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Inspiring youth to become stronger leaders

While having youth participate in one day service projects is an excellent way to teach them how they can make a difference, involving youth in the investigation and planning stages of a service project can have an even bigger impact. As an advisor, you can inspire your club members to serve with passion and become stronger leaders by involving club members from the very beginning of each service project. Let’s explore the three stages to including youth in the investigation process of planning a service project.

The inspiration stage is when a youth finds passion for a cause that would benefit from a service project. To help youth in this stage, start asking these types of questions: What do you care about? What matters most to you? What can you do to make a difference? What type of service project should you do? Who will your service benefit? It is perfectly okay if your members cannot answer all of these questions because they will be researching these questions more fully in the next stage of the investigation process. 

The issue stage is when each Builders Club member researches the cause or service project they each have selected to help. Each member needs to have a good understanding of the problem or the cause that they have chosen. This is where they can interview professionals, talk to individuals in need and read about their issue to discover what’s currently being done. During this stage, youth begin to fully understand why their service project can be beneficial to the cause and why it is important for them to be involved with the cause.

The third and final stage of the investigation process is vision. During this stage, youth devise a plan on how they can make the most significant impact. Each member will need to use what they learned in the issue stage to help them develop a vision for their specific cause. Each member should be able to answer questions regarding the cause that they have chosen such as: What is currently being done for this cause? Can I join other volunteers or service projects to make a difference? Or, is it better to come up with a new project? How can I inspire others to join me?

Engaging Builders Club members in these initial stages of a service project will inspire them. They will be more closely connected to the core issues they are addressing, and they will be more invested in the success of their projects. When their projects are complete, each member can reflect back on these initial stages and with some guidance from their advisors will be able to identify how they strengthened their leadership skills through the process.