Looking Back: Paisley YMCA Summer of Fun Programme 2022 ☀️

As our Summer Fun Programme enters its final week, we are thrilled at the high number of young people that have signed up and attended our weekly digital and STEM clubs each week. We are so happy to be welcoming faces old and new for some digital fun and plenty of gaming!  

We are happy to have returned to in-person youth work following an extremely challenging time. Paisley YMCA was affected greatly by both the fire that destroyed our William Street building in 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic. The time during the pandemic meant that our clubs were moved exclusively online via Zoom, which was a hard time for both our youth workers and young people at a time of isolation. We did have some fun times answering Kahoot quizzes, though! 

Our new base at 39 High Street is where we have managed to re-establish ourselves and reach out to the community with new resources that we offer to help young people in Paisley. We have received new funding and equipment that we have been able to use to design a Summer Fun Programme this year with the aim of providing young people in Paisley with free, fun and engaging club activity using technology they may not have access to at home or via education.  

Our clubs offer a wide variety of digital skills-based learning such as regular coding clubs, helping to develop our Jacquard Loom Game to be displayed in Paisley Museum and make use of our gaming consoles and other youth work resources. For example our recent podcast studio, which allows our young people to make use of professional sound equipment to record their own podcasts talking about what is important to them.  

We also have a badge maker and heat press, which we hope to make even more use of in the future as we encourage our young people to design and create their own prints, which can be used to create items such as tote bags, mugs, t-shirts and badges. They can also play more traditional games such as Cluedo or Jenga if they wish. We also provide regular healthy snacks and plenty to juice to keep hydrated in this very warm weather! 

When asked their favourite club of the programme, one of our young people said; “The podcast club, I like talking about just anything,” and continued when asked why they came to Paisley YMCA every week of summer “I like to get out, I don’t like sitting in the house all the time and I don’t like going out that much, but I like coming here. This is part of my routine.” 

Another young person, who also had their favourite clubs, cited our Summer Programme as a great way to find some activity and fun, as opposed to staying at home; “I have really enjoyed the summer programme so far. I think my favourite bit of it is Wednesday and Friday because we’re doing a project but at some point, we can also just do our own thing. And on Friday we get to just play about and play games. 

“I want to go to YMCA because I like seeing my friends and also, it’s actually something to do instead of just sitting around the house. I go every Friday. I’ve made new friends, it’s definitely nice to come in and feel like you’re not going to be judged.” 

Our Summer success marks an important milestone for us, after setbacks and hardship in the events of the past few years. Times may have been tough, but we have persevered! We are so grateful for our incredible team of staff, trustees and volunteers. And most importantly we are grateful the young people themselves for showing up interested and excited each week, we love getting to be a part of their journey into the amazing adults they will no doubt become. Whether they are regular faces or new, we are proud of every one of them! 

Our Summer Programme will end next week and we will return to our weekly club activities in the evenings and weekends. With the popularity of our in-person coding club and our museum project, we will continue these clubs in the evenings once schools’ return. All information about our club activity can be found on our Eventbrite page or by emailing youthwork@paisleyymca.scot.  

Watch this space because while summer may be ending, we have lots of more exciting projects coming! 

Summer Begins with Our New Podcast Studio at Paisley YMCA! 🎙️

Our Summer Fun Programme has officially begun! 

For a six-week period, we will be offering free youth club activity focusing on creative projects using the new technology that we recently have set up in our Makerspace. Our first Digital Media Session this Wednesday began with the set-up of our official podcast studio in our space. Our young people have access to a professional soundboard, microphones, headphones and software. Our digital media sessions will give them the opportunity to create their own podcast sessions with their own thoughts and feelings on whatever they would like to speak about.  

This new studio provides our young people with exciting opportunities to learn about podcast development and technological skills, as well as aiding their personal development and boosting their confidence as they find their voices in a safe and encouraging environment. We are also looking forward to developing creative artistic projects, including opportunities our young people will have to design their own badges, tote bags and prints.  

