Best Practices at Jugehörig

History of Jugehörig
Jugehörig is an association from and for young hard of hearing people in German-speaking Switzerland.
The association was originally founded as a workgroup for young hard of hearing people within a local association in Bern. Over the first years political work was in focus. However, we don’t do a lot in this field any more.
In 2002 Jugehörig started organizing yearly a summer weekend. This year, from August 1 st to 3 rd we welcomed 35 participants from Switzerland and Germany – apparently, they like us, or our country In the beginning of Jugehörig, every 6 week on a Friday evening, a rendezvous was hold in Bern. Playing games, watching movies, cooking and of course talking together where the activities. Over the years this offer lost popularity and only a few people met. In order to stop this development, we decided to cancel this rendezvous and started again with a few exciting events per year on various places, held on a Saturday. The idea is that we want allow people with a longer journey to participate and motivate them with exciting activities. Starting with only a few, after six years the amount of participants has grown to 10 – 20 participants. This satisfies not at least also the organizers, which is quite important as they spend free time without earning money for that. Three years ago we started with snow sport weekends, popular since the beginning with around 25 participants. Further, we organize special weekends like the visit of the Oktoberfest or Salsa courses.

How we are organized
Only young voluntary HOH people work for Jugehörig. We try to balance the work within the team and we also do delegate tasks to people outside of the team. Our experience is that the workload should never be to high for a longer time, in order to keep people motivated on the long term. I think it’s important for us not to have paid employees. As money doesn’t matter, we only have motivated and committed team members. We try to keep the administration as simple as possible and of course we use modern communications possibilities like email, website, Facebook. The participants do enroll online via a Google docs form and pay in advance via post account. Even the accounting works paperless. We do Fundraising in asking associations, corporations and foundations for a contribution for weekends.
Team member’s only get little expenses but the can participate for free at the summer weekend. Plus in
January, the team holds a free mutual dinner at the flat of one of the team members.

What is dangerous for youth organizations?
We have learned that as an association for young people, you need steadily change your organization. It is dangerous to have a strong team over many years, because then the team grows old together. Most people have leisure contacts to people in their age. If you are not aware about this, you will lose contact to younger men and women. One day, when the founders turn around 30-35, they will quit their work and nobody will be there to fill the footsteps. We had exactly this problem. To survive, we incorporated people from whole German-speaking Switzerland in the team, simple because there was no new blood available in Bern. Today, we are no more Bern focused. Our meetings are held in different cities, in order to balance the journey time. In order not growing old together, it is important to incorporate every year new team members. You
need to mention via email and also at events that new team members are highly welcome. With this alone, you won’t get a lot of volunteers. You need to talk to the events participants personally. Which event should Jugehörig organize for them? Then ask them to help organizing exactly this event at the place they want. Another possibility is to ask people where the next ski weekend should take part, and ask them to help finding a location. With this strategy, you involve new people with fresh ideas and you see if you fit together. If you once have identified talents, you should ask them entering in your team several times, over one or two years. Often you will be successful, it is worth the effort!

Ediz Tekok

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