Youth Empowerment and Avoiding Risky Behaviors: Owning Your Power, Making Right Decisions

Instructions and Guidelines for Youth Empowerment

Answer each of the questions in the activity below, as completely and honesty as you can.  The questions and answers are intended to help you discover the power of your own intentions and decisions – this is all about youth empowerment.  And you’ll explore how to be in charge of your life, your choices, and aim your future in a more positive direction.

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A further option is to sit and discuss your answers with a trusted peer partner or an adult counselor or sponsor; write any additional discoveries, thoughts or feelings below.   Then, you can also share your answers in a group format, moderated by a counselor, instructor, or other adult sponsor. Again, write any additional discoveries, thoughts or feelings on the printed form.  With comments, suggestions, and feedback from the one-on-one discussion and from the group discussion, go back to your answers below and update them.

This Youth Empowerment Activity will help you think about where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and how you’ll avoid choices that will put your future at risk. Everyone’s life is determined directly by the choices they make. Answer the following questions to get conscious about your decisions now and into the future. This will help increase your ability to choose your actions.


What is a “Vector”?

A vector is a direction that something is moving. It can refer to a ship or an airplane or someone’s life. As with navigating a ship, making a small change — even a tiny change — in direction now can make a huge difference in the future. If I turn the ship a tiny bit now, it’s easy to do, and I’ll hardly notice the change. But after a week of sailing, or a month, or longer, my ship will end up in a completely different place.

Making a small change in the vector or direction your life now is easy and you’ll hardly notice. But in a month, or a year, or a few years, it can change everything.

Name a vector in your life now, that you decided years ago: 



Name another vector, one that you decided within the last year or so: 



Now, describe a vector you decided recently, within the last few months or less: 



Name a decision you HAVE MADE for your benefit:



Name a decision you HAVE MADE that hurt you: 



Describe a decision you COULD MAKE NOW for your benefit:



Describe a decision you COULD MAKE now that would harm you: 



How might you recognize these choices and behaviors in the future, before they happen? 



 What are decisions? What is your POWER to make decisions?

Every day, all day, our lives are a series of decisions, large and small. Sometimes, we think of decisions as those major life events: will I take this job? Will I go out with this person? Where will I live? Will I stay in school? But almost everything we do is a decision. We decide to get out of bed, and when. We decide what to eat, or not. We decide what to say to people.

In your life, decisions are your POWER. They will determine who you are, what you have, how you live, how others think of you, and what you’ll do about the challenges you face. No one makes your decisions. ALL OF THEM are up to you. Even if you are faced with huge problems, you can make decisions NOW to change your situation. You can decide a new vector, even multiple vectors, that will take you somewhere new.

Think about this one… name an external factor, that you don’t feel you have control over, that has created problems for you: 


How has that external situation affected you? Describe this in detail. 


In this situation, name ONE SMALL decision you could make to take back your power in a POSITIVE way: 


In this situation, name a MAJOR decision you could make to take back your power in a POSITIVE way: 


Why make a change? Why claim your power?

Making the right decisions is one major way to claim power over your life. Your reasons might be about you, the people you care about, or other reasons. List three REASONS you want to make better decisions and claim your power.

Your first reason: 


Your second reason: 


Your third reason:



Putting this into Practice 

This Activity will help you put the concept of vectors and the power of decisions into action. Don’t stop here: take these ideas and plans into your life. Try them. Practice them. Share them. Get good at them and you’ll be able to create whatever you want.

Consider your life situation today. Think of a situation you’re in that you wish you weren’t. Use a real example, from your life in the recent past. Consider your power and the DECISIONS you could make about this example you’ve chosen. Remember the example of the VECTORS, and how small decisions now can make a huge difference down the road. Then, answer the following questions.

Think of four decisions you can make now in this situation you’ve chosen. Name two that would change the vector in a negative direction for you, and two decisions that would be positive. Remember, this is your life, your choices — YOU have the power.

Describe the life situation you’ve chosen for this exercise:


First negative example: 


Second negative example: 


First positive choice:


Second positive choice:


If you change this vector, where will you end up? 

If you DON’T change this vector, where could you end up?


Intentions and Choices

An “intention” is making a decision about something before it happens. When you set an intention about something beforehand, it’s much easier to make the right decision in the moment, when the opportunity arises. For example, you can intend to treat a certain person well, with respect and patience, before you even see that person. You may not like this person, or understand him. But you DECIDE ahead of time to do the right thing. Then, the next time you’re with him, you remember your intention — your DECISION TO ACT A CERTAIN WAY — and now you have the power to proceed with patience, respect, and integrity.

It’s been said that a life is a series of intentions and decisions. Regarding the life situation you used above, decide a new intention for yourself – own your own youth empowerment. Describe it below.



Regarding this life situation, my NEW intention is:



How will you remind yourself of this intention every day? 



How will you remind yourself of this goal in the moment, when the opportunity arises, when you need it most?