Teamwork triumphs: How partnerships make youth programs better!

When it comes to youth development and promoting youth programs, partnering with community organizations is an essential piece of the puzzle.

People with their hands together in a cheer.

There is an African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This proverb helps us consider the idea that working together can increase our opportunities, but what is a community partnership and how can it be used to increase the potential of your youth-serving organization?

A community partnership refers to a collaborative relationship between a group of people or organization(s) where the members work together to achieve a common goal. In youth development, a community partnership is developed between a variety of stakeholders, such as schools, businesses, community organizations and volunteers to provide programming that enhances the lives of youth.

Benefits of a partnership include:

  • Added resources. Partnering with other like-minded and mission-aligned organizations can mean more money, materials and know-how.
  • More perspectives. Collaborating with others brings a variety of viewpoints and experiences. This diversity adds depth and excitement to youth development initiatives!
  • Additional programming. Community partners can bring specialized programs and services to the table. Whereas you may not have a specific curriculum designed for all areas of learning, other groups and organizations may have just the thing to fit the bill.
  • Building a positive reputation. Partnering with other reputable community organizations can boost your credibility within the community. Gaining the trust of the community and potential participants is key.
  • Opportunities for networking. Building partnerships can lead to bumping shoulders with other organizations that may have the same goal. This networking allows for the potential of additional support and teamwork down the road.

Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) speaks to the importance of building community partnerships in the work they do as an early childhood education organization. Head Start ECLKC also provides resources to get a community partnership started, as well as a Toolkit for Planning Community Partnerships.

Community partnerships bring a collaborative approach that can enhance the impact and long-term sustainability of a youth development program. Michigan State University Extension relies heavily on community partnerships to increase the reach of the work we do. For more information about partnering with MSU Extension in your community, contact your local 4-H program coordinator. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work!

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