; Getting volunteers and people to help out

One of the biggest assets to any youth group is the people that get involved and offer their time, skills and expertise. Help will be needed from three sources: young people; a working group or committee; and potential youth workers and volunteers.

There are a number of ways to find the helpers you need. You can put up notices in local shops, schools, libraries and churches etc. You can use the local radio and newspapers, or approach local people known to have an interest in young people. You can visit the local Volunteer Centre to find out how they can help.

Let's assume that you have managed to interest a group of people in setting up a working group. The next stage will be to attract adults who will become the youth group workers. The success of the venture will depend to a large extent on the quality of the youth workers, so time and energy will be needed to ensure that you have the right people to work with you.

They will need:

  • The time
  • The enthusiasm
  • Patience and common sense
  • A positive view of young people
  • An understanding of young people
  • A sense of humour

Youth worker role

The role of the youth worker describes what they DO and what they are RESPONSIBLE for. This will include:

  • Giving young people the opportunity of meeting together in a comfortable and relaxed way
  • Developing relationships with young people
  • Working with young people to develop an appropriate programme
  • Helping young people work through problems and difficulties

DO ensure that the workers are sensitive to the needs of other people and aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

DON'T take anybody. There are plenty of people with time on their hands and there may be very good reasons for that. On the other hand, working with young people can be difficult and demanding, so do ensure that they will last the pace and bring some kind of continuity to the project.

For more guidance on how to recruit and select volunteers, visit Safe and Sound

Supporting youth work volunteers

Youth Scotland has developed a set of resources and materials to help youth groups and projects to strengthen their volunteer team.

Growing better youth work - A guide to strengthening your volunteer team

No limits - volunteering as a model of youth development

Amazing Things - A guide to the youth awards in Scotland, produced by the Awards Network and published by Youth Scotland

Raising your game - a free toolkit for improving volunteer practice in local youth groups and organisations.

In addition, The Resources Bankis a database of searchable resources which support the different stages of the Volunteer Life Cycle. The Resources Bank contains a mix of online, downloadable and printed materials, many of which are freely available. You can dip into these resources at any time to find ideas and information to help you.

Summary - For you to do

  • Draw up a description of the roles and responsibilities for youth workers and volunteers
  • Try to achieve a balance of male and female volunteers
  • Ensure you have an appropriate ratio of adults to young people. The ratio of adults to young people is dependent on a range of factors and situations such as the type of premises in which your youth group is run, and what kinds of programme or activities you are carrying out.
  • Check out the suitability and skills of all the volunteers involved in the club

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