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Don't Make These 5 Mistakes

July 30, 2023
Don't make these mistakes
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No one gives enough credit to youth programmers! Organizing a youth program is NOT for the weak. You want to create an experience that is both fun and developmental for the attendees while maintaining good and long-term relationships with parents. However, some common mistakes can hinder the success of your program. Here are 5 mistakes that you should avoid when organizing your youth program:

1. Poor Organization-to-Parent Relationships and Communication

Parents are leaving their children in your hands, and for a lot of parents that is not an easy thing to do. Good communication with parents is essential for any youth program to succeed. Failing to prioritize a strong relationship with parents can lead to misunderstandings, dissatisfaction or worse. Parents want to know what's happening in the program, from the moment they sign up to the time they take their child home on the last day. And it's your job to keep them informed.


Along with having a regular communication channel developed, having a system for feedback and addressing concerns promptly can help improve relationships with parents. The majority of the time, parents want to feel heard, and having an effective feedback system can help with this.

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2. Failing to Focus on Fun and Development

While successful athletes are something to be proud of, the primary focus of any youth program should be creating fun and exciting development opportunities for participants. Children are more likely to stay engaged and motivated when they enjoy what they're doing. Focusing solely on winning or producing 'elite' athletes can be counterproductive. Not all children are going to make it pro, but all children deserve the chance to try. It's important to emphasize the developmental aspects of the program, such as building confidence, teamwork, and resilience. By prioritizing fun and development, you can create an environment that encourages long-term participation and enjoyment for all!

3. Not Investing in a Streamlined Registration System

The registration process is the first experience that your customers will have with your program. A complicated or time-consuming registration system can turn potential participants away. Investing in a streamlined registration process can make a significant difference in the success of your program. By investing in an easier registration system, you can provide a positive experience right from the start for participants and their families, which will encourage more to sign up for your program.


Citrus offers registration software that is easy to use and customizable, making it an excellent option for any youth program! Along with registration it also offers an easy-to-use communication tool, and branding options for your storefront.

4. Lack of Focus on Mentorship and Guidance

Whether you mean to or not, your youth attendees will look for mentorship and guidance from you and your staff while attending your program. Your attendees are at a very important place in their life where they are developing and learning from their surroundings. Focusing a little more on providing mentorship and guidance can help youth attendees build meaningful relationships, gain valuable life skills, and develop confidence in themselves to succeed in the future.

The biggest part of this mistake is not educating your staff about the impact they will have on their attendee life and how to be a good mentor.

5. Not Following-up and creating Long-term Support

Youth programs tend to get into a hyper-focus on short-term goals or activities within thinking about long-term impacts. This can be a big mistake both for the individuals as well as you as the programmer. It’s a mistake to overlook the importance of following up and looking for ongoing support opportunities for young attendees in your program. By offering continued support, such as mentoring, and more program opportunities or recourses, you can better help youth maintain their motivation, reinforce what they have learned, and better support them in their personal development beyond your program.

It is a mistake for you as a youth programmer to not follow up and create long-term support as this is another opportunity to target attendees to return to your program. It also creates a feeling that you care about the individual to follow up and that just enhancing their experience with your program leads to more potential success.

As a programmer, avoiding these 5 mistakes may seem simple, but it requires careful consideration to maximize your effectiveness and impact on your attendees and their parents. Taking the time to recognize these common mistakes and finding ways to avoid them in your program is a critical step in designing a successful youth program. By doing so, you will be able to meet the needs and goals of young individuals, allowing them to take on life with great strides and make meaningful contributions to their communities in the future.

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