Youth, Media, Wellbeing

Youth, Media, and Wellbeing Updates

The mission of the Youth Advisory Board for the Youth, Media, & Wellbeing Research Lab is to advise our lab about how to create and sustain the most relevant, timely, and feasible virtual digital wellbeing summer workshop for adolescent girls. Because we intentionally recruited from within our prior summer’s workshop participants, we did not have any difficulty with obtaining a commitment from 8 YAB advisors since we had already established a rapport. We met 7 times for 90 minutes each between December 2021 and July 2022. Our advisors were a diverse group of girls ranging in age from 12-24, since some of them were workshop attendees and others had been small group workshop facilitators. One of the strengths and challenges of our YAB was how diverse it was (e.g., race/ethnicity, geography), particularly in terms of age (3 middle schoolers, 2 high schoolers, and 3 post-high school). During the year, we also invited a Youth Chair who was our lab intern and a senior in college. After the first TAM YAB national meeting, we were inspired by more ideas about being youth-centered and immediately implemented subcommittees that the youth advisors volunteered for. This helped encourage active participation in areas they wanted to personally develop. Highlights of the impact of the YAB include, a) changing the structure of our summer workshop to be shorter each day but last longer (5 days instead of 4), b) test driving workshop lessons and shaping them for age-appropriateness and fun, c) designing a YAB tshirt and creating our logo and motto, and d) helping to redefine what it means to produce a safe all-girls Zoom space. Highlights of the professional development opportunities for the youth advisors included a) co-leading activity intros and ice breakers for the summer workshop ’22, b) Wellesley College tour for teen girls in the local area, c) graduate/professional school panel for the older youth, and d) opportunity to contribute to a book chapter on our inaugural YAB experience.