Over the years members have started dozens of young people’s meetings, and many wonderful, committed OA members have offered a helping hand. But to date, OA has not had a great deal of success in holding young people’s meetings. We have spoken with some of your young people’s meeting organizers and would like to offer you their insights.
First, we suggest that you plan your time and meeting location either prior to or concurrently with a regular OA meeting. If no one shows up at the youth meeting, you can choose to attend a concurrent meeting, hold your own meeting, or await the start of a regular meeting.
Do not take on this task alone. Be certain you have several members of your Fellowship who are equally as committed as you are. Having both a male and female leader is ideal. Your young people’s meeting will probably have a slow start and take some time to catch on. You will need other OA members to help you bring continuity to the meeting when you are personally unavailable.
Last but not least is the literature. OA has a limited number of literature items that are directed specifically at teens: Fifteen Questions for the Young Person in the OA Bookstore and To the Young Person downloadable PDF. Much of the other OA literature is appropriate for teen use. The Young People’s Meeting Format can be used along with the Suggested Meeting Format. Both documents can be downloaded from the Document Library under category, Meeting Formats. You may want to consider the New Group Starter Kit and supplement it with the teen literature.
To increase our outreach to teens, we have launched a teen-friendly approach. Here’s how it works:
- Teen-friendly meetings are regular OA meetings that are willing to switch their format or pitch their sharing appropriately when a young person shows up.
- Teen-friendly meetings may read in their opening format (when teens are present) something like, “We have young people present, and would all who share keep your sharing appropriate to accommodate the age of the attendees.”
- Meeting members may share their experiences from when they were young, as well as their recovery and how they are now.
- Teen-friendly meetings may keep some of the literature mentioned above to have available when teens show up.
We would sincerely like to hear back from you. If you find an idea that works, we will pass it on. You may like to encourage your regular meetings to adopt this teen-friendly approach. Thank you for your dedication and willingness to do this service. By doing so, you are helping us fulfill our primary purpose of carrying the message of recovery.