At the Positive Youth Foundation, we often say that we wouldn’t be here without the young people, and it’s true, we wouldn’t! Our young people not only engage on our programmes, they advocate and educate us. They also play a huge part in leading the direction we, as an organisation, take.
We have always had young people informally help out on sessions, affording them the chance to enhance their skills, taking on tasks during sessions that show them to be more than just a participant. Seeing young people volunteer their time freely in order to become a part of something bigger than themselves is one of the most rewarding things. Seeing young people being that motivated, but also so selfless.
Over the years, we have formed a strong cohort of young volunteers, young people who help support our community sessions; including our sports sessions, open mic events and even our holiday programmes during school breaks.
Seeing the growth and the commitment in young people who support our sessions, we wanted to not only reward them, but hone in on the leadership qualities they’ve shown us. From this, our Leadership Academy was born, enabling us to equip young people for the future.
Becoming a recognised youth volunteer for PYF now relies on young people undertaking a leadership course through our new academy offering. On offer are accreditations that range between Sports and the Creative Arts but both courses explore the fundamentals of leadership and communication skills, which are transferable in all aspects of life.
For many years, the Positive Youth Foundation have offered accredited courses, including Sports and Dance Leaders Levels 1-3, Arts Awards and 1st 4Sport VRQ qualifications. In addition, we also work with long-term partners to offer First Aid certificates. These have always been offered to young people free of charge, looking fantastic on their CV’s and personal statements.
Our Leadership Academy saw young people from across our community, community programmes and schools, in addition to some new faces, came together for a week of intensive workshops.
The programme was delivered by two PYF programme co-ordinators over the Summer break, engaging 25 young people to complete either a Level 1 Sports Leader UK Bronze award or a Bronze Arts Award qualification. Our initial workshops let young people explore the fundamentals of team work and essential communication skills, including how a person’s body language impacts straight away on others perception of you as an individual.
Over the course of the workshop, we continually asked “What is a Leader?”, exploring confidence, being approachable, co-operation and the importance of being organised.
Combining all aspects of learning from the week, each of the young leaders were tasked with delivering a skill share to their peers; a ten-minute workshop designed to teach the group anything, ranging from dance, painting, multisport and even an eyebrow application.
As a finishing touch, the young people spent a morning with one of our Trustees, Amy Foster. Amy has a background in youth work and runs her own HR & Recruitment business – Nomad HR & Recruitment. She delivered a series of fun, thought provoking teamwork tasks, observing the young people from when they stepped in the room to begin the session. Out of 25 young people, Amy chose 8 who really outshone in their approach, attitude and consideration of others.
Leadership Academy is set to become a regular course for Positive Youth Foundation – watch this space!