Transform local kids from passive tech consumers to creators
Using technology to solve problems or engage with others in new ways is an essential skill for kids to develop.
Many schools are looking for new ways to help students develop these skills. But with only 10 per cent of a student’s time spent in school, kids need opportunities outside of formal education to help spark their interest and build their capabilities.
Social Futures a non for profit organisation based in Northern NSW, recognised this need and have since created the Youth Connections Clubhouse – a free drop in centre for all young people aged 12-18 years to explore their own ideas, develop new skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.
The model’s focus is to up skill our young people and encourage them to become creative producers, rather than passive consumers of technology and media.
Dusty McOnie, Clubhouse Coordinator
The Clubhouse is part of a wider community known as the Clubhouse Network. This is a global community for creativity and achievement. The Network has been over twenty years in the making and has 100 Clubhouses established worldwide.
The Clubhouse was soft launched in Lismore in October 2014, as the first Australian regional Clubhouse in the global network. Youth Members pursue their own interests through project based learning. Some of these may involve:
- Learning to Code to create games and tell stories;
- Produce graphic designs and artworks;
- Practice photography and produce films;
- Create stencils and screen prints;
- Write, record and produce music;
- Design, build and publish websites or zines;
- Engineer and create 3D models; and
- Build and program robots.
Youth members are supported by mentors, these are local volunteers aged 19 years and up who have experience working with technology and are passionate about passing these skills onto others.
In October 2015, The Clubhouse took part in an international survey to understand the impact the network is having. Looking at the overall outcomes, the Youth Connections Clubhouse is a clear standout.
The Clubhouse is increasing Youth Members’ commitment to high school and to continuing education after they complete high school. It is also increasing their interest in studying STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) in the future.
Its ability to build skills and aspirations for young people in regional Australia is testament to the success of The Clubhouse program. The team in Lismore have leveraged an international network and tailored the delivery to suit local needs. And clearly it works!
I think this past year shows that the model fits really well here in Lismore, and it is an exciting prospect for inspiring young people to enter STEAM fields. In the last half of 2015 we had 64 active members. Of these 67% attended at least twice a week. Girls connecting with technology represented 39%.
Open for an eight day intensive program over the 2016 Summer School Holidays The Clubhouse collaborated with YWCA, SAE Institute and Southern Cross University to run a holiday program with the aim to engage more Indigenous youth. An average of 15 youth attended daily, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members climbed to 56% and have remained frequent members through 2016.
It’s truly wonderful to see the mix of young people, each with their own interests forming meaningful relationships around technology.
Dusty McOnie, Clubhouse Coordinator
The Youth Connections Clubhouse is proud to have represented Regional Australia in July at ‘Teen Summit 2016’ in Boston, USA. It is a biennial week-long event which brings together more than 250 members from each of the 100 Clubhouses worldwide. Our participation at the Teen Summit will assist The Clubhouse to build upon existing knowledge, skills and resources to create more meaningful learning opportunities in the future for all members.
The goals of the Teen Summit are enabling youth to share experiences, knowledge and resources with others from around the world. Encouraging youth to apply the skills they have developed in The Clubhouse to educational and career-related paths and instilling leadership, communication and teamwork as well as fostering appreciation for different cultures.
If you are interested in sponsoring The Clubhouse, we would love to speak to you more about Teen Summit and the amazing work that Clubhouse members do every day. Get in touch by emailing [email protected] / [email protected] or leave a comment below and we can help you find out more. You can follow news from The Clubhouse at: https://www.facebook.com/YouthConnectionsClubhouse