Partnering With SoundPlay Projects for a Spaced Out experience! 😊

Throughout our Summer of Fun project this year, we have organised many new activities and ways for our young people to spend their summer with Paisley YMCA, such as our Summer Gaming Cafes and our VR training projects in various schools and community centres throughout the Paisley area.

Many of these projects also featured collaborations with other youth organisations, who are just as invested in creating a fun and educational environment for Paisley’s youth as we are. One example of this was through our partnering with SoundPlay Projects to run two separate workshops on the 4th and 5th August. These projects gave our young people the chance to combine their scientific side with their musical creativity to create their own imaginative works.

Founder of Soundplay Projects and Musician, Bal Cooke explains, “These workshops combined low-tech ways of sound making (using ping pong balls, paper cups and elastic bands) with high tech video manipulation of the clips we filmed. It was brilliant to see what the young people came up with, creating sounds and objects that we’d never have thought of. “

These projects utilise the technology provided by youth organisations to encourage young people to develop new skills and ideas that will go on the serve them later in life. As Cooke explains:

“I think these kind of projects can open up creative possibilities in digital technology, beyond the world of games, smartphones, social media, etc. All those platforms are totally valid but are so much part of young people’s lives already.

“We are keen on the idea of playing with technology to create something unique and think that really can inspire others to try new things or even just to look at technology in a different way.”

Collaborative projects between youth groups such as this allow for a greater expansion of creative projects to engage our young people and working together allowed us to really bring this project to life. Cooke states:

“Paisley YMCA bring so many benefits; they have great facilities and staff, as well as brilliant connections with the community. They also share our ethos that projects should be driven by the young people rather than try and impose stuff on them. We hope to work with them again soon!”

Likewise, we are also extremely thankful to Soundplay Projects for this collaboration and we’re very excited to see what we can do next!

For more information regarding Soundplay Projects, please check out their website for details.

Our Summer of Gaming has begun! 🎮

Our summer of gaming has begun! Last week, we opened our doors to the public for the first time since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in Scotland and the summer schedule has begun with our Summer Gaming Café!

Every week, our young people are invited to spend the day playing games, chatting to our youth workers and having fun with their friends. Ever since the event was announced, both the first and second week have sold out, with a strong following of young people already committing to the new programme.

Youth Worker Jordan McDonald states that the success of the first week proves the need to in-person socialising and fun summer activities for young people, “Since it was the first week back I think there was a lot of apprehension, with the way the world is with Covid. But the young people are happy just to get back out and start socialising.

“When you return to meeting in person, you don’t know if it’s going to be popular or if people are anxious to come in. But seeing that it’s been sold out every session, it just shows that it’s been needed for the young people.”

The opening of the new Paisley YMCA building in Paisley High street also marks a new step in setting up new equipment and an area for young people to move freely after the easing of Covid restrictions.

Fellow Youth Worker John Gore is also impressed with the success of the opening week and hopes it will set a standard for the rest of the summer, “I think with the limited amount of equipment we have; it couldn’t have gone better. As long as there’s young people showing up, we should try and accommodate for that as best we can, over the whole summer if they still want to come. I think that’s a great thing.

“I was concerned about how we would set up just for the young people being in here, how we would section everything. But I think it’s been done to the best that it can be. Everyone seems to be showing up.”

Our Summer Gaming Café events occur every Tuesday and Friday. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

Dropping in on a Friday Night – The improvement this fun club can have on mental health

One of the biggest social discussions throughout the pandemic is the impact it has had on the mental health of young people. With the uncertainty of changing times and ways of learning and communicating having changed drastically, this has proven to be a confusing and often difficult time for young people.

With the pressures of keeping up with education and activities despite unconventional methods, the importance of being able to relax and de-stress during free time is now more important than ever. The Friday Night Drop In Makerspace group run by Paisley YMCA is a group designed with this in mind. The club is a drop in session for young people aged between 8 -17 to simply relax, engage in leisure activity and have fun without any set goals or ongoing projects.

Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley states that the impact of this time is crucial for young people to relax from the stress of our current times:

“I love this club because it is a space where you come along and you just be you. For young people, there is a lot of pressure and expectations on them and a lot attached to being a young person now, I feel.”

“But young people need time to relax and just chill out, which is why we created that specific space with no agenda, with no particular goals in mind because it depends on the night how the young people feel. Do they to play an RPG, do they want to just talk about something, tell jokes, do some drawing? There’s value in just being and chilling out. We have a pretty packed schedule; we offer a range of clubs and skills and I think it’s important we also offer a space that says ‘just be’.”

The Friday Night Drop In sessions offer a valuable and understated free space for young people to simply have fun, which is every bit as crucial as developing skills and taking place in science quizzes. For more information about the Friday Night Drop In and how to get your tickets, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.

