Parliamentary procedure: A lifelong skill

Youth learning parliamentary procedure now will use it in the future.

Youth involved in clubs and organizations can benefit now and in the future by actively learning the skills related to running a meeting, called parliamentary procedure.  According to The National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP), parliamentary procedure refers to the rules of democracy — that is, “the commonly accepted way in which a group of people come together, present and discuss possible courses of action, and make decisions.”

Additionally, they state, “All types of decision-making bodies on a daily basis use parliamentary procedure: school boards, homeowners' associations, city councils, and non-profit boards of directors, for example. Parliamentary procedure also defines what duties people typically have when they are elected the president, secretary, or treasurer of an organization.”

If youth are not already involved with an organization utilizing parliamentary procedure, it’s highly probable that at some point they will be part of a group mentioned above.  Oregon State University highlights a 4-H Club Meeting online that may be useful to other clubs and organizations working with youth to introduce the concept.

NAP has a dedicated standing committee to specifically address the needs of young people to enhance their learning about parliamentary procedure. Learn more about Student Membership in the NAP by viewing this recorded webinar.

More than a decade ago, NAP established a partnership with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) — Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) to assist with its national parliamentary procedure contests and make NAP’s educational resources easily available to its student members and teacher-advisers.

NAP currently has partnerships with six national youth organizations that have an annual parliamentary procedure competition:

  • Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is devoted to developing business skills in secondary school students through local chapter activities as well as state and national leadership conferences. FBLA’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) division continues developing business skills in students as they continue on to postsecondary education.
  • Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA, formerly FHA) helps young men and women address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer science education. FCCLA members develop skills for life: goal setting, problem solving, decision-making, and effective communications.
  • Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is a national career and technical organization for students interested in health careers. HOSA’s activities provide occupation and leadership skills to promote career opportunities in the health care industry.
  • SkillsUSA serves high school and college students enrolled in technical skills and service occupations (such as health) programs of study. SkillsUSA programs strive to establish industry standards for job-skills training in the classroom.
  • Business Professionals of America (BPA) aims to prepare a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills. Its conferences, workshops, and skills competitions encourage personal and professional growth among secondary and post-secondary students.
  • A convention internship program brings a student representative from each of the partnership organizations to the NAP biennial convention. The interns assist with convention registration, serve as pages during business meetings, attend educational sessions, participate in the youth committee workshop, and serve as an ambassador for their partnership. The members of the youth committee serve as mentors for the interns during the convention. NAP and the NAP Educational Foundation under-write the internship program.

As part of its dedication to developing skills and knowledge among students, NAP also provides membership privileges to youth groups studying parliamentary procedure.

As presented, different settings may call for various levels of parliamentary knowledge and Michigan State University Extension provides educational programming for both youth and adults to increase skill level and educate all Michigan residents on parliamentary procedure.

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