Overview of Youth Farm Program Registration – (Please read before sending questions to staff)
Youth Farm serves youth year-round in North Minneapolis and the Frogtown and West Side neighborhoods of St. Paul. Young people that live or go to school in one of these neighborhoods are eligible for our programming including during our growing season.
Place matters. By grounding our work in neighborhoods, young people, their families and their neighbors feel greater ownership, accountability and understanding of the powerful role youth play in a community. Strong intergenerational and intercultural relationships among youth, parents, business owners, churches, schools, community centers, and neighbors connects youth and adults in each neighborhood, creating a long-term foundation for social change.
Each area we serve has a unique character, are economically, ethnically, and racially diverse, but each has identified community-building activities centered on youth as a high priority.
Recruitment Focus for all Neighborhoods
The question of “where we do our work” is intentional, similarly so is the question “who has access to our programs.” Through recruitment for our school year and growing season programming, it is our aim for all classes and programming to be a microcosm of the neighborhood itself. Because the content of our work relies on both assets and challenges within a neighborhood, our model is most impactful when the youth participating mirror that neighborhood. We do not aim to only engage or serve “underserved” youth, just as we do not seek to merely sign up the first 40 youth that express interest in Youth Farm. We aim for our programs and their participants to look like, have similar life experiences, struggles, and successes as the neighborhood as a whole. It is this diversity of experiences, cultures, assets, and struggles that allow for transformative youth development work.
Given the above as context, Youth Farm stands by the following core values as a guide to recruitment and youth engagement:
- Youth Farm’s model is only effective when youth are present and engaged. Youth themselves should be the ones expressing interest and participation in both school year and growing season programming. Youth should be able to commit to being engaged in a minimum of 80% of program days (school year and growing season).
- Youth Farm is stronger when youth participate in both the school year and growing season programming. We know (from research and our own experience) that outcomes are greater the more consistent the participation is, and registration should reflect that.
- Youth Farm recruitment is focused on youth that live, go to school, and/or have strong connections to the neighborhood. Our model and curriculum depend on multiple layers of this connection. We do this to support the greatest possible outcomes in individual youth and all Youth Farm participants as a whole.
- We believe in and support our staff’s ability to engage the whole neighborhood and that they are in the best position to recruit and register a cadre of youth that is representative of the whole neighborhood.
- With the proper tools and direction, Youth Farm program staff speak for the organization in their recruitment efforts.
- Youth Farm does not operate on a first come first serve basis – we engage in a more fluid process that is focused on making sure those with the least access to quality youth programming have access to the program and registration. Youth Farm will live out its commitment to creating more access for those with the least access to quality programming.
- All programming should reflect and represent the diversity of the neighborhood, therefore, there is not a specific formula for determining who is registered. As demographics in neighborhoods change, so should who is engaged in Youth Farm. This changes year to year and neighborhood to neighborhood.