Do you want to be the next reliable icon of youth development? This is not really impossible, albeit a bit difficult. Shaping the youth is one of the best things you can make to ensure that you leave a positive legacy to future generations. You may grow old in time, but your effort for youth development has a ripple effect if it is administered properly and strongly.
The heart of youth empowerment involves giving youth education, plugging them into a youth community, maintaining operations through a secure youth fund and getting yourself and the youth involved in a youth project of their liking. These are the elements of a strong youth development program, and you can more concretely achieve them with the following guidelines.
- Have a strong and attractive cause or principle for the youth and hinge your program on that principle. You can’t draw in the youth to your cause if it is not strong enough or engaging enough for them. For some development programs in poor regions, you might even need to furnish their basic need first before you introduce your principles or programs.
- Start out small and increasingly add the increments over time. When you are starting out with your youth development program, it is advisable to start out small and keep the small group that you have loyal and happy. That way, they will be able to encourage other fellow young people to join their cause later because they are solidly anchored on your program.
- Obtain the youth’s voice through focus group discussions, survey and feedback. It is best to keep the youth heard, and to communicate that you are after their development and their feedback matters the most. You can devise many ways to achieve this: through group discussions, interviews and many other ways to open up the platforms for their own ideas on how best to reach out and get them involved.
- Affiliations and sponsorships. Funds are another factor. You might have to do some tie ups with other foundations with a similar goal as yours or get sponsorship from individuals and groups who are also amenable to your cause for youth development.
- Effective follow up strategy. Aside from making a good first impressions through engaging events (youth conferences etc.), you will have a better chance of creating a lasting mark in the hearts and minds of the youth if you are able to make good follow-ups. Employ a buddy system or set some subgroups or committees to link and foster camaraderie that will help keep the youngsters coming back for more.
- Make your program as multi-faceted as possible. Make it fun and varied enough. The youth has various interests. Use art, sports and education to serve as bridges in advancing your development program. Some of the youth are born artists, while others are more reliable in other tasks. Make room for these different interests and use them accordingly.
- Link up continually using technological avenues. Link them up through forums, social networking websites and blogs.
- Understand youth psychology and culture. Background in personality types and psychology is also a good option. Aside from helping you have good leadership skills, this will also allow you to be flexible and better able to understand the youth group that you are trying to reach.