If you are reading this blog post, you likely already have an idea of how to go about training youth at the local level. Regional trainings offer a unique opportunity to expand your audience and connect with groups and youth beyond your local area, building valuable relationships in the process. Let’s cover a basic model for hosting a regional training.
Needs Analysis→ Draft & Finalize Curriculum→ Implement → Debrief
Before you decide on hosting a regional training, think about why you are doing this. Is there something specific that needs to be taught? Is your goal simply to discuss the same ideas you have already discussed locally, but to expand on them at a regional level? Do you want to leave with a solid plan for the year? Whatever it is, make sure you are clear about your goal. The needs analysis should be a collaborative effort between you and the other people working with youth across your region. Don’t be afraid to include people who are not in tobacco control, either! What a great opportunity it would be to engage outside organizations that also serve youth.
Next, you want to draft an agenda. If you are working with youth (or anyone really) you want to keep it engaging. That can happen in several ways. You can offer interactive workshops, movement based skill sessions, or, if that’s is not possible, succinct presentations followed by games that can tie back to the lesson learned.
For this step, do not leave out your target audience! Include two or three young people to give their opinion on what would work for a regional training. Listen to what they want to learn and then incorporate what you think they should learn around their suggestions. Before you finalize your agenda, make sure that you have more active time than you think is necessary. This will keep the youth (and the adults!) focused and on task. Keep in mind that even if your audience is quiet, it is difficult to stay truly engaged with a speaker unless there is a lot of audience participation and activity going on. Plan accordingly.
Before you finalize your agenda, have others look it over and give feedback, including your young people! If you are having trouble coming up with active games, you can look here for ideas.
Then, implement your planning! Host your event and focus on the goals you set in step one. Make sure to have fun along the way!
Finally, you want to debrief. Having participants fill out evaluations will help with this step. Sit with your planning team and discuss what worked and what could go better the next time around. Be sure to discuss if your goals were met, and if they weren’t, figure out why. Do you need help debriefing? Check this out to help you.
Hosting a regional training is a great opportunity for groups from across your region to collaborate. With a regional meeting, you’re pulling together people who likely face similar barriers (funding, preemption, etc.), all but assuring the group will share ideas about overcoming these challenges. A regional group is also likely to come up with ideas that will work in your community because each of you has a similar area. Meeting locally, and even statewide is great, but the benefits of meeting regionally should not be passed up.