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A youth coordinator is someone who works on programs addressing the needs of the young people. Youth coordinators are employed by various organizations, including regional and local government and private groups. People who choose this career usually have a desire to help young people in need. They may work to improve kids' access to a safe place to hang out, provide academic tutoring, be a mentor, or assist with any other needs in the community, particularly one that is struggling. As with many jobs and careers, the required experience, skills, and education level required to obtain employment will vary depending upon the needs of the organization and the requirements of that position.
Youth coordinators are generally responsible for designing, implementing, and/or maintaining programs that reflect the needs and interests of the youth in a particular community. These could include sports programs, cultural programs, and academic support or tutoring. If a program doesn’t already exist, the youth coordinator may to go out into the community to determine what the needs are, prepare a plan that will address those needs, and, often, be the one to manage the fundraising to make the program a reality.
To determine the needs for youth in a community, a youth coordinator can speak with parents; organizations that represent youths, such as schools and afterschool programs; and the young people themselves. Once the program is in place, the youth coordinator will continue to oversee it. He or she is likely to supervise the staff, manage the distribution of resources or services, and maintain communication with the community to assess the program’s effectiveness and gauge the need for any improvements.
Given the amount of coordination needed in a typical youth coordinator position, the person doing this job should have strong organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability to manage his or her time well. Youth coordinators are often minimally supervised by the heads of organizations, and thus are expected to work well on their own and with their team. Another key skill set for a youth coordinator is being a good problem solver who has knowledge about the regulations and procedures for working with youth in the community. Good administrative skills, including computer skills, are often needed to manage all of the information involved in setting up and maintaining a community-wide organization.
Although much of the job will involve working with community organizations and adults in the area, the youth coordinator will need to by comfortable working directly with young people. This is where basic counseling skills are also important. Depending on the area, young people in need of youth organizations may be dealing with difficult issues such as crime or poverty, so being able to communicate with them is key to understanding their needs better.
The required education level for a youth coordinator will vary depending upon the position. Many youth coordinator jobs will require a bachelor’s degree in social work or medical or health education. Degrees in psychology or education, and some experience with counseling, may also be required. Some programs will require a master’s degree and/or some level of work experience in one of these fields.