• Examine adultism and your relationship to youth
• Build activity bank/toolbox for incorporating youth participation
What’s the power difference and how do we work to combat that?
• How to be in the present, not focusing on the future soley (most grown up things can be done in youth)
• Paying bills – connected to capitalism – connected to devaluing elders and youth – means of production, etc.
• Whether or not you identify as an adult, you are seen as an adult when you’re working with youth.
• Ways we treat young people vs. the way we talk about young people.
• Makes you feel small when people give you conditional compliments – ie, “you’re so mature for a young person”
• Being seen as older is better to help you blend in.
• Lowered expectations for youth.
Participants break up into groups around each-
Youth Detention Groups Home – Lauren
You work for a group home in NE that houses 15 youth between the ages of 15-19 who have been court mandated to participate in the full-time live-in program at the home for their first 3 months upon release from juvenile detention. The home offers a wide range of programming including group counseling, mentoring, career skills, college prep, and extra-curricular activities. In hopes of decreasing the repeat-offender rate, the home has given the staff flexibility in creating/changing programming to meet the group’s needs. Your job is to help engage the youth in a way that encourages them to become more invested in the programming and ultimately, their own futures.
After School program for elementary students – Lauren
You have recently been hired to join a team of facilitators for a DCPS after school program for elementary-age students. The program runs 3 days a week from 3:15pm – 6:00pm. You’ll be working with the arts program, which aims to improve reading and writing skills by teaching children through hip-hop (marketed as “Rap 101”). At the end of each quarter, your group will have written a mini mixtape of original songs that will be performed at the quarterly all-school assembly – this is usually the highlight of the assembly and something the entire school looks forward to. Students enrolled in the after school program have the opportunity to pick between your program and several others that are happening at the same time. Although all of the students attending your program have chosen to be there, they have recently hired you to as an additional support staff to address some behavioral issues that have been interrupting the group’s progress. The main challenge is students not following directions / not paying attention. What can you do to help get things back on track?
Teen Moms – Organizing Childcare in their high school –
You work for an organization that hosts support groups and provides services for teen mothers and pregnant teens. As a facilitator of one of the support groups you have consistently heard from the participants that finding childcare is one of their largest challenges in staying in or returning to school. Your organization has started to think about organizing for childcare in local high schools, and they’ve suggested that you form a youth / client advisory council that will help you in putting together this campaign. You are in charge of outreach and recruitment for the council and for working with the council to plan this potential campaign.
Language Accessibility in middle schoolers –
You are a teacher in the English Language Learner program in a middle school. You have a class of 30 that you work with all day. You heard that a local campaign on language accessibility in schools is collecting video testimonials. It sounds like a great project for your students to learn about media and build their competencies in public speaking while sharing their experiences. How can you engage your students in the process of creating this video or videos?
School Closing storytelling training–
Your group has been approached by a group of activists organizing against local school closings. They are seeking a speak out training and have asked you to design something to help these folks feel prepared to share their stories with the media to advance the larger campaign. The group is made of 25 people and a mix of teachers, high schoolers, and parents. The training is for 3 hours. One of the organizers had been planning on organizing childcare for the event, but one of the parents pointed out that younger children speaking out would be an effective tool for the campaign. In addition to the 25 high schoolers and adults, you now have four 3th-7th graders
Teachers – planning a service project field trip – Cathy
You are a science teacher or teaching assistant at a local school. New to this year’s curriculum is a requirement to teach students about an environmental issue that ties back to what students are learning in class, and have them conduct a service project related to that issue. You hope to find opportunities to integrate youth leadership and greater youth participation (and therefore investment) in the project.
Young people can meet on a regular basis to discuss and modify existing program rules and regulation
Young people can regularly present the program to outsiders: tours, talks to community audiences, presentations to funders.
Young people can choose which activities they wish to participate in and how they wish to participate
Young people can “map” their communities or engage in program evaluation activities
• Assumption that youth wouldn’t come – be present
• Sense of being valued –
• Assessing – thinking about young people’s roles in a project, you don’t think that accessing is really a part of it. But, why not?
• Starting with youth, and framing around them, and ending with them – fit everyone else in the middle.
• Youth voices – powerful (re: council hearing around foster homes/group houses)
• Their presence is important in the final project- giving them agency within choosing roles
• Buy in before choosing – the five tools aren’t linear – the assessing piece was important for us to get buy in. Centering the project in their experience.
• Smaller groups, younger kids – multiple buy in points around shorter time commitments
• How can the environment for young people be as consensual as possible in every way? Does the youth feel like they have agency in this situation? – equal power, adults have more power in this situation – it has to be more than adults saying “are you on board” – how it’s a conversation around how we share power with the youth?
Relationship – absolute authority balanced with unconditional love – tipping the scale around developing youth leadership. Figuring out our roles as an authority – show the softer end of the unconditional love.
Authority – negative connotation – maybe this is different for people who work with kids regularly?
Not in control of the youth – but in control of the situation. Have to seem grounded and that they can look to you for safety or clarity of expectation.
Friendly firmness – the steady force w/out imposing it on people entirely. Safety is key – certain calls that need to be made.
Someone has to intervene… appropriate parameters in place.
Modeling process – modeling how to be involved. Our ability to model ideal process is limited by the context we work in. – esp re: paying gigs there are decisions that are not being made by you (ie, the person with the relationships) – this is something that we should be honest about. Honest about process.
When dealing with external structural challenges –
Learning process – motivation, exploration, dialogue, reflection, action. (get buy in, put out question, discuss about differences of opinion, reflect (make a decision? What does it mean, to me? to us?)