Youth Engagement Toolkit

I Have A Group

Keeping Students Engaged

After talking with some of our youth leaders, we've compiled a list of reasons why students might lose interest in a group or activity:

  • If the individual has to many things going on / not enough time
  • If the group takes on too many projects, but doesn't have enough people to help
  • If things get boring / too much "paper and pencil work"
  • If no one is passionate about the cause
  • If they don't feel included
  • If all the members don't share the same goals
  • If the group's priorities change from what the individual originally joined for
  • If the group isn't organized
  • If the group does the same things over and over / no new ideas
  • If the group doesn't bond / doesn't have time to spend together
  • If there is no support from the adults

Our best advice for avoiding large number of drop-outs from the program:

  1. Keep it fun! Students know how to work and be serious, but no one (including you!) likes to be serious all the time! Play games, have meetings that are solely focused on the social aspects of your group, have contests, make it fun!
  2. Take risks - your students might have some crazy ideas, but if you take a risk, show them that you trust them and support them, and let them run with those ideas, they'll stick around.
  3. Shake things up! Most groups have their go-to activities, fundraisers, projects, etc. that happen year after year. They use the same locations, the same fliers, the same students every time. Choose one of those to hang onto and throw the rest out the window! There are PLENTY of activity ideas at that you can choose from to change things up a little.
  4. Focus. Our funding comes in silos, the problems students face do not. However, if a group tries to take on everything at once, not a lot gets done. If you have a group that wants to address multiple topics throughout the year, that's great but narrow it down to one per month, or even one topic per semester. It will make planning much easier and help keep goals and priorities at the forefront instead of behind the web of topics.
  5. Every student has different talents, different abilities, and different interests. Don't expect everyone to be interested in the cookie cutter student role. Utilize their talents, give them a role that interest them, create a position that fits the student. If the student is not engaged in a way that is meaningful to them, they won’t stick around.