Six Tips for Inspiring Youth Beyond Schools
1. Talk to parents and organizations in your community. Ask them what they are working on or what they need to enrich the lives of youth.
2. Brainstorm what kinds of programs would be helpful. Resist the temptation to develop “educational” programs: There are many ways to enrich lives with conservation. Work to understand where these kids are coming from and what issues/needs they have. What challenges are they facing in their lives that conservation could help with?
3. Consider who might be needed to create a program that is interesting, fun and effective. Is this a program that could be run by volunteers? Might seasonal or year-round staffing help? What are the expectations of your partnering organization? How might parents be involved?
4. Consider the safety of kids. Where will you bring them? Who will have contact with them and what will their training and screening be? What insurance will you need? How can you ensure the children have a fun experience with safety in mind?
5. What would the parents, or partner organization, consider to be a successful experience or program? How might you gauge what you feel is success? Consider creating a pilot program to learn as you go.
6. What funding do you need, who might fund it? Often these are very low-cost programs yet there will be some costs affiliated with them, such as insurance, food/snacks, transportation, possible equipment or supplies, etc.