HOW TO START A GROUP
A Letter to the Leader
I am writing to you because I hear that you have taken on the responsibility of starting a new YCW group. It is an exciting and difficult work that can result in spectacular success but can also result in dismal failure. As with most things, success is much more likely when there is good planning and a good method.
This book aims at outlining a plan to assist you in the task of initiating a new group. You will note that we have divided up the work of initiation into five steps. Each of these steps has concrete aims and concrete action to be taken. At the end of the process the new group should be an independent, active member movement of the YCW.
However, there is a long journey and much work to be done before this is achieved. My own belief is that the degree of success achieved will depend largely on how well you and your initiation team carry out your work. That is why I would like to say right now, at the beginning, that it is worthwhile to spend all the time necessary to prepare before you begin to bring young workers together. YCW has many experiences that we can learn from.
• A YCW leader tried to start a group in a hurry. Only a very few young workers joined. The group was too small and too insecure and so had difficulties in achieving success.
• A YCW leader tried to start a group alone. She was unable to do the preparation and follow up work well – and there was no one to evaluate and plan with. The result was that the new group lost its way and the members lost heart.
• A YCW leader began enthusiastically to contact young workers to ask them if they would like to join a new group. People were interested but the weeks went by and there was no follow up. When, finally, the leader was ready to start the meetings, he found that the young workers were no longer interested.
In this book we have tried to set out a method to assist leaders in planning and carrying out the Initiation of YCW groups. It is not an easy task. We hope that it will be of use to leaders with very different experiences.
Some will be long term leaders of the YCW, while others will be aiming at starting their first group. Some will come from different cultures and languages – where English will be very much a second language. Some will have little experience in reading books.
So what should be included in such a plan? How detailed should it be? We tried to solve the problem by including.
• An outline of the steps of the journey to initiate a YCW group.
• A summary of the main works to be done in each of these steps.
• Resources that the initiating team may find useful as further reading, to deepen their understanding, of the work of the YCW.
The YCW should be a home for young workers, – it should be their community – a community that supports, encourages and challenges them. It should be a place where they can be themselves and where they can celebrate their lives and have fun. It should never be run by too rigid a method. The good leader will have a clear method but will be open to adapt to what is happening in the group.