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Video postcards from a town called Thriving

First posted at 11:04GMT on 05/05/09 by katebagley

After an intensive 3 months of discovery and an even more intensive month of idea development Reach out is now entering the prototyping phase.  We’ve developed a vision of a ‘youth development service’ based in a fictional town called Thriving. A town where young people and adults take part in loops of doing, sampling and reflective experiences.

Doing experiences are self-designed projects where young people meet a need or goal in the family, community or workplace. A doing experience could be working with an adult to build a shed, running a campaign to reduce plastic bag usage or setting up a bike fixing business.  We think that through doing experiences young people can develop their capabilities and sense of purpose.  Doing experiences, like sampling experiences are followed by a reflective experience, to help young people reflect on what they have learnt and plan for their next loop of experience. 

Sampling experiences aim to expand young people’s sense of what’s possible by introducing them to new people, places and world views.  A narrow sense of possibility was one of the things that surprised us most from our initial research. Over the next few months, in the prototyping phase of our project we will be try out elements of Thriving with our partners in Brighton & Hove and Croydon.  So given the opportunity what would young people choose to ‘do’, who and what would they ‘sample’?

Back in February we worked with 10 young ‘design teams’ from Brighton and Croydon.  We worked with groups of friends and sibling to design experiences and services for people like them;  experiences that would build their adult networks, expose them to difference and help build a strengthen their sense of self.  The three videos below give an indication of what life in Thriving could be like from a young person’s perspective. (Voices in these videos have been changed)

Summer and her siblings imagined a community that has a ‘communitube’ website which links people of different ages through common interest. In their community there is also a network of local coaches who spot talent and link people to local cross age experiences and provide them the opportunities to try out jobs as trainees.  In Summer’s version of Thriving a film team continually documents what’s going on - the film is used later for local promotion and as a reflective tool.

Chocolate talent
‘Chocolate talent’ is a Willy Wonka a scenario built by two 14 and 15 year old friends. Two girls meet in a cornershop buying a candybar with a ticket for a behind the scenes tour to Cadburyworld. In their sampling experience the owner or the chocolate factory teaches them the science of chocolate, recongnises their capability for science and connects them to a trip to Nasa’s laboratory (located in red square Moscow).  At Nada they meet new ‘science people’ and following the trip make an online support group for teens to find their talents. They also get rich from the recipe of the new chocolate bar they invent.

Camp Croydon
In ‘Camp Croydon’ Karim and his friend spot an advertisment on the bus for volunteers -  the free refreshments encourage them to go along and find out more. Meanwhile recluse Leo spots his advert on facebook. Eventually the two end up at Camp Croydon (which is not in Croydon).  The camp turns out to be one big sampling experience, Leo and Karim meet different people, live in different cultures and get away from the city a chance to breath and think about new things.

Over the next few months we’ll be prototyping doing, sampling and reflective experiences in Croydon and Brigton & Hove.  There won’t be trips to Nasa or Africa but we will be brokering young people to people and places that can expand their sense of possibility.  We can’t promise to make kids rich though their new chocolate bar but will set up doing experiences that give young people the opportunity to set up their own enterprises, and feel what it’s like to be valued.  Stay tuned.


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