Youth Engagement Toolkit

Starting A Group


Recruitment is one of the initial steps to take when forming a youth group. This section will detail the recruitment process and offer tips and instructions for recruiting high quality, committed young people.

Q: Who do I need to recruit?

  • students who have a passion for the topic you're focused on
  • students who are willing to work for the cause
  • students who are outgoing and can draw in other people
  • students with a diversity of backgrounds, skill sets and abilities

Q: Where do I recruit students from?

Where the youth are! Seems like an obvious answer, but it actually opens up more doors and windows than we could ever hope to utilize!

  • Students are in school eight hours a day so that seems like the obvious place to start, right? What if you can't get into the schools?
  • Community-based groups (Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, faith-based groups, social clubs, etc. are great places to find young people already willing to work.

Q: How do I recruit students?

  1. Start by recruiting five or six key members who are really interested in establishing the group.
  2. Now, put them in charge of recruiting! They'll know better than anyone else how to create excitement among their fellow students.

They'll also have great ideas for a kick-off event that is available to the students and is fun and interactive.

Q: Why do I need to recruit students?

Check out our section on Youth Engagement

The biggest thing to remember about recruiting is that it is a continuous process. You will constantly have students rotating in and out of the group. Keep encouraging your students to bring new people, to reach out and keep each other committed and involved, and to spread the group's message to anyone who might be interested in joining.

Recruitment Ideas and Tips: (from Wisconsin FACT)

  • Think about why a young person would want to get involved
  • Reach youth through organizations and institutions they frequent (schools, churches, etc)
  • View recruitment as an ongoing process that you are constantly engaged in - not as a one shot deal
  • Involve current participating you in the development and implementation of a recruitment campaign
  • Build relationships with school administrators, health teachers, guidance counselors - schools are a great venue for contacting youth and promoting the Say What! Youth Movement

Possible Pitfall: Take the advice of someone who has worked as a youth group leader for nearly a decade:

"One mistake I see agencies make is that they don't connect with students on their level. They try to connect with youth the same way they would connect with parents and the wave lengths are just totally different. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!