We are excited for the opportunities our new equipment will create over the summer such as coding, game design, playing with sound and editing, art projects and much more! All of these activities and more can be experienced in our weekly digital media sessions, along with our coding clubs, mix of technology and creative projects and just chilling and having fun. Our clubs are free and weekly in Paisley. For more information, contact claire@paisleyymca.scot and tickets are available from Eventbrite.  

Celebrating Sma’ Shot Day with ReMode Youth! All About Our Latest Animation Project 🎥

This year in preparation for Sma’ Shot day 2022, our young people have been working on a short animation project to tell the story of how this historic day came to be. Taking place 2nd July, Sma’ Shot day celebrates the weavers of Paisley, who fought for their workers’ rights to be paid fairly for their use of the Sma’ Shot; a woven yarn used to create Paisley shawls that was invisible to the human eye but invaluable to the construction, for which the weavers were not compensated. After reaching the height of protest, their work was recognised and they gained the right be paid fairly, making a historic moment in the history of Paisley.  

In collaboration with ReMode Youth, our young people have been creating storyboards and stop motion characters to show how creatively they can tell this story of victory for those in Paisley to be paid for their valuable work.  

One of the facilitators from ReMode Youth Joseph, who has been working with our young people to show them the creative process of stop motion animation, states;  

“We’re about halfway through the project, it’s going well and we’re starting to properly get into animating. The goal of the project is trying to explore this story of Sma’ shot day, creating a simple story that encapsulates the idea of who’s in control of products […] and helping people to understand the power dynamic then between boss and employee.” 

Through the creation of sets, stop motion animation, story development and sound design, our young people are on their way to have a finished product they can be truly proud of and signifies an important day in the history of Paisley and equality.  

By the end of the 6-week project, our aim is to have the short film completed and available to watch on our social media channels. If you would like to see the completed project, follow us on Twitter (@YMCApaisley), Facebook (We Are Paisley YMCA) and Instagram (paisleyymca). It will also be shown on ReMode Youth’s social media channels, such as Instagram @remode_youth, Twitter @ReModeit and Facebook @ReMode.  

Developing Our Makerspace! Technology, creativity and what has our young people excited 🖥️📱💻

In the past several months, we have been working hard to re-establish our Makerspace. New kit, toys and equipment have arrived in the past several months and we are thrilled at the new opportunities this equipment will offer to our weekly clubs.  

In addition to our 3D printers and Smart Gardens displayed in the window of our space, our recent new additions include a vinyl cutter, a printing press, VR headsets, a Podcast studio and our new greenscreen room.  

This technology enables our digital CLD (Community Learning and Development) team at Paisley YMCA to develop innovative and exciting projects for our young people allowing them to use these tools to open up their own creativity with guidance from our Youth Workers. It also gives them access to equipment and technology they may not be able to access from home or learning facilities. All of our clubs are focused on empowerment, building confidence, developing relationships, learning new skills and peer support.  

When asked what they were most excited to use in our space, various young people responded; 

“3D printer, I also want to use the greenscreen.”  

“I want to make t-shirts with the vinyl cutter!” 

“Making cats in the 3D printer.” 

“I want to make little 3D skulls, to decorate.” 

“I’m going to step out of reality. I want to look at virtual reality.” 

“I love the space. I can’t wait to use VR.” 

“VR is enjoyable.” 

Our exciting new projects include developing our podcast studio to amplify young people’s voices, working with ReMode Youth on a Sma’-Shot animation project currently in development, creating our Jacquard Loom project in collaboration with Paisley Museum with our young people designing an exciting new game to be displayed and other exciting new projects planned with our new technology.  

At Paisley YMCA, we utilise STEM learning and technology in our space in order to help young people with their personal development and expand their skillset. We are very excited to see what the future holds for our new kit and where our young people will take us with it!  

Tickets for our weekly clubs are available from Eventbrite. All of our clubs are free to attend and our base is located at 39 Paisley High Street. If you have any questions or queries, please contact claire@paisleyymca.scot.  

