The Jugend hackt Youth Advisory Council

“The Youth Advisory Council was founded at the beginning of this year so that we young people could have more of a say. We are a group of participants and young mentors. We want to help create program content, represent participant wishes and ideas, and to be points of contact when there are issues that need to be addressed.”

It is with this message that the Youth Advisory Council introduced itself last fall in Jugend hackt’s Online Community. And it is about time, too, as even though the support program for the young people interested in IT has many offerings for the young target group, these have been entirely planned by adults. Since Jugend hackt has always encouraged young people to have a regular impact on their environment, it is only logical that they themselves also implement this means – one that helps ensure equal participation and representation – in the program.

Nic has a say

Nic is among those who are actively involved in the Youth Advisory Council. The 14-year-old first found out about Jugend hackt two years ago and first participated at the October 2021 event in Berlin. There, working with three others, he developed the idea for an app to prevent food waste. Some months later he read the call in the Community to get involved in the Youth Advisory Council.

Since then, Nic and his small group of active members between 14 and 19 years old have been deeply engaged in various kinds of organizing for Jugend hackt. One example is representatives of the Youth Advisory Council working with the full-time team in Berlin as it reviews applications for new lab sites. Nineteen applications were received for this in Spring 2022, and seven labs were launched some months later. The young people’s assessments have been taken into consideration during the selection process.

For last December’s Jugend hackt-organized “Beyond Code” conference on digital education and artificial intelligence, Nic was also there to represent the Youth Advisory Council. He also brought his experience to the “Digital Literacy” group, which worked on suggestions for reforming how IT is taught in schools.

Getting more young people join the council

Every two weeks, the Youth Advisory Council meets online to discuss upcoming tasks, such as getting more young people to join the Council. To date there have been no elected representatives: The group is open to all young people in the Community who would like to make contributions on a regular basis. Nic and the other active members give brief talks at Jugend hackt events in which they provide information about the Council and call for others to participate. The most recent of these events was last May in Dresden.

Right now, the Youth Advisory Council is very busy with preparing for the Chaos Computer Club’s Hacker Summer Camp (“Hacker-Sommercamp”) in August. Jugend hackt will travel there with up to 100 young people and set up its own special area, a so-called “Village.” This means several days with hands-on workshops and talks with the possibility to code, try things out, and of course, have lots of fun hanging out.

The Youth Advisory Council will be there on-site and will actively help coordinate the daily program: It is in charge of the Black Board through which all camp participants can communicate ongoing topics and requests. These then lead to spontaneous opportunities to participate in activities with other camp attendees.

“We are the intermediaries between the participants and the team in charge of organizing,” Nic says modestly. Through a current survey of the Community, he and other colleagues want to find out what makes the other young people tick, which topics they want to Jugend hackt to address, and what needs to be improved with respect to events. The Jugend hackt team is eagerly awaiting the results.

We are happy to support the Jugend hackt initiative. We regularly report on how young people have been working over the last 10 years to change the world through code.


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