If you are planning to start a youth group, this is a great opportunity to experiment with the 5th Space. How does one co-create a 5th Space? Is it like any other youth resource centre?
There are some key principes that our research and work with the youth from the last 20 years has helped us list out. These principles are listed out below and for a youth facilitator to understand what it takes to design a 5th Space. If you think you have more ideas on principles for working with young people, do get in touch with us! This isn’t etched on stone, and will be an ever evolving list.
IS IT THEIR SPACE?
To build ownership for this space and its vision, it needs to be co-created in partnership with young people. This helps young people be proactive in the space in initiating learning, instead of being a mere audience.
IT ENCOURAGES TRUST IN A FUN, JOYFUL, TRANSFORMATORY WAY
The culture of the 5th Space needs to attract young people by encouraging trust, openness and by creating opportunities for young people to take on leadership roles, so they can experiment without fear, make mistakes, and learn in the presence of experienced facilitators and supportive peers.
IT INITIATES LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE
In the 5th Space, trained facilitators support young people to reflect and act. Action alone is not enough to learn about the self and the world. Reflection before and after the process is essential for effective learning.
IT FACILITATES SELF EXPLORATION
The 5th Space should take young people through an understanding from what they know to what they don’t – exploring to understand themselves better by reflecting on questions like: How deeply do they relate to others? To what extent is their journey influenced by their destination? How well do they know themselves? How well equipped are they to undertake their journey? How well informed is their worldview?
IT FOREGROUNDS THE NOW, NOT THE FUTURE
Instead of focusing on the future and preparing young people to become tomorrow’s leaders, the 5th Space creates opportunities for young people to act today in the here and now.
IT IS A HANGOUT ZONE BEYOND BORDERS
The 5th Space provides young people with opportunities to connect with peers from diverse background that they can understand different perspectives, develop their own opinions and build skills to engage with issues they feel deeply about.
TRACKING SELF DEVELOPMENT
The 5th Space also enables young people to track and assess their own progress and also diagnose areas of potential change and self transformation.
IT ORGANICALLY RENEWS THE SPACE BACK IN THEIR OWN LIVES
The 5th Space spawns more of it kinds by inspiring others to adopt these principles back in the other four spaces. It becomes a self facilitated space where they constantly let the world consciously transform them as a person.
IT IS A SENSITIVE SPACE
The 5th Space is sensitive to their feelings and not just the volunteering work they do. It hence deals with the whole young person where feelings, relationships and opinions—nothing is sidelined.