When Kaleidoscope began the process of imagining what it's next home would be, we started with a simple question: what would the youth do?
Kaleidoscope strives to be youth led in all aspects of its work, from types of programming to the design of the spaces in which the programming takes paces. So when it came time to find a new home, youth participants were consulted early in the process.
"We're proud of the fact that youth participants have often felt comfortable enough with staff to come to us with their ideas, needs, and desires," said Michelle Jordan, Center Program Coordinator. "But we also asked the question directly and multiple times. What do you want to see in the next KYC? What does your dream KYC look like?"
Youth shared a number of ideas, the most oft-repeated of which was that they wanted a new KYC that was just as comfortable and home-like as the space the organization had called home for ten years. Youth participants then brought their ideas to life in a beautiful KYC Dream House collage.
"We are so proud of the fact that many of the details in the Dream House are a reality in our new facility," said Amy Eldridge, Executive Director. "We might not have a pool, but we do have bright colors, a stage, and a dedicated arts space. This is truly the space we all dreamed about."
Youth-centered design of youth spaces is essential for maximum engagement and utilization of those spaces. Libraries, schools, and even courts have all recognized the importance of youth-centered design. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) published guidelines for teen library spaces in 2012. The guidelines recognize that "[t]eens experience rapid physical, emotional and social changes while developing their intellectual capabilities and personal values, understanding and accepting their sexuality, and identifying their educational and occupational options."
If you are interested in creating a teen-centered space in your home, your church, or anywhere else, we offer the following ten tips adapted from YALSA Guideline for Physical Space 2.0:
KYC Youth and Staff. Please feel free to comment and recommend topics for future posts. Youth posts are anonymous due to the confidentiality of the Center.