Parks and Recreation + Youth Service

4.16.15 5 Reasons Parks and Rec Should Launch a YVC

Are you looking to diversify your Parks programming? Do you find that your programming lacks engaging options for teens? Do you need more volunteers to help beautify your parks? Launching a youth service program is a great way to fill those needs and others.

The National Recreation and Park Association published an article recently in their magazine outlining a few of the benefits to Parks and Recreation departments hosting youth service programs. We love to hear about those benefits, plus we have five other reasons we think your program could benefit from incorporating youth service:

1. Opportunities for Youth:

Running a youth service program creates an opportunity for youth who may not be interested in sports or other common programs without requiring a large staff, purchase of curriculum or expensive equipment.

2. Skill-Building:

Service teaches youth how to plan projects, arrive on time, work towards a goal and fine-tune strategies through reflection, service-learning activities and experiential work in the field. Studies show that these processes prepare youth (and their resumes) for higher education, the local workforce and life as engaged adult citizens and voters.

3. Help Your Parks:

What could your department get done with a group of trained, passionate youth volunteers? Although youth service groups should work on all kinds of projects throughout their community, one of those projects can be volunteering at parks. Whether you need extra hands to line up entries in a parade, plant butterfly bushes at the park, monitor geo-caches or just pick up trash in a parking lot, you can count on an organized team of youth volunteers to turn up and get it done. Service projects helping parks are a great component to a well-rounded youth service program including serving both public agencies and private nonprofits.

4. Increased Eligibility for Funding:

Your department and city also become eligible for grants and additional funding streams such as programming dollars for providing youth leadership opportunities and workforce development.

5. Fill a Need:

Many students are required to complete service hours either from outside organizations like National Honor Society, Key Club and church groups or from school graduation requirements. Capitalize on this need by offering a youth service program through Parks and Recreation to turn volunteers into lifelong parks supporters.

Ready to learn more?

Partnering with Youth Volunteer Corps makes it easy to launch a youth service program in your community. We have nearly 30 years of experience creating high-quality youth service opportunities in communities ranging from rural to urban across North America. We would love to talk with you about what a youth service program could look like in your community. Email Taylor today to learn more.