Giving Teens Leadership Experience through Your Volunteer Program

My newest goal at the Chattanooga Public Library is to develop and new branch of our Teen Volunteer Program that’s all about leadership.  If you’ve ever met me or heard me speak in person about volunteer management you’ll know I’m very into creating empowering opportunities that translate well for teens onto college or job applications.  It’s that passion and the freedom of my new job which gave me a great brainstorm just before the holiday season:

I want to teach teens how to program for libraries.

I want them to choose whatever they’re passionate about, let me teach them how to run it as a program and then let them take the driver’s seat and actually run it.  I’ve figure out how to fit all of this into a two hour block of time so it’s easily adapted to school requirements and teenage lives.  Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Come and tell me what you’re interested in teaching.  I’ll give you a volunteer application to fill out and explain how this works.

Step 2- We schedule a time to get together and I’ll walk you through “How to Run a Program” in a half hour.  We’ll also set up the date and time of your program.

Step 3 – Today is your program!  Work your magic and I’ll act as your helper for the duration of the program.

Step 4 – After your program we’ll take ten minutes to discuss whether or not your enjoyed leading a program and if you’d like to do it again or remain a mysterious one hit wonder!

That’s it.  Super simple.  And when kids are done they’ll have programming experience at a very recognizable nonprofit and I’ll even provide them with a one-sheeter of the kind of work they’ve done translated into “employment ” and “academic” terms they can plug into those applications.

Update, 2/26/2014!:  I recently wrote a piece for The Chattanooga Public Library on a similar topic.

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