Community Organisers Blog

Young Listeners

by | Nov 13, 2017

We have just returned from a fabulous weekend away with our bunch of young listeners; that will soon be going out into four schools across Wiltshire.

Following from a 5 week engagement program, (one day a week) the ten students between the ages of 12-14 will receive support and training around Community Organising skills, safeguarding and leadership; which they will then use to listen to others in their schools to understand how they are feel, to try to involve those that wouldn’t usually speak up and ultimately to encourage student-led projects or initiatives within schools.

The students attended a three day residential at Oxenwood Outdoor Activity Centre.

Because we were able to have them for a whole weekend it meant we could deliver the main framework of the day training; but also add additional activities that could illustrate important topics such as power and moving ideas into action

After delivering our power session we took the young people out on a night hike. We decided to split the group into two; one group being put in charge of the others. (In this exercise we used the example of Prison Officers and Prisoners) It was amazing to watch them work in their groups and establish their own forms of power whilst out on the hike. At one point one of the more shy and reserved students seemed to suddenly burst with enthusiasm and stated that she was going to ‘infiltrate the Prison officer’s group and bring them down from the inside’

What was especially great about being able to deliver these sessions in more depth and in a fun way that could illustrate it; was that the next day the students were able to link the power exercise up with experiences that they were concerned they may encounter when returning to the school to implement their projects. One boy said that he was concerned that they felt powerful as a group while they were on the training; but was aware that the power dynamic would be different when back in the classroom. We were able to reflect on the activity and discuss how they may choose to influence power when they go back.

Listening to the young people reflect on the main content of the day training on the following day was also a great learning experience for us as a training team… You could hear the students commenting about how learning about the facts and feelings activity showed them why its was so important when doing a listening.

What a weekend!! I think it felt good as trainers to be able to deliver the training to younger people and for them to receive it so well; but also to have such warm and friendly feedback from them all.

We would love for it to be delivered as a week long version to young people… so it’s heads down for us to look for more funding!!