Welcome back to this week’s segment of After School Tea Time! Get your tea cups ready because we have more to spill this week! Keep your questions coming because you could be helping someone who has similar questions!
Question from Fairfield County- From your years of experience in the field, what would you say are the most engaging activities for youth? In our program we are facing some difficulties engaging our students because they feel overwhelmed and stressed. They are a group of 5th graders. How can we help them?
Hey Fairfield, thank you for asking this question. The most engaging activities for youth are the ones that allow them to experience what is being talked about. Finding what they are interested in or passionate about is a good place to start. This can either be during an opening circle check-in or in an anonymous survey.
Second to this is finding staff that are passionate about the work they are doing. Excitement is contagious. When staff are interested in what they are teaching or talking about, so are the youth. It is always a challenge to keep older youth engaged. They can vote with their feet and choose to not be there. Parents may require them to attend the program, and while they are physically present, they may not be engaged or participating.
Allowing opportunities for youth choice and voice in programs goes far with this age group. What types of things outside of the program can they get involved in (community projects, national awareness campaigns, etc.) that can be sustained over a short period of time (6-8 weeks). Allowing older youth to do a similar, but different type, of afterschool programming that meets their needs is a key to successfully supporting youth. It is not about the activity, anything can be engaging if the person facilitating it has at a minimum the interest, and better off the passion, that will hook the audience. We hope this helps!
We’ll see you next week for another segment of After School Tea Time! Don’t forget to submit your anonymous questions here.