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Engaging Youth

Engage and Involve Students in SRTS Activities

A group of children on bicycles inside a gymnasiumEngaging youth in Safe Routes to School programs is an important step in promoting active transportation, increasing kids physical activity and educating them on traffic safety. Younger kids tend to be very energetic and curious and it is usually easier to get them involved and excited about SRTS activities. However, engaging older students can be a challenge because they think walking and biking activities are “uncool.” They may resist advice from adults or teachers about where to walk and bike or even safety tips. If students are provided the knowledge and resources to help plan and develop SRTS programs, they will be more encouraged and likely to be involved and supportive of active transportation.

Two young girls riding bicycles on a school sidewalkThe National Center for Safe Routes to School developed a Tip Sheet for Engaging Middle School Students [.pdf] in Safe Routes to School programs. The tipsheet lays out their top five tips for getting students involved in SRTS programs and activities:

  • Tip 1 - Provide opportunities for self-expression and self-determination.
  • Tip 2 - Create hands-on learning experiences that are personally relevant.
  • Tip 3 - Highlight the connection between SRTS and social, cultural or environmental issues that may be important to students.
  • Tip 4 - Foster positive interactions between middle school students and their peers and provide opportunities for peer identification and acceptance.
  • Tip 5 - Be sensitive to the vulnerability, awkwardness and self-consciousness that often accompany the middle school years.

Do you have a local success story to share about engaging youth in SRTS? Submit a brief summary to saferoutes.dot@state.mn.us.