by Charissa de La Sirra
Adding youth activities to an event can be relatively easy and provides another pool of people, who want to come to your event.
Many activities already have a youth component to them. Archery and thrown weapons can include young people. Rapier can add a special time, with the appropriate marshals, who can do a young rapier session. Youth combat can be run on the same field as heavy combat in the 8 to 11 time period, since heavy fighting tends to start late. Many teachers of adult classes can easily handle young people, just ask.
The two primary needs of running official youth activities is a location and a youth activities coordinator.
The location should be central, so that parents can easily watch the youth activities while doing other things. At an indoor event, we have used the stage of a big gym. At an outdoor event, we have set up an awning, next to the tent where adult classes are held. If a feast hall is not used during the day, that can be a good place for youth activities. A parent can then work in the kitchen, yet still easily check on young people frequently.
It is easiest to recruit a parent as youth activities coordinator. Remember you are not restricted to your local area for staffing. A parent, who is likely to come to your event and who is likely to be primarily watching young people anyway, is prime candidate for your recruitment. The coordinator is then responsible for filling time slots with activities, with the required two adults present. The coordinator is also responsible for providing and ensuring that official youth activities form is used. A few good activities is just great, do not provide all day coverage. All day coverage implies daycare and we are not in the daycare business. Parents seeking daycare arrangements should make those arrangements privately. Tell those parents to make requests on the NS-Youth email list for babysitting or cooperative parent care.
Autocrats looking for a youth activity coodinator may also send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org , so that request may be posted on the NS-Youth email list.
Do take care that activities that might be interesting to youth happen at different times. And yes, there have been events where all youth activities happened in the same hour.
Volunteering can also be improved by adding youth activities, since it will expand the pool of volunteers available to you. Take a look at your volunteering needs to identify where parent/young person sets could work. For example, a parent could work at gate, with a crib next to the table. I did a security shift at WW, walking a dog, with two young people. It was way more fun that way. Perhaps your head server has a knack for handling young people, so you could put a note under your request for servers, that young people are most welcome. Enable sets of young people to work as a team where otherwise you might use one adult, like manning the information booth.