In BeLonG To we train young people in various ways to become youth leaders. We call these young people youth facilitators.
Each year in September we ask the young people who attend our services if they would like to apply to be a facilitator, and those who want to be put forward we ask to complete a simple application form. These forms are read by the youth work team and those who are deemed suitable for the position (based on behaviour and attendance in the groups) are called to attend an interactive interview. These interviews are informal, and look at the young persons ability to lead, interact with others, communicate, and listen. From this interview the new group of facilitators is chosen to work along side the existing facilitators chosen last year.
Facilitators form part of the way the youth work team does its work. We could not run some of the groups without facilitators. The youth workers work with the facilitators to allow them to build up their knowledge of a subject or situation, and the facilitators under the supervision of the youth workers then in turn work with the groups we run, so that the youth leaders are working directly with young people. This is called peer education, and it’s proven to be the best way for young people to learn.
On a week by week basis facilitators work with young people in the main Sunday group. They work on a rota so two or three of them will be on duty each Sunday. They present the news to the group, devise an ice breaker involving all young people, welcome new people into the group, and then lead the group in whatever activity is planned for that day. Facilitators also work with the youth workers in delivering training to other youth services, speaking at youth work events and advocating for rights for young LGBT people.