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Exploring themed games and ideas for youth work

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Finding the right games and ideas for youth work is oftentimes a challenging responsibility. Indeed, one of the greatest challenges for people working with or organizing events for a youthful population is finding captivating, entertaining, engaging and educative activities to keep the youth occupied throughout the event while still maintaining focus on the core objective of the program. Good examples of such include a youth holiday camp intended to last for several days, or a youth training workshop.


When organizing such events it is usually very challenging to determine how best to capture and retain the participants' attention and still facilitate the attainment of essential goals (which are often not as fun as most young people would prefer). For instance, when organizing a religious workshop where young people are required to discuss drug-related problems, it can be a daunting task to maintain the participants' attention and engagement for prolonged periods of time. In fact, attracting an adequate number of participants to such an event may itself present a phenomenal challenge.


Perhaps the most effective strategy for attracting young people to such events and thereafter maintaining their interest and participation rests in juxtaposing the core tasks of the program/event with stimulating fun games and activities. With their limitless energy, high levels of excitement, restlessness, short attention spans and delirious enthusiasm, most youths will support and commit to a program or event only if it provides adequate opportunities to have fun, experience adventure, compete and interact. These activities can be anything from intellectually stimulating, physically challenging, funny, interactive, or spiritually nourishing, as long as they capture and retain the active engagement of the youthful participants.


However, when choosing the most appropriate games and ideas for youth work, the organizers must go beyond the requirement of capturing and retaining the interest of the participants. Programs of events where all the attention is levied on fun activities typically fail to attain their objectives, goals and core mandate. As such, the ideal games and ideas for youth work shouldnot only attract and retain the active engagement of participants but also inspire, motivate, facilitate and encourage the participants to embrace the ‘not-too-fun-but-essential' activities on the programs/events agenda. The key idea is to exploit the short attention spans of young people to the maximum, giving a break just before they lose interest, providing excitement just before boredom sets in, and attacking the core objective when their attention is highest. Organized speeches can thus be broken down into several sessions in between breaks for games. A riddles session can follow a brainstorming session, ghost stories can be followed by an educative video show, and a series of presentations can be followed by an adventurous walk.


Basically, when choosing various games and ideas for youth work, it is important to focus on the theme of the event or program as the principle priority. All other activities can then be spread around that theme in a way that facilitates the best outcomes for the priority objective.



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