How To Build a Youth Advisory Council (YAC)

Student leadership organizations, such as Youth Advisory Councils, help regions prepare students to become leaders beyond their FIRST® team and empower youth to become active citizens within the FIRST community, enabling them to have a voice in the initiatives and decisions that impact them. Here are some quick tips to assist FIRST Program Delivery Organizations in initiating a sustainable Youth Advisory Council. 


Getting Started 

  • Connect with the local Program Delivery Organization to gain access to resources available to students.
  • Formalize the Council by creating official positions such as President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Members; including an adult advisor or mentor  
  • Create bylaws, mission, and values aligning with FIRST Core Values 



Establish Sub-Committees by Project Type  

Growth: Work to grow teams across all programs in your region  

  • Includes creating marketing materials and having public/community relations 

Sustainability: You have grown teams and created amazing opportunities/events. Now, you plan how to carry this work forward when you:

  • Establish institutional knowledge amongst Council members and ensure processes are passed down as students graduate
  • Ask for help with grant writing, research what resources are available to you within your extended communities to set you up for success 


Community Outreach: Expanding your impact

  • Volunteer at your local food bank, animal shelters, and other non-profits where you and your team can practice Gracious Professionalism® 
  • Help start FIRST® LEGO® League teams in your area by partnering with your school or library as hosts for team member recruitment events
  • Explore fundraising opportunities with small business owners in your community
  • Work with your local Program Delivery Partner on other community outreach opportunities in your area

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I): Creating and maintaining a sense of belonging for everyone  

  • Take advantage of free training on combating bias, using inclusive language, and challenge stereotypes 
  • Make pronoun buttons/tags  
  • Meet in spaces that accommodate various disabilities and/or other abilities 
  • Display ED&I values in your meetings spaces 
  • Host affinity type events and bring cultural awareness/celebration 



Get Organized 

  • Create outlines in advance of anticipated events and meetings highlighting, goals and wants 
  • Work together to prioritize THEN break up into subcommittees to really dive deep  
  • Be considerate and honest of time commitment 
  • Use any free online tool that would help your team understand everyone’s availability for meetings and be sure to have an agenda in advance  
  • Creating an agenda will allow for input ahead of dedicated time and will allow for your meeting to be as productive as possible  

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Start Recruiting 

  • Help your region’s Program Delivery Partner and FIRST Sr. Mentors recruit new volunteers, coaches and mentors  
  • Having reliable sources of volunteers ensures a much smoother season and can have a positive impact on future events as these volunteers stay on to give back to our community 
  • Seek out FIRST Alumni in your area or consider reaching out to recent graduates you know 



Examples of current FIRST regional student organizations