Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story

How Do You Get Teens Involved?

A recent poll reports that over 40% of people became volunteers after they were asked to join. But does the same rule apply to teens? Is there another way to connect with today’s youth and engage them in their school and community activities? How do we get teens involved?

In this episode of Parental Guidance, we’ll discuss how to get teens involved, both young men and young women, and help you find the most successful way to approach them.

“The key is not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say it.”

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This question about getting teens involved in school and/or community activities is an interesting question that doesn’t get asked too often. Here are three ways to get any gender more involved, women or men:

1. Talk to teens about what they currently care about, not what they should eventually care about! It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it.

Here is how a teacher, Mrs. Sadowski, invited me to join DECA: She said, “You should join. It’s an easy class, you get out of school an hour early. There are girls and there are cookies.”

She either somehow knew or simply got lucky in her approach. And it worked because she talked to me about DECA from the vantage point of what I cared about at that time, not what I should care about.

The key here is to talk to teens about what they currently care about, and then lead them to what they should care about.

2. Identify grand ambassadors and empower them. Identify a few guys and gals who are currently involved and talk to them about the situation, and the challenge.

Ask them what they think and what they believe the problem is. Once they help you identify and see what the problem is, then ask them to recruit their friends to get them involved. They are your grand ambassadors. Ultimately these guys who are currently involved will give you a practical goldmine of insight into what’s going on and help you recruit others.

3. Make sure you’re fishing in proven waters. Think about where to find your ideal leaders: where are the sort of young men and women hanging out who would be a natural fit for your organization? Where should you be spending your valuable time and energy, perhaps even money, recruiting them?

Reverse engineer the situation and think about which students benefit and fit with your group, and who you benefit from having in your program.

Don’t try to get everybody involved, it’s a waste of your time. Identify the small pocket of kids who would be a brilliant fit for you, then spend your time, energy and efforts recruiting those kids.


COURSE: A Year of Awesomeness

SUBMIT A QUESTION: Ask Josh Your Question


  • In your community are the guys or ladies more involved?
  • Why do you think some teens are involved and some are not?
  • What tactics have you tried that have been successful and what tactics have failed miserably in getting teens involved?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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