February Roundup

February 2015:  
YOUmedia CoP Webinar: Teen Participation and Recruitment

In this webinar we heard from The MiX @ Science Museum of VirginiaThe Labs @ CLPYOUmedia Hartford, Studio NPL, TechHive, DreamYard Art Center, and The Studio @ Anythink Wright Farms.  The webinar focused on methods by which these sites recruit teens and encourage/sustain active participation from those teens.   If you didn't get a chance to watch, you can see it here. Or check out some of the highlights below.

1.  All of the sites actively involved teens from the beginning.  The approach to this varied by site but included (and is certainly not limited to) setting up Teen Advisory Councils/Groups, involving teens in the architectural or interior design, and allowing teens to have input on programming decisions.  Basically, to get the best "buy-in" from teens, valuing teen opinions and choice goes a long way.

2. Outreach is important.  All of the sites have different ways of approaching it.  From "street teams" to traveling workshops and labs, getting the word out to new teens, new partners, and new branches/sites within an existing system is important for sustaining active and continued participation.

3.  To increase participation many sites offered additionally incentives (besides just getting to hang out in such cool spaces!).  These incentives range from equipment check out (after certifications or badges have been achieved), prizes for completion of challenges/projects, the chance to have their work exhibited on the museum floor, and more.