people who engage in a corresponding club, are doing serious political work and quickly realize that ideas and plans, with the right strategy, can be made a reality. They also learn to resolve conflicts in a constructive way as well as understanding somebody else’s point of view and empathize with it

Or another example: Your youth group could invite the mayor, a local politician and discuss with them current issues. You also could hold a Pros & Cons discussion group. Or a quiz night, talking politics and politicians. Difficult to believe that many young people do not know their politicians and their parties. Of course, such program points are only helpful if you as the youth worker, are interested in politics and do not belong to the politically disenchanted.


Volunteer work is an excellent entry into political commitment, which gives young people many skills that are of extraordinary importance for his entire future life.

[ © | 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work ] - 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work
picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork picture youthwork