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Behr

Santa Susana High School

Cultivating Community
Planning a Youth Event

Sarah Behr
AP English 12
Mr. White
20 Nov. 2015

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Introduction
For my senior project, I am planning a youth night for all of the youth groups in Simi Valley. I
am doing this project because my youth group has been a large part of my life all throughout
high school, guiding me through making difficult decisions and giving me a place to be myself
and make friends. I would like to impart that onto middle and high school students so they can
have the same kind of support that Ive had as Ive navigated teenage life. The outcome of my
project is going to be a one-night event in which all the youth groups in Simi Valley that can
participate bring the kids in their youth groups to play community-building games, listen to a
speaker, and meet new people. I will be decorating the venue, arranging for all entertainment,
getting any supplies, and securing incentives in the form of prizes for the students. This project is
a learning stretch because I have never planned a large event before, and I will have huge
learning curves in all aspects of the event, from interacting with venue providers and youth
pastors to coming up with activities for the night. Being young, it will also be interesting to see
how people will view me as I ask for their support, venue use and other assistances I will need.
To understand how teens socialize, so I can get them to participate in my event, I decided to
research positive qualities in teenage friendships, intimacy in teen friendships, how friendships
influence a teens life, characteristics of teenagers that can lead to negative friendships, and the
difference in male and female interactions. I also researched how to plan for an event, and what
to feature at an event as well as how to make an event successful.
Research
In friendships, there are certain qualities that allow for a healthy relationship. This applies
to friendships both on and off social media accounts, as many of the friends that teenagers
interact with online are friends that they have in real life (Reich, Subrahmanyam, and Espinoza

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365). Online sites have given teens that may not be comfortable talking to other people a way to
discuss deep issues and make friends (Novotney, et. al.). One ingredient that is thought to be part
of good friendships in the teenage years is empathy, as it allows teenagers to be able to resolve
disagreements in a better way, at least to the extent that the teens felt there was less fighting
between them and their friend (Chong, Ruhl, and Buhrmester). This empathy contributes to a
teens ability to help their friends through a tough time, and in telling their peers information that
they keep private to other people (Chong, Ruhl and Buhrmester). Other important characteristics
of teenage friendships are the belief that friends will be loyal and being in the presence of one
another (Laird, et. al.). Having constant friends for a longer amount of time is also an important
friendship aspect, as It is likely that friendships must be enduring in order for them to provide
the major benefits of having friends (Poulin and Chan 258). This stability is contributed to by
similarity, as teens that have friends who are more alike to each other tend to have longer
friendships than those who are less similar to one another. (Hafen, et. al. 611). Some areas of
friendship sameness are race or gender (Bauminger, et.al. 261). However, in a study that
measured teenage happiness in their friend relationships, it was found that people didnt choose
to be friends with other people who had happiness levels that were close to each other (Van
Workum et. al. 611).
Closeness is a prominent characteristic of teenage friendships (Poulin and Chan 409). This is
because during the teenage years, people tell their friends more about themselves in terms of hat
is going on in their mind, leading to intimacy (Poulin and Chan 411). This ability to give out
personal information to another friend, as well as the ability to help a friend through emotional
distress, are two qualities in a teenager that could lead to them having closer friendships (Chong
Ruhl, and Buhrmester). Closeness in terms of emotion, an important quality in teenage

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friendships, can also be encouraged by online interactions that are related to interacting with
other people. (Reich, Subrahmanyam, and Espinoza 364). However, both closeness and the
ability to feel what other people are feelings are developed by being with the other person faceto-face and the latter is something that is progressively being lost in Americans (Novotney).
According to one study, when teenagers have a good sense of how to be able to put themselves in
another persons place to understand why that person acted a certain way, it also led to friendship
in which more intimacy was felt (Chong, Ruhl, and Buhrmester). Intimacy can be furthered
when the teenagers have reached higher levels in their ego development, when they begin to
enjoy the variety in people, and they can zone in on their emotions and greater levels of thinking
(Novotney et. al.).
As teens form friendships, these close relationships influence various areas of their lives. For
one, friends can make the many changes that happen in a teenagers life easier on the teenager.
(Reich Subrahmanyam, and Espinoza 356). This may be because having people to fit in with and
be close to emotionally can lead to the sense that life isnt all just chaotic, and can also be a
source of belief that futures can be warped according to how you want them to be (Poulin and
Allesandra 414). The latter goes with the hopefulness and wanting to reach goals that may be
positive effects of friendships as well (Sun and Shek 5). This is beneficial as teenagers run into
more and more situations where they need to make plans for achieving a specific target in the
future, and having a good outlook for this future can contribute to teenagers growing up in the
right direction (Sun and Shek 1). If teenagers feel close in their relationships with their friends,
which is another important characteristic of friendships in general, they may feel more valuable,
and be able to figure out who they are in regards to being their own person (Poulin and Chan
410). Friends are very beneficial to teenagers in their growth, as they do have sway in areas of

