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Understanding Youth Involvement
Taking Action: 10 Steps to Engaging Youth in Club Decision-Making
Helpful Links and Resources
Section 1: Introduction to Succession Planning
Section 2: The Succession Planning Process
Section 3: Crucial Ingredients for Steps 1-5
Step 1. Stop and Think
Step 2. Identify Barriers to Participation for Young People
Step 3. Decide How Your Club will Involve Young People in Decision-Making
Step 4. Form Community Partnerships
Step 5. Recruit Young People
Step 6. Induct Young People in to your Club General Induction Information
Step 7. Effectively Communicate with Young People
Step 8. Invest in Young People
Step 9. Mentor your Young Volunteers
Step 10. Recognise Volunteers and Thank Them for Their Work
Step 1: Examine your club’s position
Step 2: Identify skills required to fill critical roles in your club
Step 3: Assess the skills gap in your club and identify potential successors
Step 4: Develop and prepare potential successors
Step 5: Evaluate your succession plan



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Step 7. Effectively Communicate with Young People


When trying to engage and work with young people, it is important to consider the ways in which you communicate with them. This goes for when you are chatting with them on the sideline, trying to promote your club or including them in a meeting.

Six Things to Remember when Communicating with Young People:

  1. Avoid technical language or jargon they might not be familiar with
  2. Keep it simple but don’t patronise.
  3. Show respect for their views and opinions. Don’t speak over them or dismiss what they say. Make sure they know their input is valued.
  4. Don’t expect them to have an understanding of the formal language used in some meeting environments. Make sure you explain what terms mean. You can do this by giving them this: sports club glossary.
  5. Make sure you listen and are open to feedback. In some cases, this may be negative feedback. Don’t ignore it just because they are younger. Though you might not like hearing it, it could be valuable information. For example, the fact that training is held on a Friday night and clashes with social commitments could explain why you have falling numbers of players in the Under 16s team. It’s vital that you take this feedback on board and take steps to address issues. If young people feel like they are being heard, they will be more likely to get more involved the next time you ask.
  6. Don’t push them to contribute. Let them build up their confidence and speak when they feel comfortable.

Communication Tools for Clubs

In the past, clubs have communicated with young people through their  parents, often by direct mail-outs. It’s crucial that clubs use a range of  communication tools to reach young people. Here are some  alternatives:

Email: If your club is not already using email to communicate with its members then it probably needs to start doing so – today! Starting up a club email account is easy and free. Email is a cost-effective way of communicating with the masses. It also allows you to send registration forms, club policies, planning schedules and e – newsletters to members without spending lots on printing. Email is especially useful for communicating with young people because it can be informal and less daunting. There are a number of email providers you could register with. If the sound of creating an email address scares you, just ask a young person for help! Below is a list of common email providers: Visit these links to sign up for an email account:

Text Messaging: We all know how much we rely on our mobile phones these days. Well, for young people it’s certainly no different. Save the effort of calling around from player to player to let them know about a club event - just send a group text. Text messaging is comfortable, easy and quick for young people. Often, it won’t cost more than a postage stamp or a phone call.  Howeve, be aware that young people will not have endless credit to respond to texts. Despite this, it is a good way of spreading the word about a big game, an important meeting or a volunteering opportunity. Speak to your phone company to see which phone plan is best for offering cheap text messaging.

Blogging: If you need a quick and easy way of sharing information with club members of all ages about game results, upcoming events, ground closures or other breaking news, a blog is a great tool. Blogging is basically just a term for writing online. It is a way of sharing ideas, notices, displaying images and allowing your club members to make a public comment. You can create a blog online for free without too much hassle. There are a number of places on the web where you can create a blog (and we suggest you shop around). Some are free and some require you to pay a fee. One example of a free page is www.blogger.com. This site takes you through the step-by-step process of creating a blog. Once you have created a blog, make sure you let everyone know that it exists and how they can access it!

Social Networking: Increasingly, the most effective and efficient way to communicate with a wide group of young people is through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. These sites offer great FREE opportunities for promoting your club to young people and letting them know about upcoming events or club meetings. They also offer a great opportunity to capitalise on the social motivations of volunteering. By creating a profile or ‘group’ on one of these sites, you can invite members in to the group, share information and photos with them and also help to encourage a more social atmosphere for members. It’s a great way of keeping track of old members and finding new members. Existing members can invite others to become a ‘friend’ or ‘member’ of your group which expands your network immediately or they can share club information with friends simply by clicking a button.

It is important to keep up to date with emerging technology as these sites are constantly evolving and new sites are opening. Facebook has undoubtedly been the most prominent social networking site for young people in Australia over the last few years. However, this may change and it is important to ask young people what sites they are using and tap in to them.

To get started on one of these stages, you need to create a ‘profile’ for the club. Visit www.facebook.com or www.myspace.com or www.twitter.com  to find out more or simply do a web search for social networking sites and pick the one that suits your club’s needs. If you don’t feel confident, why not ask a young person for help? It could be a great first project for a young volunteer. For an introduction to social networking check out these articles at www.webtrends.about.com:

Before diving head first in to these sites however, take time to consider the security settings on your page. Much of the information you ‘post’ to your ‘profile’ becomes public information. Make sure you understand your own customised security settings before starting to use your page. In addition, take care with ‘posting’ images and other information about club members. Be sure to get consent before ‘posting’ this information.

You should also be aware that these sites can sometimes enable online bullying so you need to encourage members to act responsibly – and be prepared to monitor your site regularly (or give this job to a responsible young person).  Don’t be scared off though – these sites are very simple to use and easy to navigate!

Methods of Communication

We asked young people who do not currently volunteer with sports clubs what was the best way of letting them know about upcoming events and activities. The three most popular methods of communication were:
  • Phone;
  • Text Message; and
  • Facebook.