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Motivation as a way to youth participation in organisations

A presentation done at the NEXT STEP study session by Dennis Jim Frederiksen. The Study session was organised by European Fellowship and FIMCAP in cooperation with the Council of Europe

Dennis Jim Frederiksen

on 25 February 2016

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Transcript of Motivation as a way to youth participation in organisations

What is
Youth Participation?

“Participation and active citizenship is about having the right, the means, the space and the opportunity and where necessary the support to participate in and influence decisions and engage in actions and activities so as to contribute to building a better society.”
Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003), p. 7
Motivation as a way to youth participation in organisations
Dennis Jim Frederiksen NEXT STEP 2012
Member of FDF International
Local group leader for 9-11 year old kids

Works at Aalborg University and teaches on MA in Interpersonal Communiation in Organisations
(Yep, same thing :-)
Chairman since 2009
Secretary 2006-2009
Organised and fundraised a number of international training courses and other activities
MA in Interpersonal Communiation in Organisations
Working on phd project application on the potential of volunteer work as a recovery experience from work-related stress (crossed fingers are appreciated)
Engage in actions and activities
Participate in and influence decisions
Learning about seeking influence in local political institution from seeking that same type of political influence in a democratic youth organisation
Demand-control model
The percieved demands a task or a project require from a person
The level of control (influence) the person has on how to solve tasks
A lot to do, but little control of e.g. how or when
High level of illness (eventually)
Too many or too complex tasks
Low motivation
Robert A. Karasek, 1979
Not a lot to do, and no freedom in deciding how to do it.
Low stress levels but also low development
A relaxed situation with not too many task
and lots of freedom in how to work with them
Quite a lot of things to do
Lots of influence and freedom
in how to work.
Strong personal development, but also
drains ressources and energy.
Could be seen as most motivating of all
Somewhat motivating
Not a motivating situation
What is percieved as a high level of demand and control, depends a lot on the person.
Just taking part in the activities of a youth organisation because it's fun. Maybe already here deciding where the summer camp goes.
Volunteering in a youth organisation becase I see needs in my local community I wish to fullfil
Learning to seek influence over decisions which affect me by e.g. starting to organise activities myself
Actively creating activities in local society which (intentionally) fulfills some needs of me and my friends
Volunteering in a youth organisation becase I want to give some of the good experiences I had back to others in the community
Voting for local elections
Becoming a candidate for elections, seeking direct influence in local political bodies
Engaging in youth parliaments etc.
Dennis' overly simplified model of
the relation to young people and youth work
Becoming a member of a political (youth) organisation
Why is Youth Participation in NGOs important to the Council of Europe?
Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003), p. 25
“ A vibrant, independent and active non-governmental sector is an essential element of any truly democratic society. (...) Participation in the democratic life of any country, region or locality is about more than voting every few years.
That is why participation in NGOs and political parties is so important, because they help citizens to be involved in, and influence, decisions and actions on an ongoing basis. Therefore it is crucial that young people are encouraged and supported to participate in associative life in their communities.”
Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003), p. 24
“I like working on projects where I don’t immediately have the answer to how I will solve a problem.

