A Common Agenda and its Value

A Common Agenda and its Value

The building of a common agenda is also about building commitment. To be committed to change is to bring our organizational assets and individual talents collectively together in order for the whole to be greater than its individual parts.
Paul Born, Co-CEO, Tamarack Institute

This National Action Blueprint is a common agenda to drive collective action to advance the role of creativity in positive youth development. The Blueprint is grounded in input from cross-sector stakeholders, as well as ongoing research and dialogue. More than 650 stakeholders across the country worked together to prioritize strategic actions to holistically support positive change in the lives of young people. This plan represents a shared vision for amplifying promising strategies highlighted in recent research and practice, increasing investment in creative youth development nationally, and catalyzing action that will bring new resources and support to CYD practice throughout the country.

Participants in this effort include youth, practitioners, researchers, funders, policy makers and other stakeholders in creative youth development and allied sectors (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice, workforce development, youth development, education, and community development).

The Impetus for a National Effort

A line of 7 youth dancers, one in front of another on a stage. All are barefoot and female, except for a single male in the front of the line, gesturing with both arms extended outward. Photo courtesy of The Wooden Floor True in Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, CA. Photo by Kevin P. Casey.
The Wooden Floor True in Irvine, CA. Photo by Kevin P. Casey.

The impetus for this national effort was the first-ever National Summit for Creative Youth Development in 2014. The Summit brought together more than 200 practitioners, researchers, funders, and youth, primarily from the arts sector, to create a national policy agenda for the field. Laying the groundwork for the Summit, the CYD National Partners surveyed and interviewed youth and adult leaders from more than 150 organizations across the country to begin to gather, synthesize, and prioritize imperatives for the initial policy agenda. Nine priorities to advance CYD and other findings were shared in the report Setting the Agenda, which shaped the Summit. CYD stakeholders deliberated on the nine priorities during the Summit, which culminated in the announcement of Collective Action for Youth: An Agenda for Progress Through Creative Youth Development, in which they ranked building collective impact to improve youth outcomes as its number one imperative. In ranking collective action first, the field was acknowledging that the challenges that young people face are not ones that any one nonprofit, school, government agency or family can face alone and that ensuring young people’s academic, professional, and personal success demands that we serve them holistically and in a coordinated and sustained way.

This Blueprint builds on the 2014 Collective Action for Youth Agenda by prioritizing three strategic areas – Funding, Visibility and Impact, and Field-Building – and identifying specific actions for cross-sector advancement of the field. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the CYD National Partnership gathered input through numerous community conversations throughout the country in 2016 and 2017. The Partnership also commissioned research by the Forum for Youth Investment that mapped opportunities for alignment between CYD and allied youth sectors. Three cross-sector Action Teams  were then formed to analyze and distill the research and stakeholder inputs and make final recommendations for the Blueprint. Woven throughout the Agenda are core values of the CYD Movement: racial equity and social justice, youth voice, and collective action. Learn more about inputs to the Blueprint.

The CYD movement needs and welcomes the involvement of more young people and of more colleagues, across sectors, to realize its goals. You are welcome to contact any member of the Partnership to identify ways to contribute to this work.

Stakeholders identified three strategic priorities for advancing CYD:

Just as the field of CYD is dynamic, this National Blueprint is dynamic and will continue to be revised to reflect shifting landscape, context, needs, opportunities, and resources. The Blueprint will evolve as implementation unfolds and will be updated online to reflect progress toward goals. To hear about key revisions, subscribe to the CYD Partnership eNews.

Next: Mapping Opportunities for Cross-Sector Alignment