Youth building excitement, sharing motivation, or otherwise helping their communities or people to get involved, create change, or make all sorts of things happen can happen through youth as recruiters. Engaging youth as recruiters must mean more than simply propping them up for some adult-led, adult-driven activities. Instead, it should be part of a larger process designed to engage youth as partners throughout their communities.
Ways Youth are Changing the World through Recruitment
Youth-Driven Programming — When youth lead entire programs, they’re involved in identifying the issues they care about, planning activities, writing curriculum, facilitating action, evaluating performance, and reflecting on outcomes. Roles for youth as recruiters are part of a the whole program planning process, and provide opportunities for young people to overcome challenges affecting youth programming directly.
Community Organizing — All youth are members of larger communities who should be integrated throughout the lifeblood of the spaces, cultures, and other identities which make up parts of who they are. As recruiters, youth can help organize community members into passionate, concerned collectives focused on empowerment and transformation.
Social Media — Using the powers of social media and the Internet, young people can recruit their friends, families, neighbors and others to take action and make the world a better place.
Things Youth Need to Change the World through Recruitment
Internet — Learning how to engage others, young people can be powerful users of the Internet for recruitment of both young people and adults. As a tool, the Internet can be taught, critiqued and built on by children and youth.
Training — The skills to recruit and sustain other peoples’ engagement is not an innate ability that some youth have and others do not. Instead, recruitment can happen on a spectrum with different learners and different participants, including across cultural, social, age, and other differences.
Education — Learning the purpose of activities, the incentives and distractions, the assumptions and other knowledge about recruitment can be essential for youth.
- “Starting a Group” by the Texas State Safety Center
- “Recruiting and involving youth” Youth.gov
- “Recruiting and Retaining Youth Activists” by Advocates for Youth
- “Recruiting and Retaining Older Youth in Afterschool” Afterschool Alliance
- “Recruiting Youth” by Adam Fletcher
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in recruiting in your community or organization, contact us.