top 5 tips for building a YUGA chapter


YUGA members work together during a workshop at the 2014 YUGA Summit.

DOWNLOAD: Tips for Building a Motivated YUGA Team

With the school year approaching, you must be thinking of ways to recruit members for your YUGA chapter and, most important, ways to keep them engaged throughout the year.

Remember our workshop on leadership and team-building? Here’s the handout that Jeremy provided: “Tips for Building a Motivated YUGA Team.” Click to download it and keep it with you. It’s a great resource for any team–whether a YUGA chapter or not!

During the workshop with Jeremy, everyone came up with their own tips for recruiting others and motivating them. These are the Top 5 Tips created by participants at this year’s YUGA Summit–the best of the best. We hope you agree!

1. Establish a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere by listening to others. We mean really listen, even if it might be something that you don’t want to hear. And don’t interrupt!

2. Use “We” statements and not “I” to communicate with your team. That way, they can better understand that they are part of the larger YUGA network, and that their chapter has goals you will achieve together.

3. Don’t dwell on the negative – accentuate the positive. Did you lead a fundraiser that didn’t go so well? Are you having trouble getting an event approved by your school? Don’t dwell on the problems; focus on solutions!

4. Be fair, honest and consistent – show no favoritism. This can be hard to do, but remember, your YUGA chapter will only succeed if everyone feels that they are a strong, contributing member of the team.

5. Expect only the best and be proud when members achieve it! Give recognition to people who have gone above and beyond for you, both in your YUGA chapter and outside of it.

Bonus: Come up with fun and interesting projects related to a cause your team is passionate about! In order to do that, though, you have to follow the first five tips. 

What do you think? Did we get them all? What tips would YOU add?

DOWNLOAD: Tips for Building a Motivated YUGA Team

nneka: thoughts on the summit

20140730_YUGA_678I’d just like to thank all of the amazing staff at Plan International USA and all those who participated in this year’s YUGA Summit.

My favorite workshop dealt with educating youths on non-violence. I think it’s really important that youth are aware of just how much violence can influence the world we live in. It’s also really important to remind people that preventing violence and raising awareness for non-violence starts with action.

Photo: a portrait of Nneka at this year’s  YUGA Summit.

From this workshop, I hope to start a YUGA chapter centered around non-violence. Things like child abuse, domestic violence, war, and human trafficking all deal with violence. By engaging youths in these issues, maybe I’ll be able to save or prevent an individual from doing a violent act or becoming a victim of violence.

morrigan: chenille stems and whoopie pies

20140731_YUGA_201My first year at the YUGA Summit was amazing. I came into this new experience knowing absolutely no one and not knowing what to expect, but after the first day, everyone was swept up by the excitement that is YUGA.

It has been really hard for me to explain what happened at the Summit and why it was such a great experience, but I’ve found a way that can hopefully show a small snippet of what happened this summer.

Photo: Morrigan prepares to read one of her poems at the Talent Show at this year’s YUGA Leadership Summit.

Since everyone there allowed me to speak my mind and share the poems I have written in the past, I thought it would be fitting to write a poem about the environment we created together at #YUGASummit14.


Youth United for Global Action and Awareness
Hear us
Hear our chenille-stemmed tree swaying in the cool breeze
roots thirsty for information
Wind chimes hanging by the twine that holds us all together
singing the songs the world needs to hear

Flock of orange shirts and smiles
Walking 4 the Wellness of everyone
Running, leaping, dancing toward our goals

Our ideas as beautiful as the peanut butter whoopie pies in the place we call
formed as a family
grouped together by common interests and
built out of the Jenga blocks of getting to know you
Tucked in at night between
anticipation for tomorrow
mattresses that make us realize how lucky we are

The sun rises
Cards rat slap quicker than the pharaohs
painting henna memories
shaded by gazebo dreams

Information raining down on us
being caught and absorbed
allowing our roots to
weave it into our own ways of being
forever remembering
our home.