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Beyond Grants

Working with Youth

Amplify youth voices on your Local Cultural Council.

Recruiting & Appointing Youth

How do we get started to recruit youth onto our LCC?

  1. Discuss the possibility with your entire LCC.
  2. If in agreement, designate one or two people from your LCC to approach the Town (City Council/Board of Selectmen) to ask about membership requirements on the LCC. Send them these examples to get them interested, especially in a Town that recognizes the importance of empowering youth.
  3. If the City Council/Board of Selectmen agrees and are excited about it, co-design a process with them to get youth interested.
    • What are specific roles that you want to be filled? Have “job descriptions”.
    • Do you want National Honors Society kids? Arts students? Open to anyone?
  4. Once you have a process for interview and selection, have them appointed and start the process.

Tips for Recruitment

The following is taken from the Membership section of the LCC Toolkit.

Determine what skills and perspectives are needed.
First, figure out what skills current members contribute to the LCC and what additional skills are required. Consider whether the LCC’s member makeup:

    • Demonstrates competence with computers and internet
    • Demonstrates ability with finances
  • Demonstrates ability with marketing
  • Represents the diversity of the community
  • Serves the artistic and cultural community in the town or city

Think about what you/the LCC can offer:

  • How to describe the LCC’s work and why it is so important?
  • What have different members gotten out of serving on the LCC?
    • Keep in mind the things that drew current members. They might be attractive to a potential member.
  • Identify some of the more important events and accomplishments the LCC has enjoyed.
  • Personally invite potential members:
    • LCCs report that a personal invitation is the most successful way to recruit members:
  • Ask friends or acquaintances, especially those who have an interest in the cultural life of the community and quality-of-life issues.
  • Attend a funded project and talk to the people there about the LCC’s work. Be available to audience members who might be interested in volunteering. Gather attendee names and contact information.
  • Identify and invite an individual with a specific skill or expertise the LCC needs – such as financial accounting, publicity, web design, public advocacy, or event planning experience.
  • Ask previous LCC applicants!

Explore publicity and visibility strategies:

  • Utilize different social media platforms to get the word out.
  • Prepare LCC information and membership flyers and distribute them throughout the community, school fairs, youth-serving non-profits, student clubs, school art departments, student government, and cultural events.
  • Submit a notice to town newsletters, reports, or communications mailed to residents. Share with local online information sources – web sites and/or online forums that post community news.
  • Offer a brief presentation about the LCC at meetings of local clubs and organizations. Explain what the LCC does and express the need for new members.

Are there age restrictions on youth LCC members?
Mass Cultural Council does not have age restrictions. However, some municipalities may instate their own policies on youth serving on official boards/councils.

Are there any current LCCs that have youth appointed members?
Yes! There is an increasing amount of LCCs who have been appointing youth LCC members. A few examples are: Amherst, Brookfield, Dover, Great Barrington, Melrose, Newton, Sterling, and Westborough.

Samples highlighting youth LCC members:

Appointed Youth LCC Members

What are some best practices for having youth LCC members?

  • Create a brief orientation presentation that gives an overview of the LCC. This can go hand-in-hand for new adult LCC members.
  • Have one adult member mentor the youth member throughout their term.

As the LCC involves students, how much advice are council members allowed to give them as they learn the ropes of grants?
This can be decided by your LCC. Some LCCs give their youth members the same roles and responsibilities the as adult members throughout their term.

What can youth members contribute to LCCs?
This may depend on your LCC. Youth members can bring a variety of perspectives and skills to your LCC based on their unique lived experiences:

  • Providing valuable input to the annual community input survey, grant review process, community outreach, or Council Programs.
  • Surveying their fellow classmates.
  • Managing and creating content for social media/web.
  • Support community engagement and outreach to younger and diverse applicants.
  • Attending events hosted by your LCC.
  • Allowing them to run for an executive position (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer).

Are youth LCC members allowed voting privileges?
While Mass Cultural Council does not have any restrictions on youth having voting privileges, some municipalities may have restrictions. Best practice would be to check with your municipality first on their policies for appointed members under the age of 18. If there are local restrictions, we highly encourage you to advocate for youth voting rights on local government boards. Voting rights allow youth to feel empowered, and that they are creating effective change and influence in their local communities.

How long can youth LCC members serve?
An LCC membership term is three years; members can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms, or a total of six years, unless the appointing authority removes a member before the expiration of a term. Members must remain off the LCC for a one-year interval before serving additional terms.

However, the  term limits for a youth LCC member can be determined by the LCC. We recognize that students may have other obligations – preparing for college, be employed, etc. Some LCCs have found that a one-year term is sufficient for a student, others may find students on a rolling basis to be allow for scheduling flexibility.

WATCH: Panel Discussion on Amplifying Youth Voices on LCCs



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