; Planning a youth programme

Youth clubs evoke different images in the minds of different people and therefore it is essential that everyone understands the aims and purposes of the club. That is not to say that a club's aims and purposes are set in stone, as they may change and develop over time in the same way as the needs of young people change and develop.

Young people often get 'bored' and need to be engaged in challenging, stimulating and 'fun' activities. A club that offers the same things week in week out quickly becomes stale and uninviting to young people.

A programme can help staff and volunteers to work with young people to explore matters that interest or concern them, raise issues, look at prejudice and attitudes and help change attitudes.

Programmes enable young people to participate and learn about their environment, develop skills, develop self-awareness, confidence and give them responsibility enabling them to make choices about their lives.

An organised programme provides young people with varied, stimulating and fun activities, as well as providing a focus for the volunteers and staff to deliver and gain the satisfaction of achieving constructive activities.

What type of youth group?

Here are some key questions to get you thinking:

  • What will your youth group or project do and what activities will it offer?
  • Will it have a structured programme of activities or be a 'drop-in' style youth group?
  • What size will it be or how many members will it be able to cater for?

To begin with it is important to agree what type of youth group it will be. This might include, for example: an activity club for young people; a sports-oriented club; an advice and information centre; or a community project group.

All of these may be combined, or the club may be more general in nature and cater for as wide a cross-section as possible.

Use the information from your community survey to help you make these decisions.

Remember, good programme planning is the basis of a happy, thriving youth group.

Summary - For you to do

  • Involve young people in the design of the programme
  • Create a mix of active sessions as well as the opportunity to sit and chat
  • Find out and use the skills of those helping out at the club
  • Work through the Programme Planning Questions with your committee and the young people you aim to engage

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