Reply To: Recruiting, training, retaining, and managing teen leaders

Showcase Forums Teen Science Cafe Workshop Discussion 2015 Recruiting, training, retaining, and managing teen leaders Reply To: Recruiting, training, retaining, and managing teen leaders

Lynn Cross

The Raleigh NC group of teen leaders is working well together and finally performing the duties needed to host a successful cafe. We’re finally feeling good about our group! We are in our 3rd year of hosting cafes and the output from our group has varied widely over the years.

Some things that have lead to our success with our Cafe Coordinators:
1. Use an application to select students. – Applications cut out students that have a fleeting interest and gives students a chance to say WHY they are interested in being a part of your group. When students feel there is a competitive process and they are specifically selected they will give you more time and effort.

2. Size matters – We have 12 students in our Cafe Coordinator group. We’ve had as many as 20, but that is too many. This is the right group size for us. It allows for a diverse group but is manageable.

3. Set expectations early. – We send a list of meeting dates and cafe dates to students who are selected. We have them sign a pledge that they will attend 90% of meetings and 90% of cafes. In August we send out the list of meeting dates and have them mark their calendars. Copy parents on this email. This way there are no surprises as the school year wears on.

4. Have regular meetings. – We meet four hours per month to conduct cafe planning (2 Wednesdays per month, from 4-6pm). We invite speakers to attend one of these meetings and work out event logistics (assign roles for cafe, work on social media posts, create activities, discuss raffles/prizes, etc.). We certainly fill our time together! Plus, we know the progress of tasks and can send follow-up emails with smaller tasks, if needed. Face time with the kids is KEY!

5. We have committees – Students choose which committee they would like to work in and have specific tasks. We change up the committee assignments half way through the year. This broadens students skills and keeps things fresh.

If you have questions or want more details please contact me at