Flashback to Adult Partners’ Younger Years


  • To describe participants’ experiences as young people
  • To identify commonalities between youth and adults
  • To name positive characteristics of community involvement for youth and adults


  • Flip chart/whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Markers/dry erase markers/chalk
  • “What Were You Like at 15 years old?” handout (1 per participant)

Prepare Before

Write the basic information about the workshop (e.g., objectives) on the flip chart, whiteboard, or chalkboard. Try to get as many adult partners to attend as possible.

Warm Up

Welcome participants to the workshop and review the workshop’s objectives. Ask the adult participants to think back to when they were 15 years old: to remember the clothes they wore, the people they hung out with, how they felt about the world, and why they felt that way.


If participants are already well mixed as a group, ask them to pair up with someone they don’t know well; if not, ask them to count off by twos, to make sure that people aren’t paired with someone they might know. As a final precaution, ask if any pairs are well acquainted, and if so, pair them with others. Ideally the pairs include one adult participant and one youth participant.

Invite the pairs to share with their partner, using the questions on the handout as a guide. It’s important that they get to the questions about how adults took part in their communities as youth. Another way to encourage conversation is to ask one person to share for 10 minutes while the other listens, and then switch roles. If participants are 15 or younger, ask them to answer the questions based on their lives now.


Gather as an entire group. Ask the group a series of discussion questions. You may want to use the flip chart to jot down notes from participants’ answers.

  • What did you have most in common with your partner? What was different?
  • Share one of your partner’s stories.
  • When you were young, how were adults involved in your community?
  • When you were young, what kind of community service or community change were you involved in?


A successful youth-adult partnership requires that participants grow to understand and relate to one another. When young people and adults gain each others’ perspective, their work together is strengthened. Prompting adults to recall themselves at age 15 is a way to break down barriers between generations and create a sense of commonality.


Ask each participant:

  • What did you learn from the conversation?
  • How can we carry these lessons forward into our work together?