Our New Creative STEM projects this month at Paisley YMCA 🌱

Big things have been happening this month at Paisley YMCA!  

Last week at our STEM clubs, our young people set up our new smart gardens which are currently displayed in our window display at our space at 39 High Street.  

Each of our gardens grows an assortment of yellow tomatoes, lettuces and basil. Assisted by the unique set up of their water tank and UV light to help them along, our gardens will hopefully be blooming soon in the spring with the help of our young people! They can be seen in our space and we can’t wait to see them bloom.  

Another feature that can be viewed in the window of our space is our new 3D printer, which regularly shows the creation of our new prints every week. We have created several small animal mascots already and intend to see which more ambitious prints we can create in the future.  

Our new smart gardens and 3D printer are a part of our continued effort to support young people to explore STEM in a fun, interesting and accessible way. As these projects continue, our young people are looking forward to learning about healthy eating and sustainable gardening, designing and making cool and useful items through the use of technology and building up a valuable skill-set that they can take into their future.

We are looking forward to even more developments in time for summer! Tickets for our STEM clubs are available from Eventbrite.

Follow us on Twitter (@YMCAPaisley), Instagram (@paisleyymca) and Facebook (We Are Paisley YMCA) for more updates and posts about current projects.  

A Space for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics; Reflecting on Science Week 2022 at Paisley YMCA

As we come to the end of UK Science week, we reflect on the importance role science and technology plays in our weekly clubs available for our young people. 

We have a variety of science-based clubs available at our makerspace each week, including STEM Girls on Wednesday and STEM Saturdays, which allows a space for our young people to create and explore STEM experiments and activities.  

With our latest technological additions to our space such as a vinyl cutter and 3D printers, this opens up even more possibilities for seeing what our young people can come up with using technology and household materials to create STEM-based projects that teach them about the imagination that goes into science.  

According to Youth Worker Mary-Jane McNally, this freedom to explore and create is part of why the science element to our clubs is so important to our young people, “The way science is normally portrayed is a very specific type that only appeals to one type of brain. And I feel that’s doing a science a disservice. It’s about repeating and recording and there’s other aspects. If you want to experience a range of things just casually on their own terms [..] It’s nice to be able to want to do something and just do it. School decides on your behalf what you’re doing.  

“They come here and if they want something, within reason, we’ll try to facilitate them getting towards their goals so the range of science can be broader. Some science-based environments are about results; here it’s about discovering things on your one terms instead of solely going through what people have done in the past so you can get something new.” 

At Paisley YMCA, we base the majority of our weekly clubs at the Makerspace from response to the suggestions of our young people. Therefore, the strong scientific element of our clubs comes from our young people’s enthusiasm for STEM/STEAM-based activities. These included the building of structures and project using household items and materials such as pipe cleaners, cardboard, spaghetti and much more throughout the week! While our Future Fridays are a great space for young people to just chill and hang out with their friends, Wednesdays and Saturdays are when the young people come to show us their innovation with our Youth Workers to help them along with their projects and ideas!

However, STEAM activities cover much more than just the S for science; it also stands for Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics which open up far more areas of opportunity for learning. Paisley YMCA are also known for our work in digital technology, an element we hope to expand upon even more with the arrival of our new kit! The young people are also passionate about the arts, as shown by their creations and drawings they present each week at club.

Both the freedom and proactivity of our STEM-based activities at weekly clubs’ showcase is one of the core elements to their enduring popularity with our young people. This is echoed by the young people themselves, as stated by one of our weekly STEM girls; “There’s actually activities we can do here and it’s not someone just talking and throwing information at you for an hour. Here you actually get to do activities and learn things, you’re not just sitting at a table.  

“You don’t have tests here, you do the activity and it makes it more enjoyable and makes you want to do it more.” 

While UK Science week may have come to an end, we intend on keeping our scientific roots growing all year round! And all information and tickets for our weekly clubs are available from Eventbrite.  

Follow us on Twitter (@YMCAPaisley) and Instagram (@paisleyymca) for more updates!