Flex your Skills! With Digital Design Club 😊

Young people are more digitally engaged than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they know it all right away. There is still a whole world of skills and ways to digitally express themselves that they have yet to explore and learn from. This is where Digital Design Club comes in!

Digital Design Club is a Saturday Makerspace morning group run by Paisley YMCA. It stands out as one of the most proactive digital groups, as it focuses on the development of digital projects created by the young people who attend with the goal of having a tangible finished project to present in the Makerspace.

The benefit of this allows the young people to participate in controlling their own projects while sometimes not even realising all that they are learning by doing so. Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley states that, “The digital design club is great because the projects are led by the young people. It’s entirely up to them what they want to create and how they want to create it. But even by saying that we’re going to create a digital story, it’s all the steps they need to take in order to create it.”

The digital design club works as a wonderful showcase for our young people’s creativity and the development of their digital skills through fun activity. As Claire states:

“You’re researching, storyboarding, these are all planning and organisational skills. They get really excited about the project and the steps they need to take to get there and they’re learning design thinking, processes and all these kinds of things. There are real tangible skills attached to that, which translates into their lives and schooling but will also translate into employment as well.”

With many job and work opportunities now taking place online with need of solid technical skills, Digital Design Club stands out as one of the more experimental and educational offerings from Paisley YMCA. It’s a great space to both flex creativity while building up a valuable offering of skills and talents.

For more information about Digital Design Club and how to get tickets, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.

Knowledge is Power – Why STEM Girls remains integral to Paisley YMCA

STEM Girls remains one of the most popular Makerspace weekly groups run by Paisley YMCA. Taking place every Wednesday evening, STEM Girls offers a space for girls aged 8 – 17 to come together, test their knowledge, engage in exciting new projects and hang out with their friends.

Each week invites new discussions and revelations as our participants discuss the world of STEM, their feelings around society and many fascinating anecdotes that showcase just how talented and creative our young people are. The girls are also invited to have their knowledge tested every week with some brain-teasing quizzes and tests to their science skills.

Of all of the Makerspace groups run by Paisley YMCA, STEM Girls is a passion project from Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley, who elaborates about what makes the group so near and dear to her heart:

“It’s a space that I really wish I had when I was younger. It’s a space I wish I had been a part of. It’s a safe space for girls and young women to just explore stem with no judgement. And we encourage making mistakes.

“Creating a space specific for young women and girls is always successful to their development and their confidence and success of building upon their skills. That’s backed up by lots of independent research.”

In spite of the success of the other Paisley YMCA weekly run groups, Claire felt that the girls in particular needed a space to grow and express themselves through STEM:

“Initially all our clubs were really successful but 80% of them were boys and I could see the potential in some of the young girls and they were getting swallowed up, so we thought we needed to create a space for them specifically to flourish.”

We have many more exciting projects planned for STEM Girls in the future and we always aim to make it as fun as it is informative and educational for our enthusiastic attendees. Keep your eyes on STEM Girls in the future, as we’re excited for what the future holds!

For more information about STEM Girls and how to get your Wednesday evening tickets, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.

An Explosion of Creativity and Discussion – About The Social Circle

The Social Circle is one of our newest additions to the Makerspace Paisley YMCA run groups.

The Social Circle aims to be a space for young people to come together and discuss important social issues, the online world and building relationships with others while giving their own unique perspectives. In particular, the group aims to explore and discuss nurturing healthy relationships and how the digital age has changed and reshaped our worldviews with different topics each week.

The world is a complicated and difficult place to understand sometimes and the value of a group like Social Circle is that it allows young people to express their feelings and emotions in the digital age. It offers a safe environment for self-expression with the goal of building healthy relationships with themselves and each other.

This kind of self-expression lends itself to writing and creativity extremely well and the young people that attend our groups love any opportunity to express their artistic or creative writing side. Creative writing is an element that may be incorporated into the Social Circle as a method of allowing young people to communicate and express their feelings in a healthy and important way, be it through fiction or non-fiction.

Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley states that she believes the creativity of the young people who attend the group and the discussions the group has can lend very well to this concept:

“I think everyone has a story in them, I definitely think some people have many more stories than that. But our young people and absolutely all young people are just hugely creative. And sometimes they don’t even know it, which is a real shame but that’s what we’re here to support with, unlocking and unleashing that creativity.

“I think it’s a really good angle to take with Social Circle because the issues and scenarios we discuss in social circle are very real but they’re quite challenging. And I think sometimes to take a creative approach to that and tell a creative story means you can look at it from lots of different angles. So, I think that’s a really good club to get a bit of creative writing with.”

The sessions in the Social Circle aim to be open, honest and most of all, fun! We’re very excited about the possibilities of this group and where it can lead with the emotional and creative intelligence of all who attend it.

The Social Circle group takes place on Tuesday evening each week. For more information on signing up and purchasing a free ticket, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.