By Fawzy Manaa
So, last time, I sort of left everyone hanging (On purpose)… “Sure, problems again – Great! What are you proposing?” I got asked on multiple occasions. The reality is that we don’t have a tested successful recipe to brag about yet. Also, I want to put it out there are many amazing people involved in this project, and we’re in the early stages. You’ll get to hear from some of them through the next weeks and months insha’Allah and get a much better idea of where we’re headed as we progress through implementation.
Here is what we have though, besides the human capital and the new space at this point: Much needed inspiration! This inspiration we’re hoping – after the help of Allah (swt) – will guide us towards positive transformation of how we do Muslim youth work.
The videos below are by no means comprehensive of all the ideas being thrown around at this stage, but they capture some of the key elements – Each of them will be detailed in future blog entries insha’Allah.
The Case for Space:
We’re creating a space that our youth and youth workers feel like they own. We will be empowering them to help design, paint, and even name the space. Further, we’re designing the space to change behaviours of learning and development (whether spiritual, technical, …). This includes room for interactive activities workshops, work spaces, displays, expression, and more…
Finding the Spark – Room for Hanging Out and Messing Around:
We want to flip the development model upside down – do much less talking at youth and much more intrinsic development, where youth get to experiment with “things” in a safe environment, join in even if they are not “ready”, understand themselves and their strengths better, ask all the questions they have and get answers without being judged, and simply try things out (when it comes to applying their learnings).
While they’re doing all of that, our youth workers would act as mentors, not event organizers. The mentors would help, cheer, support, direct, and connect.
We’ll be able to deliver on this – by God’s will – since the space’s primary focus is youth development, not prayer congregation.
Tell Me and I Forget, Involve Me and I Learn:
One can listen to a lecture about how great the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were in their leadership at such a young age, then go home and forget all about it. The alternative is to provide an opportunity for youth to not just attend events, but actually execute on projects based on community needs and the skill pool available. This will provide them with an unforgettable, ever lasting leadership experience, and with the right level of mentorship, the spiritual/ religious development will also still be top of mind as well.
If you want to learn more or interested in helping out with this project, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.