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the teenagers life, such as in actions or their response to what happens to them. (Bauminger et.
al. 258-259). While its true that both parents and friends are people for teenagers to be close
with and receive all the aforementioned benefits from, the peers are the ones who provide an
opportunity for giving approval in a way that a parent may not be able to (Poulin and Chan 412).
Other positive effects are being less lonely, being less hostile and wanting to interact with others,
at least for friendships that remain the same over periods of time (Bauminger et. al. 265).
Friendships can also be a place where teenagers derive satisfaction (Van Workum et. al. 563).
Teenagers also had a good, opposed to a bad, view of school when having friendships of the
aforementioned nature (Bauminger et. al. 265).
There are also certain characteristics in teenagers that could impede their ability to make
friends. Depression in adolescents may influence the adolescents friendship in terms of its
constancy (Poulin and Chan 264). Rejecting socialization with peers may also lead to friendships
that are in a lesser condition, though they are still present (Poulin and Chan 265). Those who
participate in illegal activities, like underage drinking, may also have close friendships because
doing the illegal activities with their friends provides the sameness that friendships thrive on
(Hafen et. al. 611). Also, if a teenager is unhappy, they may have friendships of less value
compared to the friendships of happy people (Van Workum et. al. 563-564).
In regard to friendships, there are differences in how boys and girls interact with one another.
Girls tend to like to interact with friends in either pairs or small groups, and their friendships are
built upon closeness and telling each other about what theyre thinking or feeling (Bauminger et.
al. 263). It was also found that friend characteristics that were helpful led to good emotional
adjustment, even when there were also bad friendship qualities. (Hussong 409-410).

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On the other hand, boys interact with their peers typically in large groups, and the group centers
on playing a sport or doing an activity (Bauminger et. al. 263). Also, helpful characteristics of
friends related to good emotional adjustment when bad friend characteristics were not present
(Hussong 409). Boys friend relationships tend to change less in comparison to girls friend
relationships (Bauminger et. al. 264). In one study that measured antisocial behaviors and
friendships in teens, girls typically had more quality relationships with one friend and more than
one other friend, based on the teens answers they gave in the data collection (Laird et. al.).
However, in another study, it was found that girls had less constancy in their friendships
compared to boy friendships (Poulin and Chan 264).
There is a lot to think about before an event happens. When planning an event, an element to
think about is that in an event in which a large amount of people get together, there is more of a
chance of people sharing diseases that can be transmitted from one person to another (Hutton,
Brown and Verdonk 4). It is also a good idea to get groups of people to help with the project, but
if those who are carrying out the project with you dont run things so that there is adequate
contact with one another in deciding how to go about the project, then getting everyone and
everything together will be very hard to do (Munns and Bjeirmi 83). Another tool to utilize in the
planning process is different social media sites, which serve different purposes, and allow for
different audiences to be reached (McCarthy). Since people are often very different from one
another, having a survey for the intended event audience before the event takes place is a good
way to make sure that your event stays to what the people attending want (Sawyer). Another way
to get a lot of different people to be unified is to have a hashtag, which can make sure that
everyone is on the same page (Sawyer). Making an event hashtag is also helpful in that it allows
the coordinator to see what people are saying about their event (McCarthy).

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As far as what to feature at an event, a speaker who is engaging, rather than one who is not
will keep the audience from being turned off (Scholar). According to one study, peers may
actually be more inclined to listen to and act on what an adult of an older age says, rather than
what their friends say (Lourenco, et. al.). No matter what ends up being included in an event,
one way that events gain meaning is through the fact that they can lead to a feeling of community
among the attendees (Hutton, Brown and Verdonk 6). There are four main personality types that
need to be brought into question when thinking about activities, as well as the three learning
types. They are people who hold processes in high esteem, people who like to do and experience,
people who like to work together, and people who like to gain intelligence and seeing, hearing
and doing (Scholar). Another part of having an event that will be victorious in what it wants to
achieve is having realistic goals from the outset (Munns and Bjeirmi 82). One way to set goals
is with the SMART system- making goals as precise as possible, making them able to have
physical progress, making them so that they can be achieved, and making them so that they will
be achieved in a given time frame (Lamagna). After an event is over, the event planning doesnt
stop, as people still need clean up afterwards, and the people who helped plan the event must be
thanked for their assistance, in notes or other forms of communication (Tippie College of
Business). No matter what ends up being included in an event, one way that events gain meaning
is through the fact that they can lead to a feeling of community among the attendees (Hutton
Brown and Verdonk 6).
Application
I researched teenage friendship qualities because I wanted to know what contributed to
quality teenage friendships, and thus what should be promoted in my event. The bulk of what I
found in my research will be used to pick the activities for the night. To promote empathy, a

