14 Apr “Challenging” our Youth to Stay Engaged

If you’ve got a teenager at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, you understand how hard it can be to keep them engaged, keep their spirits up and keep them learning. What about if you had 100 adolescents at home during this pandemic? What if they were isolated, not able to see friends or family, in an environment that was not their own home? Sounds like quite the challenge, right?

Our team of Support Services staff, taking care of everything from recreation to educational assistance, independent living skills and more, works year-round to ensure there are activities and tasks designed to educate and engage our residents. Never have these activities been more important than now. So, under the guidance of our Recreation Coordinator, the YOC has just started their “Spring Challenge.” This 7-week challenge began on March 30th and has dozens of activities designed to promote group work, collaboration, creative thinking, problem-solving, taking initiative and selfless giving.

With one main weekly challenge, and several mini-challenges throughout the week, residents work together to achieve their goals, as well as compete against other resident groups across our campus. Successful completion of the various challenges results in an accrual of points. The group with the most points at the end of each week, wins a prize ranging from a special meal from an off-campus restaurant (obviously brought in via delivery or take out) or credits to use in our on-campus resident shop, Pillar Point.

So far, the program has been a tremendous success with resident morale on the upswing, cooperation and collaboration seeing an improvement, and offering a communal task and goal for all the kids on campus. These are unprecedented times, especially for our kids—and your kids too! Making sure to take the time to create some structured goals with resulting rewards can help keep them engaged and excited!

A hat’s off to our recreation department at the YOC for their creative thinking, detailed planning, and dedicated execution of such a thoughtful plan!

Interested in using this idea for your own kids? Click here for a downloadable PDF of our Spring Challenge plan, adapted for kids/sibling groups at home.