People don’t participate or volunteer for nothing – they want to get something out of it.

So, it is important to list all different reasons why you possibly would volunteer or participate in a mixed-ability project. And why not list the reasons that would keep you from volunteering…

You can ask the same from the other people involved or participating in your project. This gives you valuable information on how to keep people on board the project.

People are often looking for fun, for social contacts, to see/learn new things, to be creative, to challenge themselves,… So as a youth worker you need to keep an eye on whether everybody is getting what they want to get out of it. The best way to ensure the succes of the project is to base it on the young people’s interests and preferences of ways of working.

If people are looking for fun and social gatherings, it is important to create space for this. A minimum of preparation work needs to be done together, but there should also be time for leisure activities and hanging around together: e.g. going to the movies together, organising a (fund-raising) party etc. You can plan these regularly to keep the momentum – without forcing people to have fun of course…

If people want to challenge themselves, it is best to give them tasks in the preparation with increasing difficulty, nevertheless with a sort of safety net in case they don’t feel up to it. It is important to have the right person on the right tasks. If some young people are very creative (and want to do creative stuff), they should get the more creative tasks (making a newspaper about the exchange, developing a logo,…) but other people are probably happy to stay out of the spotlight and do the work behind the scenes. ”

Bibliography: No Barriers, No Borders. Salto-Youth Inclusion Resource Centre