The “Challenge” is designed as an introduction to volunteering and is undertaken as part of a team. It is a standalone award but young people may participate in more than one challenge.
The idea behind the Challenge is a taster session to give young people who have never volunteered before an opportunity to experience volunteering with their friends or classmates and find out more about the opportunities it can offer. The emphasis is on fun activities that have genuine community benefit.
The “Challenge” may be organised by the young people themselves with support from an adult enabler* or they can opt in to a prearranged session e.g. assisting at a local fun run or fundraising event, joining a prearranged conservation session.
Young people will be encouraged and supported to develop their own challenges by an adult enabler taking into account the abilities of the participants. The enablers assist the young people to identify local issues they would like to tackle, think up realistic solutions then guide them through planning their challenge. This planning process will provide enablers with an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and generate discussion about issues and problems affecting the local community. A toolkit has been developed to assist participants and enablers to design their challenge – see How to Organise a Challenge here.
By introducing volunteering at this early stage and involving young people in developing and planning their own ideas for the challenge, it is envisaged that young people will be encouraged to continue to volunteer and be positively engaged in their local community. Tackling local issues will foster respect for others living in the area as well the amenities and facilities provided. For example, a group planting saplings to assist the local inbloom project will experience working with older volunteers and will be less likely to damage trees they planted. Older volunteers and community groups will view young people as contributors rather than “trouble.”
Organisations should contact Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian to register a local Challenge.
* Adult enablers may include: Teachers, youth workers, community development staff, outreach workers, community wardens, police, fire & rescue services, countryside rangers and other community partners.