Adventure Kit is designed to engage youth in changing a piece of the public world, discovering the possibilities of democratic citizenship and building a commitment to taking action in new and exciting ways.
Public Adventures for Youth Audience
Adapting Public Adventures for Younger Audiences:
Public Adventures is designed for youth ages 12-14. You will find it easily adaptable to both younger and older audiences. Using the information below, you can use Public Adventures with youth as young as eight.
Interaction with other people, both within the youth’s own group and with a larger public world, is what makes Public Adventures a meaningful learning experience. This is not a curriculum that can be accomplished by one person independent of others. Although a community service project is often the resulting action of using the Public Adventures process, the emphasis is placed on the process that brings about that action, not just the action itself. Guiding youth through the critically important process of group planning is the cornerstone of this citizenship curriculum. There is a unique balance you must strike between taking the time to really embrace the concepts, and not taking so long the project loses its momentum. If you pursue a project the youth choose, you are going to be able to take more time, because they will have a greater investment and more motivation.
The suggestions below can help you engage younger audiences in “Public Adventuring” with greater success
Identifying the Issues:
- Help youth bridge between concrete and abstract concepts using compare and contrast.
- Respect each youth’s vision no matter how imaginative.
- Discuss the difference between realistic and make-believe goals.
- Ask them to explain in concrete terms the change they want to see.
- Use the Issues wheel located on the Public Adventures website to show how abstract issues evolve into concrete activities.
- Help them group similar issues together.
- Identify materials to build their chosen subject matter knowledge base. Between sessions find reading materials about the different issues.
- With younger participants, the Public Adventures passport becomes very important. It provides reinforcement for each step. There are a variety of passport stamps available online.
- It’s necessary to celebrate smaller achievements along the way to the final goal; particularly if that goal is more than a week away.
- Reflect on small personal victories
- Without underestimating their abilities, make sure they choose a goal that they can reach.
Talking to “Locals”:
- Youth may not be comfortable addressing adults in person at a younger age.
- Capitalize on the skills of those youth who can.
- Have the less “interpersonally inclined” students write letters, make posters, etc.
- Have them role-play with other youth and adults.
- Pave the way: You might want to let the community constituents know that the youth will be calling/ approaching them in advance. In these situations you can also provide the constituent with appropriate questions to ask the youth.
- Be there in case they need you.
Planning the Itinerary:
- Delegate to Youth. Identify tasks you would be inclined to do yourself that a young person can do, but might take longer to do. Give them the time. Often we figure we can make the phone calls, buy the supplies, make the arrangements to save time. These are nuts-and-bolts activities that youth need to learn about in order to become effective “do-ers.” If you are tempted to do all the busy work yourself, consider using Step 5 earlier. Include the youth in creating the Action Plan.
- Reinforce that it is a group effort, minimize individual failure.
If your group has created a demonstration or display as a part of their project, it could very easily be entered into your local fair. You might also want to consider having the projects judged on a few other categories as this sample score card demonstrates.
If you are interested in utilizing current technologies to explore community mapping check out the following resources:
GPS Providers and Opportunities
Global Positioning Satellite Receivers have become affordable and prevalent in our society. There are many activities for youth related to the operation of a GPS receiver, including "geo-caching," which is a sort of electronic treasure hunt.
The Guide’s Handbook is designed to engage youth in changing piece of public world, discovering possibilities of democratic citizenship and building commitment to taking action in new and exciting ways.
Youth Partnership and Participation by Australian Youth Foundation
Meeting Educational Standards with Public Adventures
Public Adventures is designed to provide learning opportunities and meet educational standards in civics, writing, and communication. How much they do often depends on the “tour guide’s” expectations.
Youth spend a great deal of time in Public Adventures developing a wide variety of communication skills. There are opportunities to:
- Engage in Group Discussion and Decision Making
- Analyze media
- Create Petitions, Conduct Surveys
- Role Play
- Write Letters to Public Stakeholders
The Public Adventures Kit is designed to support project journaling, and each step has at least four process related questions to help youth reflect on their experiences.
- “Why is it important that people take part in making decisions that affect their lives?”
- “What was hardest about choosing a goal and a project?”
- “What have you learned about making assumptions about people?”
- “What skills do the other members in your group have to contribute?”
The Public Adventures curriculum encourages active citizenship. Active citizenship is making change in the community because we want to and we can. It is a great way to reveal to young people the power of democratic society.
Other Educational Standards
Because of the flexibility youth have in pursuing projects they are passionate about, the opportunities for associated learning are really as broad as their interests. Here’s an example of how Math standards could come into play: Youth are concerned about the homeless in their town. Above and beyond gathering food for a food bank, youth might want to do a population count through local shelters. They could compare numbers of homeless to the amount of food donated, or compare the number of homeless who seek shelter services to the number counted. They could analyze the nutritional information of the primary staple of shelter diets. With this information in hands they could petition particular food producers and suppliers to donate specific types of food.