Almost all Swedish municipalities run Open Youth Clubs, OYCs for youngsters (13-18 years) to support their development. OYCs are especially important for youngsters who are not part of other organized activities and who may be at risk in schools. OYCs are a long-term investment for a sustainable society. A diversity background can be complex during the teenage years. Youngsters’ needs create special demands on Youth Recreation Leaders who have a two-year Folk High School education. They are the only adults accessible to youngsters after school hours or at the weekends when the more educated school and social services staff are not on duty. The research study has two key aims: 1) to examine the competences of the staff working in OYCs and 2) to investigate how this matches the needs of youngsters and staff in the OYCs and for collaboration between OYCs and other stakeholders. The collaboration needs of OYCs and other parts of social welfare services, schools and the police will be identified. The project focuses Region Jönköping County and its 13 municipalities. This region provides a possibility to study the conditions for OYCs based on the organization of its municipalities, tax slabs and priorities. In order to match the diversity and complexities of OYCs, the project group builds on the multidisciplinary research group Communication, Culture and Diversity, CCD and the cross-sectorial Participation and Inclusion Think-tank, DoIT.

Founder: Jönköping University

Project duration: 2020-2022 

Project members: Karl Hedman, Sangeeta Gupta, Elisabet Sandblom, Susanne Smithberger and Johan Malmqvist