Since the end of September, SLRA’s youth club project, Global Youth, has re-started its in-person sessions. Around 12 young people have been joining the youth club each week.
The youth club is an opportunity to find distance from the difficulties that young people have to face during their daily lives. We really enjoyed meeting everyone and, together, we played some games and helped with any homework.
As the number of COVID-19 cases spiked at the beginning of 2021, we had to go back to doing everything online and the new guidelines set out by the government restricted us from meeting attendees in person.
Initially, we were a bit sceptical that young people wouldn’t want to engage in our online activities since they are also completing their college courses online and youth clubs often rely on the spirit of in-person meetings. However, these concerns soon disappeared after the success of our first session. A group of around eight began to frequently join the SLRA Youth Club each week, as well as others who occasionally joined.
“In the future, I hope that it will be possible to meet in person and maybe become friends”
Youth Club Participant
After the first session of the Zoom Youth Club
Over the last couple of weeks, we had a lot of fun listening to some music, drawing and choreographing a performance to a song. Every two weeks, Lucy from the theatre project Border Crossers joins our Youth Club to engage the young people in theatre-making by encouraging them to partake in improv, poetry writing or group performances. One of our favourite games to play is, ‘this is not a pen’. The purpose of the game is to take a pen and act as if it is something else whilst the other players try to guess what it is you’re pretending the pen to be. For example, did you know that a pen can be a phone or a mustache? The best part is that you can even take a book and act as if it’s a skateboard or shower!
Furthermore, we continued with the Monday Zoom study group that was organised before Christmas 2020. During our calls, many volunteers and staff members help to support young people with English or Math projects. A young person can either bring in their homework or we’ll prepare some tasks for them to complete.
Over the weeks, the study group became so popular amongst the young people that we had to eventually limit the number of invites sent out. We try to offer 1:1 support so everyone can ask questions and receive help with topics that they find challenging. Moreover, the young people and the volunteers began building relationships making the sessions full of laughs and lovely conversations alongside the hard-work.
In the half-term week, we would usually go on a trip with the young people. For example, in October of last year, we went to play volleyball and ate pizza afterwards. This time we joined an online workout with coaches from Fulham Football Club. We did three different circuits of exercises such as squats, planks and walkouts. It was great to see everyone’s moods becoming better throughout the session (and not just from the young people!)
We definitely have not lost our creativity and we enjoy ending the day with games and laughter! We are looking forward to future sessions and hope to meet in person soon.
To end this blog entry, I want to present one of the popular games often played at the end of the sessions. It is called “counting to 10”. Together as a group, you need to count up to 10. It sounds easy, but if two people say the number concurrently or someone says the wrong number, you must start again. The first time we played, we could only get to 5. At the moment, our record is 9 and, we are really optimistic that by the time we see each other in person, we will have reached our goal of counting to 10.
Many of the young people do not have their own laptops or smartphones and do not have access to internet. Therefore, we are still looking for donations like second-hand laptops or smartphones so that more of the young people are able to join our Youth Club or study group.