The Blog for Penryn (UK) -based Kernow Youth Society for the Performing Arts. Our society is open to young people aged 9 upwards from the Falmouth and Penryn area. Our aim is to allow members to explore their interest in the performing arts through drama and film activities. KYSPA has a strong citizenship theme with activities aiming to promote self confidence, teamwork and communication skills.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Making Waves 2007

"Making Waves" is the title given to the programme of activities which formed the basis of our bid from the Cornwall Community Foundation. The idea was to create a series of activities around the general theme of youth issues - anything which our members feel strongly about or that directly affects them.

The idea was formed when, at a meeting of the Penryn Youth Initiative steering group, we discussed ways of consulting teenagers and young people about what they wanted the PYI to provide. We also talked about consulting them on the management of the youth space and facilities.

In my experience young people like to be asked what they think. They're not short of ideas and enthusiasm. However, in the past, when I've sat a group down and said "right folks, what do you think about...?" what generally results is a nervous silence where everyone becomes fascinated with the pattern of the carpet! It's not so much that they don't want to contribute, it's just that it's so RARE for adults to consult young people that, quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure they always know how to respond when it happens!

But thinking about it, that's not so surprising. I mean where exactly, in the KS2 & 3 National Curriculum do schools teach how to present your ideas to adults? I've worked in schools on and of since 1992 & I can count the examples I've seen on one hand (with fingers to spare!).

So, folks, this is what Making Waves is all about: First, you're going to learn the skills you need to get your ideas across in a way adults can't avoid taking seriously. You're going to practice team work, communication and project management (that's actually GETTING THINGS DONE, preferably within a time limit!). If you think about it, that's where we've been a little bit weak as a group.

In particular, I think we need to make sure that all our members have an equal chance to contribute, whatever their age or level of confidence. It's easy for quiter members' voices to go unheard. Learning to listen, and to encourage will be as important as learning to speak up. We're getting some help on this from an organisation called YoMo.

As part of this, you'll get to talk about things which affect you, like how young people in Penryn/Falmouth are treated by the community, what facilities there are, that kind of thing. You'll learn how to DISAGREE with someone, and pursuade them you're right or be pursuaded that, actually you were wrong. You will deliver a short project as a group within a time limit.

NEXT we'll apply that on a larger scale, putting together a presentation on issues you feel are important for local councilors (parish, town & county) as well as the community at large.

In the Summer, we'll be working with our friends from Bristol, Firstborn Creatives, to make short films for the film festivals based again on a youth issue theme.

We'll stage a play based on a historical issue which affected young people in the past - proving that if you think today's teenagers have it tough you're mistaken!

By the end of the programme you'll have "made waves" in your community. You'll have put your point of view accross and, just maybe, begun a process of actually making changes for the better. Your achievements will be recognised through accredited awards.

Finally, all these skills will mean that you will be able to plan and produce your own films and plays in the future. It'll be easy - you'll be experts! The investment made by the CCF into KYSPA should result in much more than 9 months of funded activities. "Making Waves" will be the foundation on which you can build a successful, confident society. Oh, it might come in handy at school too.

It'll be an interesting process for our society to go through. Hopefully by the end us leaders will be out of a job - you'll be running the society yourselves!

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