I have the freedom to try come up with any kind of solution, and that makes it a lot of fun.”
Self-determination theory
Deci & Ryan, 2000 and Mojza, Sonnentag, & Bornemann, 2011
Motivation factors
The theory suggest that three basic psychological needs are important for human growth, integrity and well-being.
The desire to feel competent and effective
"It is a good day when things just add up, I manage to do all the stuff I planned to do, and I am happy with the results."
The desire to feel connected to others, to love and care, and to be loved and cared for
Doing a project is not just about working on solving challenges and tasks, it is important to remember social aspects.
"Those moments of spontanious laughter with my friends is the best thing about my youth organisation. I get to spend time with these great people every week!"
–The desire to self-organise experience and behaviour
- Use your own ideas according to what you like doing
(similar to control aspect of demand-control)
"I get a nice feeling of freedom, when it is up to me to decide how to do a project or a task - It really motivates me to work hard on the project"
Psychological Detachment
Mojza et al., 2011
Mastery Experiences
"When I am out in the middle of a forest with a group of kids, the busy and stressful times I have at work suddenly seem very far away. I can’t check my e-mail and don’t pick up my phone. It is a time where I can just enjoy myself and the company of others in the moment."
The feeling of being mentally away from the work/studying situation and of ‘switching off’ from work or studies. It happens when you mentally immerse yourself fully in an activity which is somehow different from your job or study activities.
These are experiences that arise during learning or when successfully meeting challenges. When a person feels they successfully finished a task, they experience mastery, and perhaps also increased skills which can be used for solving future problems.
"Less than 24 hours before the participants would arrive from all over Europe, we discovered that due to a misunderstanding the training centre had been booked by someone else, so we had no place for our participants to stay. This was a bit of a shock to us, but after a good 20 minutes of rechecking and panic, we couldn’t help but to laugh at how these things just happen sometimes, and started working on a solution. After a couple of hours we had almost everything worked out, and even though it did cause some disturbances during the training course, we were really happy and felt good about ourselves for having found a solution so quickly."
The activity should match the capacities, the skills of the young people and adapt the project accordingly to obtain a sequence of little achievements and successes.
This links to mastery experiences and competence again
- The activity should be challenging, as mentioned in demands and mastery experiences
- It should entice them to try it and jump on board expanding their borders.
- The challenge, however, should not look insurmountable as this makes them drop out or, if they should fail, cause frustration
Last but not least, the young people should feel connected to the activity. The activity should be adapted and compatible to the world the young people live in.
Jans and De Backer (2001)
T-kit 8 - Social Inclusion
Council of Europe
Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003)
It's just this. Fun. Laughing. Remember it!
Having fun is cool. Have you tried it?
Even the Council of Europe likes it.
It's true.
Mojza et al., 2011 & Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007
T-kit number 8 - Social Inclusion

Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003)

Jans, M., & De Backer, K. (2001). Youth (-work) and social participation - Elements for a practical theory. Flemish Youth Council - JeP!, 2001.

Karasek, R. A. (1979). Job Demands, Job Decision Latitude, and Mental Strain: Implications for Job Redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285-308. doi:10.2307/2392498

Mojza, E. J., Sonnentag, S., & Bornemann, C. (2011). Volunteer work as a valuable leisure-time activity: A day-level study on volunteer work, non-work experiences, and well-being at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84(1), 123-152. doi:10.1348/096317910X485737

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68

Sonnentag, S., & Fritz, C. (2007). The Recovery Experience Questionnaire: Development and validation of a measure for assessing recuperation and unwinding from work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(3), 204-221. doi:doi:10.1037/1076-8998.12.3.204
1. Classic model of psychological wellbeing in work
2. German Study of benefits of volunteer work
3. T-kit number 8 - Social Inclusion
“Participating in activities and projects of interest to them and which they organise themselves is often a step in a process encouraging their deeper involvement in the community, including its political life.”
(Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003), p. 21)
“At a time when young people are under increasing pressure to perform and succeed as individuals in education and in the world of work, it is important that volunteerism is promoted and recognised.”
Youth organisations reflect views and serve needs and interests of young people
“53. Youth organisations are unique in that they are primarily focused on reflecting the views and serving the needs and interests of young people. They also provide a space where young people can learn and experience the opportunities and challenges of participating in decisions and actions with other young people."
This is a joke, but I belief that the culture of always "giving it all you've got" can be found in many aspects of life as a young person today.
Lots of motivation theories exists. These are (primarily) based on ideas on psychological well-being and see volunteer work in organisations as different from paid jobs and studies.

Volunteerism as an answer to the increasing pressure on youth
Well. We like it!

We represent youth organisations in Europe, and with we aim to fulfill needs of young people, and be a space where they can participate and take initiatives.

EF represents 400.000 members in Europe, but activate maybe 1000 in international youth activities in a good year.

It is often a small group of people in each organisation, who organises and participates in international activities.

If we have just 20 youth-initiated international projects started every year, in the end many more young people would experience international youth work, and it would be based on their own initatives.

So we like youth participation!
So what do you think
In the end it is really all about you doing something, which you find fun, interesting, relevant and motivating.

Motivation can be seen as a key to youth participation.

If you become aware of what motivates you the most, you will be able to seek out these things.

If you consider what others are motivated by, it will make it easier for you to organise relevant projects which people help organise and participate in.
(Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (21 May 2003), p. 23)
What do you think?
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