SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Independence

SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Independence (PDF)

To be independent, young people must have confidence in their abilities and know how to use them in real-world situations. Independence grows by steps and begins with making small decisions that can turn into life-changing decisions. Your encouragement builds members’ self-confidence. By exercising independence, young people learn self-discipline and responsibility, better understand themselves, and become independent thinkers.

Best Practices for Independence Ways Volunteers Can Promote Independence
  • SPIN clubs provide young people an opportunity to do something they are personally interested in.
  • Share your enthusiasm for the topic with your SPIN club members.
  • Involve them in hands-on learning.
  • Encourage them to ask questions, share what they are learning, and think about how they might use their knowledge in other areas of their lives.
  • Young people need opportunities to practice independence in a safe environment.
  • Involve young people in decision-making.
  • Provide opportunities for young people to be responsible. There is a close link between independence and responsibility. Some examples are
    • Getting supplies and equipment ready.
    • Explaining directions to others who may need individual attention.
    • Leading an activity.
    • Demonstrating a process to others.
  • Young people need your encouragement.
  • Praise is a powerful motivator. We all like to know we are doing well. Use praise liberally.
  • Encouragement is even more important when things are not going well. Encourage a young person who is struggling by offering suggestions or talking through their ideas for what might work.

Adapted with permission from University of Illinois Cooperative Extension.