ICP supports the development of national policies that increase opportunities for young people to engage in long-term, structured service. ICP believes that national youth service policies can serve many unmet community and national needs, including providing opportunities for young people to gain valuable skills for employment and for governments to harness the skills of young people to participate in development or respond to disasters or address other critical national priorities.
ICP defines National Youth Service as an organized period of substantial youth engagement with and contribution to a community, supported or mandated by the national government, with minimal monetary compensation to the participant.
ICP works with governments interested in implementing a new national youth service program or scaling up an existing program in their country. ICP also supports movements within countries to promote the development of a national youth service policy.
In the United States, National Service has taken many forms over the past 75 years and has allowed the government to enhance its capacity to respond to critical national needs, from building public infrastructure during the great depression to responding to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2004.
As of 2008, no comprehensive database exists that can tell us how many countries have NYSP (National Youth Service Policy), but ICP is working to gather this information and will make it available through our youth service database. However, we do know that countries around the world have begun to implement national youth service programs to engage young people in community and national development, build their skills for the future and respond to critical community and national needs.