Part 2: Picking the Perfect Youth Project Idea

Part 2: Picking the Perfect Youth Project Idea

After Part 1 of finding a project idea, you should have a list of possible ideas. Hopefully, your list is fairly long with lots of good ideas.

Before you apply for a youth project grant, you’ll need to narrow this list down to just one idea. If this sounds difficult, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the process step by step. Here we go!

1. Pick Ideas that Interest You 

It is incredibly important to pick a project idea that interests you. Remember, this is your project. It should be a project you look forward to doing. At The Peterson League, we want youth to get excited about their projects. We want the process to be inspiring, not boring.

If you’re really interested in science, pick a project that has to do with science! If you’re interested in art, choose a project that has to do with art. Avoid choosing an idea just because someone says you should. It’s perfectly fine to pick an idea you didn’t originally think of, just make sure the idea speaks to you.

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In this first step, cross out any idea you wouldn’t use at least one of these words to describe:

  • Inspiring
  • Exciting
  • Worthwhile
  • Fun
  • Fascinating
  • Cool

2. Does the project fit with The Peterson League? 

At The Peterson League, we want you to chase your good ideas. We also need to make sure they align with our goals as an organization. After you narrow down the list to ideas that interest you, take a look at the remaining ideas and ask these questions:

  • Can this project improve quality of life (either you or someone else)?
  • Can this project create lasting change in your community?
  • Can you structure and direct this project?
  • Are you 5-21 years old?
  • Do you live in Colorado Springs?
  • Are you a U.S. Citizen?

For The Peterson League to support your idea, all answers to these questions should be “yes” for an idea.

You should be able to connect your project ideas to a way of creating lasting change in the Colorado Springs community, or the community and beyond.

How do you determine if your idea can create change?

Think about whether a project can be connected to a need in the community. You might have already done this for some ideas during the brainstorming part. This shouldn’t be a welfare need like food for the homeless. It should be a deeper need, for example, employment information or affordable housing for homeless people.

Make sure your idea provides a lasting change, for example, a community garden that teaches at-risk youth skills and provides food for the community for years. If you’re stuck trying to figure out the community change part, try presenting your idea to someone else and see if they have any ideas.

You might not see the connection at first, but it’s possible that with some creative thinking, an idea can be used to create social change in a way you hadn’t originally considered.

Once you considered these questions for each idea, cross out the projects that don’t fit the criteria.

3. Is it the project doable?

It’s important to pick a project idea that can be done. Your final project idea should be something you can complete. It should also be a project you can, for the most part, direct.

Can you think of a rough action plan to make the project come to life? Do you know how to turn the idea into a result?

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There are many parts to whether a project will work:

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Time
  • Resources
  • Permissions

How many volunteers (approximately) are needed? How much money? Time? Parental help?

Each project needs a rough timeline when you expect to have everything completed. If a timeline for a possible project is extremely long, it might be better to choose a shorter project.

There is also a money constraint, as you are given a certain amount of grant funds from The Peterson League. Can the project, in that timeline, be completed with the possible funds available (the max for each age)? Can you complete the project if you receive less than the full amount?

If your project requires you get approval by a governing body before you can start, this can eat into your project time. You also have to have an alternative idea if you aren’t granted permission.

Will the project be a one-time thing or ongoing? If you want it to be ongoing, are there resources, volunteers, etc., available to make this happen?

Although these considerations can be overwhelming, it’s important to have a rough idea of whether the project can work, logistically, before you settle on an idea.

By thinking about these factors while choosing a project idea, you can help ensure the project’s success later on. The planning process will also help when it is time to fill out the grant application!

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After thinking about whether a project is doable, cross off any ideas you don’t think will work.

Hopefully, you will end up with one project idea that stood out from the rest. If you have many ideas left, go through the process again, but be more specific, or just pick your favorite!

If you’re left with zero viable ideas, try brainstorming again (Part 1) or one of TPL’s challenge grants!

 

 

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