At Baytree we believe that young people can make a difference and change society for the better. Spark is our development programme for girls aged 13+, designed to help young women understand and value their identity and their potential. They develop employability skills which empower them to make a positive impact in their communities.
As well as learning teamwork, communication and problem solving as we project plan community events, we work on emotional capabilities such as self-control, empathy and confidence. We ask the questions: What makes me, me? What unique skills do I have? Where am I going in life? How can I make a difference to society using my skills? How can I help others?
We are currently participating in the City Leaders project, thanks to our friends at London Youth (an organisation which links up youth clubs across the city).
It’s a perfect fit for Spark, providing a framework that takes the girls through ‘Team’, ‘Club’, ‘Community’ and ‘City’ phases, each of which challenges them to develop their skills further and contribute to each of the environments they find themselves in. The first stage is about building the team and learning to work together; at ‘Club Leaders’, young people develop and lead a project to improve their youth club; and at the ‘Community Leaders’ stage young people design their own project to have a positive impact on the community. They pitch for the resources and support needed to deliver the project at a Dragon’s Den style ‘Community Challenge’ events with City of London partners. We hope some of our girls might go on to participate in the ‘City Leaders’ stage, which will bring 24 young people from across the capital to take part in a three month leadership programme tailored to their needs and designed to help them learn about power and influence in London, understand themselves and how to work with others better and develop project planning skills through running their own self-led projects.
This is what London Youth have to say about the project:
“London is a fantastic city full of opportunities but for young people growing up here it is not without its challenges. We believe that young people, when given the opportunity and support have the passion, talent and commitment to help us overcome these challenges.
Working in partnership with the City Bridge Trust and the Corporation of London, City Leaders will see 30 teams of young people within youth clubs … supported to lead change in their own lives, clubs and communities. Leadership is a much overused and misunderstood concept. For us it is simple. It is about understanding yourself better and having a vision for a more just future; being passionate enough to bring others with you on that vision; and having the skills to make it a reality.”