Community-Wide Programming Initiative Inspires Teen-Focused Discussions
On April 3rd, a group of teenagers gathered together at Pearland City Hall to discuss a topic valuable to them and many other young adults: opportunity. The initial conversation lead to an additional gathering on May 1st to further develop the initiative and welcome additional organizations and teens to the discussion.
The meeting between the five young adults and four local organizations was inspired by the City’s Community-Wide Programming Initiative, a forum where local organizations share, communicate, and collaborate recreational programming and enrichment opportunities to community members.
Last month’s teen-focused discussion was prompted by the Initiative’s previous meeting, in which organizations vocalized challenges in developing and executing teen-targeted programming.
“A voice is only so loud if no one is listening,” said Mary Kate Ward, the City’s Youth Development Coordinator, in advocating for teen participation.
As a result, teen representatives were asked to provide greater perspective on their needs, preferences, and key service areas and areas of interest.
The discussion found that teenagers primarily look for a safe and welcoming space built on trust and already-developed relationships with their peers. Teens are skeptical to participate in activities where they do not already have existing relationships. In participating with their friends and peers, and meeting new friends and peers, they hope to expand their network while also adding to their personal growth and achievements.
The Teen Summit
The initial meeting also prompted for the creation of a platform for collaboration and activation for Pearland teens in clubs and organizations, though inclusive of teens who may not participate in clubs and organizations. The platform was dubbed a “Teen Summit.”
The Summit would be developed and led through collaborative efforts between teen leadership and organizational support. Bridging gaps and eliminating obstacles such as competition, social pressures, and socioeconomic barriers, the Teen Summit would focus on skill building, leadership, mentorship, and topics important to youth in order to catalyze teen success beyond high school.
In the May meeting, the Community-Wide Programming Initiative scheduled follow-up meetings to establish framework and a vision for the Initiative, identify and invite other key organizations, and identify additional teens to join in the leadership of the initiative.
About Community-Wide Programming Initiative
Community-Wide Programming meetings were developed by the Recreation Programs division of the City of Pearland Parks & Recreation Department. These meetings were created to provide a forum for local organizations to share, collaborate, and communicate recreational programming and services they provide. Insight provided at these meetings aid in identifying programming strengths, areas of improvement, and needs within the community. Attendees to Community-Wide Programming meetings include the City of Pearland Parks & Recreation and Communications departments, Tom Reid and Westside libraries, Vic Coppinger Family YMCA, Pearland ISD RISE Mentoring, and local teens.