Youth Media Still Matters: Elevating the Voices and Identities of Young People in Disruptive Times

  • Description

When schools, colleges and youth organizations shut down en masse in March 2020 in response to the emerging pandemic, none of us had any idea what lay ahead. Amid all the uncertainty, one thing quickly became clear: With opportunities to meet in person sharply curtailed, teens and young adults needed new outlets to connect, collaborate and find their creative voice more than ever.

Using Zoom and other digital platforms, Spy Hop mentors delivered instruction remotely and students collaborated virtually on projects and performances. While the experience wasn't always the same, Spy Hop programming was able to reach a larger group of students who were no longer limited from participating by their geography.

Through surveys, interviews and focus groups with Spy Hop mentors and students, we have assembled a comprehensive picture of the outcomes from Spy Hop programming in 2020 and 2021. In the course of our evaluation, we have found that Spy Hop continues to play an invaluable role in youth development and media skills.

While Spy Hop programming continues to have indelible and far-reaching effects on youth participants in Utah and beyond, we believe the organization can deepen its impact even further by following a few suggestions. These include supporting youth employment opportunities beyond high school, broadening access to Spy Hop for students with fewer resources and being more intentional about mentor development.

Youth Media Still Matters: Elevating the Voices and Identities of Young People in Disruptive Times