Thinking About Young People at Community Workshops

One of our goals as a Community is to make RC accessible to young people. One of the ways to do this is to make sure that there is space for young people at Community workshops that are not specifically set up for young people.

I have found that until a Community has consistently had significant numbers of young people at its workshops, the workshops can feel hard for the young people, and other Community members can find it hard to have the young people there.

When I talk to allies about having young people at workshops, I often talk about what I call the “Donut Rule”: having a ring of allies who hang out* with and Co-Counsel with the young people at the workshop. While often at workshops certain people are specifically assigned the job of “allies to young people,” being part of the “donut” is not an official job. It means getting in contact with the young people at the workshop, sitting with them during classes, having mini-sessions and sessions with them, and hanging out with them during breaks and mealtimes and in the evenings.

Feelings we adults had when we were young that we were uncool or unliked can come up when we spend time with young people. Spending time with young people at a workshop is a great way to work on these feelings (with other allies at the workshop).

I have found that as more young people come to Community workshops consistently, the “donut” of allies around them grows to the point where it becomes unnecessary, because many Community members have attention for and relationships with the young people.

I encourage all allies at a workshop with young people to work on whatever they need to work on to be part of the “donut” and making the workshop go well for the young people there.

Emily Bloch

International Liberation Reference Person for Young Adults

Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time 182, January 2016)

* “Hang out” means spend relaxed, unstructured time.

Last modified: 2017-04-06 23:13:07+00