Involve Young People

Build Skills:

Getting young people interested

After planning great stuff for young people, you’ll want to think about how you can get young people interested in what you have to offer. Promotion will help you to get the word out and recruit young people to your project, activity or event.
Why young people will get involved

Remember, young people will get involved in organisations or community groups for a combination of different reasons.

Whatever their reasons, each young person will be looking for an opportunity that is:

  • meaningful, with a clear, realistic purpose
  • challenging, with real responsibilities
  • enjoyable!

To make an activity or project really enjoyable, build in opportunities for:

  • relaxing or just hanging out with other young people
  • interactive or experiential learning and self-discovery
  • identifying personal goals and developing skills or talents
  • decision-making and leadership
  • making real contributions to the local, and wider, community.
How to get the word out

Getting the word out means communicating and promoting the opportunities you want to offer young people. There are a few things you can do:

  • Take the information to young people.

Advertise in the local press and distribute posters or flyers in local public spaces young people use. Use social media to promote the opportunities you’re offering. Ask young people who are interested to spread the word to their friends. Don’t know where young people hang out, or how to contact them? Your local youth service can help.

  • Promotion through other organisations or services.

Speak with organisations and services that young people access, such as schools, TAFEs, universities, libraries, or sports centres. And speak with networks who have access to young people, like your local Youth Network (talk to your local youth service about this), or your Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN). But this might not get the word out to everyone, so think about how you can contact the diverse groups of young people in your community – are there other organisations that work with specific groups related to age, gender, culture, or sexuality? Can you perhaps collaborate or partner with another group or organisation?

Recruiting young people

Involving young people in recruiting others will help make it things more inclusive and exciting others.

  • Young people will have great ideas on how other young people can be recruited – where to go and how to make it attractive to them to be involved.
  • Young people may have a greater sense of ownership if they are involved in the recruitment or selection processes.
  • The presence of young people already in the project or group can make other young people more comfortable to join in.
Tips for successful promotion
  • Use online and offline methods – in other words, make good use of social media and email lists and newsletters such as YACVic Announce, Signposts and Youthgas. But don’t forget that posters, postcards and flyers can also be effective.
  • Make the information accessible and easily understood – read the article on communicating with young people for some help.
  • Involve young people in the design of any promotional materials you use – this will make them appeal to other young people. There are lots of young people who have skills in art, design, writing, marketing and social media – make use of them!
  • Build good relationships with the local community, so parents, guardians and other community members are aware of the opportunities you’re promoting (but make sure adults don’t interfere too much!).
  • Remove barriers that may prevent young people getting involved – considering access, time, costs, space and diverse needs will help you to really support young people to join in.
Building passion and maintaining interest

Young people will keep coming back if they are having fun, developing good relationships with others, and feel like they’re learning something or doing something that matters to them.

Being passionate about something will make young people more motivated to keep doing it. Young people build passion when there are:

  • clear goals
  • difficult but achievable challenges
  • opportunities for immediate, constructive feedback.
What you can do now

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) (2012), A national plan for child and youth wellbeing, A review of the literature, November 2012

Sullivan, T. K. (2011), Youth Engagement: More than a method. A way of life for healthy youth and community development. A white paper written for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development , Minnesota: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

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