Finding Young People

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There are plenty of young people out there, but finding the ones who want to come to a dialogue event isn’t always straightforward. You need to carefully consider how you go about recruiting as this will have the biggest impact on how your event runs.
Firstly you need to make sure your event is youth friendly! It sounds obvious, but however you go about the dialogue, remember these people are youths and not university professors! If your event is appealing then young people will want to come. This might mean that as part of your event you run some fun social element such as 10 pin bowling or ice-skating.

One of the challenges of recruitment is that the Christian community and the Muslim community in the UK are very different in terms of youth provision. For a variety of reasons the church has had well resourced Youthwork happening in the UK since early in the 20th Century. There are currently more full time youth workers employed by churches than anyone else (including local authorities). Many churches have youth groups run by either full time workers with helpers or are completely volunteer led. Youth work is a much newer and smaller phenomenon amongst the Muslim community in the UK. Whilst the number of Muslim youth workers is growing there are still far fewer than Christians and few mosques have youth groups that bear any resemblance to church groups.

However, there are many schools in the UK where the vast majority of pupils are Muslim often with teachers concerned about community cohesion and keen for the pupils to have good engagement with young people of different faiths. There are, in contrast, very few schools with large numbers of Christian pupils. Whilst linking schools can be a good and fruitful project it often ends up being Muslims meeting secular or very nominally Christian pupils.

Recruitment can work by working through schools for the Muslim pupils and churches for the Christians. Whilst this makes it challenging to produce a timetable appealing to both groups it can work well. One solution is to combine creative and constructive discussion such as the MYX outlines [link to outlines] along with social activities such as sports activities or a pizza evening.

You can go through schools, churches, mosques and other youth groups. Many young people wouldn’t want to come alone so you might like to come as a group, so inviting a church youth to meet with Muslim people from a school. This works so long as they want be there, and not because they were dragged by their teacher! Another good way to recruit young people is to include them in the planning, this way they are more likely to attend and bring others.

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