Youth event resources
So you’re hosting a TEDxYouth event… Get excited! TEDxYouth events are fun, imaginative, and smart TEDx events designed for, and often organized by, young people. They bring ideas worth spreading to all ages.
Five things organizers love about TEDxYouth events
- The energy: “A kinetic energy that is unlike any other,” said one organizer.
- The creativity: Planning an event alongside young people makes you realize that kids have unique, crazy, extreme ideas that an adult might usually not think of — for the event, the activities, the speakers, everything!
- The empowerment: Organizing a TEDxYouth event shows that kids are capable of much more than what’s expected. “The fact that youth, just like me, had planned and ran the event shocked me the most,” said one volunteer. “I thought the event was amazing and couldn’t believe that kids my age made the event happen.”
- The enthusiasm for new ideas: “It was amazing to see how engaged youth team members were with the whole event and how thankful they were (and still are!) to be given such an incredible opportunity as being part of a TEDx event,” said an organizer.
- The confidence in the future: "All in all, the event created awareness in the young minds of their ability to do whatever they set their minds to achieve."
What’s happening at TEDxYouth events
45 high school students organized TEDxYouth@SanDiego in 2013, with the help of a dedicated group of adult mentors. Students from local schools and youth associations enjoyed more than 25 speakers and performers, and participated in an array of hands-on activities, including a photo booth, live science demonstrations, and a chance to explore a replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover.
In 2012, TEDxYouth@Tokyo was organized entirely by 11 to 18 year-olds — everyone from the hosts to the tech team were teenagers. Attendees skateboarded, talked with TEDxYouthDay attendees from around the globe on Skype, and rock climbed during breaks.
TEDxYouth@Amman’s 2011 event was organized by both adults and kids — the youngest team member was just 9 years old! The event was held in the Jordanian capital and was live streamed all over the world with live interpretation in both English and Arabic.
Things to remember
Since your audience at TEDxYouth events is kids, it’s important to make events fun! Consider hosting workshops and activity breaks between speaker sessions: Give kids tasks to complete, organize icebreakers, experiments, hands-on workshops — anything that gets kids active and talking to one another.
Breaks and food
Make the breaks longer than you think they might need to be, and serve food after each session. Focus is renewed with snacks!
Make it safe
Consider discrete supervision of one adult to every 15 or 20 young people. Ensure that entertainment and/or activities are suitable for the kids attending, or make arrangements for their exclusion when necessary. Consider getting appropriate insurance for participants. And, of course, make sure there is a first aid kit.
Find sponsorships and partnerships that are age-appropriate
Your audience is youth, so keep this in mind when seeking sponsors and partners for your event.
Most youth speakers won’t have experience with public speaking, so start training early to give time to gain confidence. Encourage these young speakers to rehearse in front of their parents or friends on their own, and coordinate your calendar with speakers so that it does not coincide with important dates like school exams or vacation time.
Encourage youth speakers to watch TED Talks to get a sense of the different styles of giving a talk or presentation, and to help them figure out what might work (or not work) for them.
Practice is important for great results, but after hours of rehearsing, don't forget to have some fun! Encourage group activities, breaks, and energizing games.