Build Momentum youth conferences are essential for engaging youth in the community. It also allows them to get to know one another and come together to find a new passion and focus. Unfortunately, one of the main complaints regarding youth conferences is that they are not engaging enough or do not offer enough activities.
Some people make the mistake that they can offer the youth some free food and that hundreds will come to the event. Moreover, this is not true. Teens want to be somewhere they feel important and engaged. Sometimes you might also think you are making a conference for youth, but the participants find the activities too old or too young for them.
The Benefits Of Attending A Youth Conference
Attending a youth conference can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn, connect with like-minded individuals, and grow personally and professionally.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to set clear goals before the conference and identify what you want to achieve. Whether networking with specific individuals, learning about a particular topic, or gaining inspiration, having clear goals will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.
Additionally, research the youth conference agenda beforehand. Familiarize yourself with the conference schedule, including the speakers, workshops, and activities. And plan which sessions you want to attend to optimize your time and avoid missing out on important events.
In this article, you’ll discover some tips on making the most of a youth conference by being more engaging and drawing in more youth.
Make a Budget
Unfortunately, some places charge too much for youth conferences, and low-income and middle-income families cannot afford the fees for their children to attend. One of the best things you can do is make your conference catered towards those who might not have a lot of money but still want to send their child to the conference.
One of the best ways to do this is to seek sponsorship from the community. Usually, many businesses and community leaders want to sponsor youth conference events because they want the youth in their town to be able to attend these events.
You can also attend networking events where you can showcase your conference and explain why you need sponsorship. Moreover, when you can conference with students from all income levels, it will be more diverse, which also means you can have more diverse ideas coming from the event.
Find Engaging Speakers
Almost all conferences have a speaker or two. You want to ensure they are relatable and helpful, not cheesy or condescending. They need to have a background in working with teens. Ideally, their career should focus on helping teens and youth.
Try to find someone some of the teens have already heard of or find someone with a support base for teens and young adults. You should also ensure the speaker knows how to speak individually to the kids and in front of them. You want the speaker to engage the audience the whole time. Interesting, then go to an event they are scheduled to see how they speak and interact with the audience.
During the speech, consider giving the teens pens and pads so they can take notes or write down things from the speech that they find inspirational. You can also have small breakout sessions after the speaker finishes so the students can talk about what they found interesting or what they will take away from the speech.
Make the Youth Conference a Safe Space
Teens and youth always want to be somewhere they feel accepted and loved. You need to ensure that they feel like the youth conference is a safe space where they can talk freely and openly. The youth should be able to share their experiences and their ideas without feeling like they will be judged or looked down.
Make sure you give enough opportunities to all the teens to make their voices heard and allow them to contribute at whatever level they feel comfortable with. Moreover, this means if some teens are not talking or sharing, you will not force them to speak if they are unwilling.
Furthermore, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a youth leader because many students will discontinue coming if they feel forced to talk or share when they are not ready. The good news is that most teens will open up and share once they have been given the proper space and worked up confidence.
Have Youth Led Discussions
While having an adult lead discussion is sometimes necessary, youth-led discussions are also meaningful. Moreover, most students feel more confident talking in front of peers versus having an adult around.
Make sure there is a mature youth that can lead the discussion and make sure it’s moving in the right direction.
Offer Support Services
Some youth attending the youth conference might not have support at home or in their family in case they suffer from mental health issues or have other problems. You can offer counseling services or allow the youth to make their own directed care plans.
More importantly, remember that even though everyone is a teen, they are still in many different phases of life. Some will also need advice and services on transitioning from a teen into an adult. In this case, you should offer special services to those graduating and attending college for the first time.
Center It On the Future
Teens are always looking toward the next phase in life, and they are always looking for advice on how to do better and be more successful. Make sure you have some speakers and groups to discuss how to land their first job, how to be successful in their first semester of college, and how to be away from home for the first time when moving into their dorm or first apartment.
These things are often things that teens are afraid to talk about, but they want to speak about them and get advice.
Creating a youth conference can often be stressful because you want to make sure it’s engaging and that you have plenty of support from the community. By following the tips listed here, you be sure to create a conference that teens will continue talking about and that they will want to attend in the future years to come.
Make sure to be engaging and make every step of the planning conference focused on the youth.
Becoming a Head Start teacher requires dedication, passion, and specific training in early childhood education. Head Start is a federal program aimed at helping low-income families by providing comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services.