Your planning team should work out the foundational elements of the plan early on, particularly the vision, mission and guiding principles of the initiative. Even if these are developed as drafts to be verified in community subsequently, having a common agenda early on will be critical.
The youth plan should have a clear vision statement, which succinctly articulates the long-term desired end-state resulting from the proposed work. A mission statement describes the reason for the initiative or organization; the statement guides ongoing decision making about priorities and actions. You are likely familiar with vision and mission statements, but keep in mind that these should be concise, inspirational and memorable – ideally between five and 15 words.
In the example from Edmonton, you will note clear alignment between the community and Alberta’s provincial plan to end homelessness, though this may not always be the case – particularly if your provincial/territorial government does not have a plan in place.
Table 13: Vision/Mission Statement Examples
|EXAMPLES||EDMONTON||GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA|
|Vision||An Edmonton where all youth have a safe, supportive and nurturing home.||An Alberta where all youth have a safe, supportive and nurturing home.|
|Mission||To reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness and prevent further youth from becoming homeless by ensuring youth and their families have the services and supports they need.||To reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in Alberta and prevent further youth from becoming homeless by ensuring youth and their families have the services and supports they need.|
Again, not all plans have these elements clearly articulated, though it is recommended you include their development in your process explicitly to ensure diverse stakeholders can hold themselves and each other accountable to the agreed-upon vision and mission.
There will need to be agreement among diverse stakeholders to adopt these elements, thus it is imperative that you seek input on these notions early in your consultation process. These elements can be effective points of discussion in your consultation process, particularly at the onset, to support creating a sense of co-ownership among diverse groups.
Though not everyone will agree with the proposed vision and mission, being transparent about the foundational thinking that grounds the plan will ensure stakeholders are clear about the proposed direction. Your planning group should be familiar with these concepts and constantly check in to ensure your approach is being developed in alignment with your proposed vision and mission.