Extracurricular activities like youth clubs pair teens with peers who have similar interests or needs. According to KidsHealth.org, clubs encourage teens to try new activities in a safe environment, meet new people and explore their curiosities. In addition to helping youth stay out of trouble, KidsHealth.org shares that participation in a teen club can look good on college and job applications.
Hobby-related clubs that focus on a common interest give teens a way to expand their skills and share their talents, especially if a high school doesn’t offer a particular activity. Young people who like to act, for example, can form a drama club that puts on a show twice a year. An outdoors club led by experienced adults can teach teens about outdoor survival, take regular trips to different hiking trails and plan overnight trips for young people and their parents. A group of teens who like helping the community can form a volunteer club that performs various service projects throughout the year, like help in a non-profit thrift shop, tend to a homeless shelter’s garden or organize goods at a food bank.
A drop-in center is like a clubhouse whose doors are open to all teens. The Boys and Girls Club of America is an example of an organization that has drop-in centers across the country, but communities can form their own independent centers that offer similar activities. The center can simply provide youth a safe place to hang out after school or offer a schedule of activities, like study hall, skills groups or art classes.
A book club for teens promotes literacy and reading as a hobby. If a community library doesn’t already have a teen book club, it may be willing to lend the space for a regular club. Alternatively, if a group of teens wants to have a book club based on a specific genre, like science fiction or poetry, they can meet at a coffee shop or a home. You could dedicate the first half of the teen book club session to discussion around that week's assigned book. For the second half of the session, have the teen participants discuss other books that they’re reading for fun.
A support club for teens gives young people the opportunity to meet and hang out with others their own age who are going through or have experienced a situation that school peers may not understand. Teens.CanSur.vive by the Cool Kids Campaign, for example, is a youth club for teens who are cancer survivors or those currently undergoing treatments so they can have social interactions with others who understand what it’s like to live with cancer. Club members who are able serve as mentors to children undergoing cancer treatments.