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positive characteristic in friendships, I will do an activity along the lines of everyone praying for
one another. I will also be choosing activities that promote shared interests, as long-lasting
friendships are built on sameness in both of the friends. Intimacy is also a large component of
teenage friendships that adds to satisfaction among friends and success in the relationship, so the
focus of the activities will be the youth getting to know one another. This has also cemented my
theme for the night, which will be community. I will also be handing out address books that
the youth can take down peoples phone numbers and social media accounts in, as I found that
there were many benefits of having friends in the adolescent years. The dissimilarity that I found
for males and females will be used in providing both what males like, which are large group
activities, and what females like, which are talking with small numbers of people, in my
activities for the night.
Then I researched two different aspects of event planning. One of these was how to plan an
event, as I had very limited knowledge as to how to go about it in a way that would produce
success. In finding out that disease transmission was an issue that could come up, I will be
making sure the venues bathrooms have both hand sanitizer and hand soap, so I can prevent
anyone from getting sick because they went to my event. I also discovered that I need to get
people to help me with planning and executing my event. That team will be put together in the
coming months, so I dont have to do everything, like decorating and activities, alone. However,
I know through my research what needs to get done is getting done in an effective and efficient
way. In researching how to plan an event, I also found that social media was very important, as it
can promote an event in the most effective way. I will be creating a Facebook, Instagram and
Twitter account specifically for the event, so that as many people as possible can be told about it.
There will also be a hashtag created for the event, so I can see what people are saying about it,

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and incorporate any suggestions that people may have into my event. I also researched what to
feature at the event, and I found that because people are so diverse, my activities will need to
have variety, to accommodate for different people. For example, I will want to engage both
people who like logic and people who like teamwork. My theme will also be presented in a
variety of ways, through the speaker for those who learn through hearing, through activities for
those who hear through doing, and in my dcor for those who learn by seeing. Lastly, in
researching event planning, I found that goals were very important, and I will be using the
SMART to set goals at all stages of my event.

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Works Cited
Bauminger, Nirit, Finzi-Dottan, Ricky, Chason, Sigit and Har-Even, Dov. Intimacy in
adolescent friendship: The roles of attachment, coherence, and self-disclosure. Journal
of Social and Personal Relationships 25.3 (2008): 409-428. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
Event Planning. Tippie College of Business, 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
Hafen, Christopher A., Laursen, Brett, Burk, William J., Keer, Margaret, & Stattin, Hakan.
Homophily in stable and unstable adolescent friendships: Similarity breeds constancy.
Personal and Individual Differences 51.1 (2011): 607-612. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
Hussong, Andrea M. Perceived Peer Context and Adolescent Adjustment. Journal of Research
on Adolescence 10.4 (2000): 391-415. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Hutton, Alison, Brown, Steve, & Verdonk, Naomi. Exploring Culture: Audience Predispositions
and Consequent Effects on Audience Behavior in a Mass-Gathering Setting. Prehospital
and Disaster Medicine 28.3 (2013) : 1-6. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Laird, Robert D., Pettit, Gregory S., Dodge, Kenneth A., Bates, John E. Best Friendships, Group
Relationships, and Antisocial Behavior in Early Adolescence. Journal of Early
Adolescence, 19.4 (1999): 413-427. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
Lamagna, Christy. Goal-setting, Part 2: S.M.A.R.T. ones get finished first. PlanYourMeeting,
14 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
Lourenco, Frederico S., Decker, Johannes H., Perdersen, Gloria A., Dellarco, Danielle V., Casey,
B. J., Hartley, Catherine A. Consider the Source: Adolescents and Adults Similarly
Follow Older Adult Advice More than Peer Advice. PLos One 10.6 (2015): n. pag. Web.
14 Sept. 2015.

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Marsh, Penny, Allen, Joseph P., Ho, Martin, Porter Maryfrances, and McFarland, Christy F. The
Changing Nature of Adolescent Friendships Longitudinal Links With Early Adolescent
Ego Development. Journal of Early Adolescence, 26.4 (2008): 414-431. Web. 30 Oct.
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McCarthy, Dan. 9 Social Media Event Marketing Tips to Promote Your Next Event. Event
Planners Association, 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
Munns, A.K. and Bjeirmi, B. F. The role of project management in achieving project success.
International Journal of Project Management 14.2 (1996): 81-87. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.
Novotney, Amy. R U friends 4 real?. Monitor on Psychology, 43.2 (2012): 62. Web. 30 Oct.
2015.
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Adolescence. Developmental Review 30.3 (2010): 257-272. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
Reich, S. M., Subrahmanyam, K. & Espinoza, G. Friending, IMing, and Hanging Out Face- to
Face: Overlap in Adolescents Online and Offline Social Networks. Developmental
Psychology, 48.2 (2012): 356-358. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.
Sawyer, Anna F. Fundamental Event Planning Tips: These Never Go Out of Style. guidebook,
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Scholar, Debi. Amping Up Attendee Engagement. Northstar Travel Media, 1 Apr. 2015. Web.
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Sun, Rachel C.F., Shek, Daniel T.L. Beliefs in the Future as a Positive Youth Development
Construct: A Conceptual Review. The Scientific World Journal (2012): 1-8. Web. Sept.
14 2015.

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Van Workum, N., Scholte, R. H. J., Cillessen, A. H. N., Lodder, Gerine M.A. and Giletta Mateo.
Selection, Deselection, and Socialization Processes of Happiness in Adolescent
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12 Nov. 2015.