Mandan Youth Engagement Initiative

Youth engagement is a recommendation in the 2021 Mandan Strong economic and community development strategic plan. Our community-wide, agency interactive team proposes a fresh, collaborative, inclusive approach to give an unlimited number of teens and young adults consistent structure, guidance and resources to drive projects, programs and activities.


  1. Direction — Providing opportunities for youth voices to be heard in local matters. Assuring community initiatives are relevant to needs and wants of young citizens, workers and visitors.
  2. Leadership — Developing new leaders for organizations, public service opportunities, and elected positions. Offering mentorship, cross-generational learning and recognition.
  3. Inclusiveness — Strengthening cultural competence and work with diverse groups. Mandan is becoming increasingly diverse with nearly 19% of high school students registered as a minority (8% Native American, 5% Hispanic, 4% African American, 1% other).
  4. Volunteerism — Attracting leaders and helpers to create, execute and sustain projects, programs and activities. Furnishing real world, meaningful, resume-building experiences.


WHY? Young people want to be more involved. Mandan will be as strong as its next generation of leaders. High school students helped with the 2021 strategic plan, participating in input and decision-making sessions. More students in focus group discussions shared needs, wants and challenges:

  • Facilities wants — an all-season, multi-purpose activity center, art center, and movie theater.
  • Activity preferences — more events such as street dances and concerts geared to youth.
  • Beautification — add more public space and art, trails for hiking and biking, improve trailer courts, and brand older neighborhoods.
  • Business development — support local, nurture small companies.



Youth ages 14-20 are invited to help brainstorm plans and activities for 2023 at the Jan. 3 Strategic Planning Session

The following are just some ideas discussed thus far, the youth will help organizers determine plans and activities.

  • Gathering Place - identify/create a gathering place for year-round youth meet-ups, co-working, collaboration and healthy recreation. 
  • Training - for participating youth on project management, leadership, volunteer recrutiment & retention; events and speakers. 
  • Gatherings - events and bi-monthly or quarterly youth meetings. 
  • Youth Challenges - prize money for implementation of selected, youth-led activities, projects and programs. 
  • Rewards & Recognition - promotion/branded items to entice participation, generate pride and excitement. Earned through involvement, community service projects and volunteerism. 


High school & college students, City of Mandan, Mandan Public School District, Morton County NDSU Extension Service, Mandan Parks District, Mandan Progress Organization, Morton Mandan Public Library, Four Directions & Monarch Project.