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.
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!
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.