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How a forgotten group grabbed the spotlight

For years there has been a sustainable need for more cultural activities for young people in Zeist, a village in the center of the Netherlands. Despite good education and excellent sports facilities, young people miss places where they can meet each other. Stadslab Zeist (a social project agency) increasingly heard that young people longed for more opportunities to be together and do fun things outside of school and sports.

With this 'problem' we, Merel and Marloes from Stadslab Zeist, started two years ago our first SALT process what ultimately became quite an adventure. Our mission: to reach as many different young people as possible and to organize something together for young people in Zeist to meet each other. We had already come into contact with SALT-CLCP a number of times and the idea of ​​working from the strength of the target group really appealed to us. We have known for a long time that there is enormous power in young people!

We started the SALT process with four enthusiastic young people who are completely committed to our mission and were intrinsically motivated to organize 'something' for young people in Zeist. We met with extensive knowledge, listened to each other, collected dreams and formulated one shared dream:
In 30 years all young people have enough space to be themselves and develop, in connection with others, which allows them to experience happiness.

We formulated our practices together and rated them. The most important practice? We young people make our voices heard and make ourselves visible. That was what the group wanted to work on! Brainstorming and meetings with facilitators followed. Ideas were formed, explored and sometimes shot down. Eventually the final idea took shape: a talent show by and for the young people in Zeist. An evening full of talent, culture, fun, inspiration and encounters. What does this group of young people want to call themselves? Gen Zeist!

After months of planning, designing, fine-tuning, looking for talent, distributing flyers and arranging things by the young people, the time had finally come in April: Zeist Got Talent took place.

We expected everything, but not that it would be such a great success:

- there were 12 incredibly talented and diverse acts
- there was a very mixed and large audience present, mainly with many young people aged 16 to 25. Moreover, there were young people from diverse (cultural) backgrounds together who would otherwise not have met each other. A broad target group was reached!
- there was a fantastic atmosphere with everyone encouraging each other and having fun
we were asked very often whether this would become an annual event
- Gen Z has decided to continue organizing cool things with and for the young people of Zeist

What went well and what strengths we discovered:

-The young people themselves came up with, developed and implemented the concept with the support of Stadslab Zeist and partner Poppodium De Peppel. This is why it has become such a success.
-All 4 young people came from different 'bubbles'. Merging these networks ensured that a large, diverse audience was present at the event.
-The support of Gen Zeist by Stadslab Zeist and De Peppel has ensured that the event is professionally organized, that communication and marketing is well underway and that the young people are unburdened both organizationally and financially. As a result, the intrinsic motivation of the group remained high.
-In addition, the group was taken very seriously and included in the process of organizing a major event such as Zeist Got Talent. As a result, the young people have all also went through personal development and growth

How we worked together as a SALT team:

-Stimulated: forming a team of young people who did not know each other before, daring to dream about an event for young people.
-Appreciated: the process of developing the event, its execution and the great success of the evening itself.
-Learned: finding the balance between directing and facilitating was sometimes a challenge. In the beginning, the young people were given free rein and had to think, design and solve everything themselves. The professional partners only got to work when there was a request for help from Gen Zeist. This was educational for all parties, but afterwards it cost a lot of time and sometimes took the flow out of the process, making it difficult to find the motivation to continue.
- Transfer made: we share our learnings with the new young people who join Gen Z and with our network. Many organizations in Zeist that work with young people have difficulty reaching young people. We have shared with them how we have succeeded and with love will continue to do so in the future!

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Comment by Dr. Suresh Sundar on June 19, 2024 at 4:44pm
If the talent shows were recorded and then uploaded, say on Youtube, it can reach a wider audience, and even open up career options for the interested few 🤔
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on June 19, 2024 at 4:07pm

Am so proud of this work by young people and your facilitation Merel and Marloes. Multi-generational dialogue led to change. I appreciate the reflection at the end. Thanks to you and the youth! May be you can stimulate the youth to spread SALT and measure this transfer.

I have a quey. I was wondering why the title of the blog.

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