The benefits of Youth involvement
Why Involve Youth
The key to success in any youth orientated company is youth involvement. Young people need to be involved in all aspects of the company, from business planning, policies reviews, company strategies, and promotion. That is, if you want your company to be up to date with the current issues that face the young people of your area, town or country.
It’s very important to remember that youth involvement isn’t an easy thing and requires a lot of work! For involvement to work successfully you need to consult with a decent number of young people (run a focus group), on what they would like to do, how they would like to do it and when.
Example: If you want to involve youth with a bowling activity, don't book a bowling alley until you find out where they want to bowl and not what is convenient for yourself.
The previous approach of involvement does not work. You as a staff member can’t just decide on things like that, it is not fair and from my own experience it only ends in tears for both parties involved. You can’t expect for young people to just be available. Being flexible with your involvement is also very important. The key is to remember is, don't ask people to do what you wouldn't; you have to be actively getting involved too.
Young people can get involved in many different ways:
· Delivery of company presentation
· Youth inspection/ project review
· Outdoor activties
· Group cooking
· Team building and trust games
· Talent shows
· Nights in watch a DVD get popcorn and chocolate
· Seasonal parties
· Award ceremonies
· Job clubs
· Accredited certificates
The list is endless. If you are successful in gaining meaningful involvement from young people then you must reward them for their time and contribution. Now don’t have alarm bells ringing, a reward can be as simple as a certificate or a voucher of your price, their choice. For involvement to work properly it does cost and it will need to be resourced properly, all of these factors apply:
· Child care
· The actual activities
Young people need to a genuine impact for their involvement, if you ask young people how you best should a new project be run, if you gain feedback from the young people you should actively listen to what they say and try best and where possible act upon it. If you show the young people that things are different from their involvement, they in turn will get more involved.
Benefits of involving youth
Company benefits to involvement:
· Gain more funding
· Gain more external acknowledgment
· Better rapport with community
· Gain more points with external assessors
· Your job is more rewarding and fun for you
· Your young people will be happy
Young people’s benefits of involvement:
· Meet new people
· Gain new skills
· Actively make a difference
· Have fun
· Boost confidence and self esteem
· Get motivated and encouraged
My top tips for gaining genuine continuous involvement:
· Consult and plan everything with young people
· Offer rewards
· Make things interesting and fun
· be flexible with times and dates
· promote your activties publicly (posters) and personal (send letter, phone calls)
· Review everything
· Get involved your self
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