YouthHACK2017: Five Organizations, 5 Challenges!

On Tuesday, February 28, YouthREX’s Southwestern Hub hosted YouthHACK2017, welcoming approximately 40 youth sector stakeholders to collaboratively tackle one of five challenges pitched by five youth organizations in their region. This event was an exciting opportunity for participants to work together to tackle real world challenges that organizations were looking for tangible solutions for. Learn more about the event here, and keep scrolling down for the final prototypes that were shared at the end of the day!

Challenge 01 // posed by: Windsor Youth Centre


How do we communicate the need for a youth shelter to the community?

Challenge Description:
Windsor does not have a youth shelter. As a result, youth are often on the streets or couch-surfing at dangerous places because the adult shelter is intimidating. City Councillors have not recognized this issue in a tangible way to support homeless youth in the city.

Pitch: A Windsor BBQ Fundraiser
The purpose of this event is to start advocating by communicating the need for a youth shelter for homeless youth in the Windsor community. This pitch is meant to begin a conversation in the broader Windsor community about why there is a significant need for a youth homeless shelter in the city, helping citizens to understand how difficult it is to navigate services in Windsor for youth.

Challenge 02 //posed by: mindyourmind


How can we apply the opinions of a few youth to an entire program without losing action-oriented development? Is there a better way for youth and professionals ground themselves in decisions that are good for the majority? How can we use technology and online platforms to help us work together and move our work forward effectively?

Challenge Description
mindyourmind’s Design Studio model allows young people work directly with facilitators, content experts, and designers to brainstorm, design, and develop projects. Young people are valued as experts in their own experience and choose to engage in whichever way makes sense for them. When we engage with youth it is usually (but not always) with a group that has opted in. This group of 8-10 youth effectively speak for all their peers on broad topics. We use the strategies and developments from these studios to guide our strategic direction, programs, apps, games, and content.

Pitch: Red Shadow Feedback Team
The ‘Red Shadow Feedback Team’ is a separate group of youth who give context and feedback to the Design Studio team. They provide context and critical thinking, as well as support to consider different perspectives and application to broader issues/systems. This team is recruited from Design Studio alumni who have previously participated in mindyourmind programming, as well as ‘experts’ in the fields related to the issues/topics at hand. This team will require some training on how to give feedback, research, relationship building, and need prior Design Studio experience.

Challenge 03// posed by the Fusion Youth Centre


How can we breakdown the stigma of being a centre for “youth at risk” once and for all?
How do we help our people in our community truly see the value of the safe space and the amazing programming opportunities we provide (for example: technology, media production, and leadership) for youth?

Challenge Description:
The Fusion Youth Centre opened in 2006 and has been offering high quality youth programming to participants aged 12 through 18 for the past 10 years. To this day, Fusion continues to face the same barrier of that it did when the centre first opened, that of being stereotyped. The “Youth Centre” stereotype leads many community members, parents and youth alike to believe that Fusion is only intended for “youth at risk” and that the centre is an unsafe place. Parents believe their children will be exposed to negative influences, which makes them reluctant to allow for participation. Over the years Fusion has worked very hard to crack the Youth Centre stigma and significant progress has been made. However, there is still large percentage of the community that believes that the Fusion Youth Centre is a place for youth to just congregate and make poor choices.

Pitch 01: Infusion
Infusion involves a three-pronged approach to communicating Fusion’s vision and strategy which will be co-developed by the youth. Prong 1: Update Fusion’s mission statement; Prong 2: Better understand how Fusion fits into the Ingersoll community by surveying and mapping opportunities to help Ingersoll parents learn about what Fusion has to offer so they will change their minds about allowing their kids to attend; Prong 3: Share Fusion success stories through: displaying videos of Fusion and its members in community locations; having media days at Fusion where different media outlets can promote Fusion and its programs; distributing post cards with information to the community through business and organizations.

Pitch 02: Parental Involvement
The pitch involves including parents in the community of both the youth attending Fusion and the youth who are not attending. This approach would allow Fusion to ask the parents who will not allow their kids to attend why? The parents would also be given an opportunity to provide input for how Fusion can change. Fusion will work together with the parents in a meaningful way to come up with a solution that benefits the entire community. The plan would involve engaging social media, an advisory council and focus groups.

Challenge 04 // posed by Twelve Canada


What tangible supports do young community facilitators, inside and outside of organizations, need to avoid burnout so that they can continue to help adult-led organizations to take participatory action?

Challenge Description
Young community facilitators are skilled at taking participatory action and are capable of helping organizations, workplaces, and communities to achieve greater impact. However, the wisdom of these young facilitators often fails to impact the way that these organizations operate because many are unprepared to practice participatory community development. As a result, many of our world’s most compassionate young community facilitators burn out and stop pursuing their dreams.

Pitch: Five-Part Orientation
The two groups working on this challenge merged together to come up with a fulsome orientation process for Twelve Canada community facilitators to go through. This orientation includes: advocacy/education, community and organization education, self-care and wellness resources and support, mentorship, and a general orientation about Twelve Canada and the role of youth facilitators.

Challenge 05 // posed by the Boys and Girls Club of London


How can the Boys & Girls Club inform and connect with youth (high school students) throughout London? What type of platform would allow youth to easily engage with information about programs and services, as well as help inform the development of new opportunities for young people?

Challenge Description
The Boys & Girls Club is not known for providing opportunities for youth as we offer a wide variety of children’s programs, and our brand does not reflect a focus on youth services. Many young people are unaware of the programs and services that we offer. Other youth serving agencies have indicated a similar challenge in promoting and connecting with youth in London. Many programs struggle to reach the number of participants that they have the capacity to support, and to provide them with the valuable opportunities that they have to offer including: tutoring, access to scholarships, pre-employment training, leadership, life skills training, sports, arts, and other recreational activities. There is no sustainable mechanism to connect youth with the programs and services that are currently available. Additionally, there is no city wide platform where youth are able to inform and help develop programs and services to ensure that they meet their unique needs.

Pitch: Marketing to Youth via a Youth Ambassadors Program
This group pitched a youth ambassadors program to help change the perception of the Boys and Girls Club of London among youth in London. These ambassadors would help ‘make it cool again’ to hang out the the boys and Girls Club space, subsidizing memberships for group members. The drop-in space would be a place where youth feel safe, their ideas are seen as important, and programming and services are tailored especially for them. There would also be a separate entrance for youth that goes right into the teen zone, by passing the hectic general space where there can be lots of young kids as well as seniors.

We want to thank everyone who attended the day for sharing their time, energy and knowledge with us!

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