Leisure facility for children and young people

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A house for young people
in Hamburg-Hamm

A children's and youth recreational facility is understood to be a facility for open child and youth work . Often such devices are also called youth center , youth center ( JZ , JUZ , JuZe ) Jugendcafé , Jugendtreff , Jugendklub , Jugendfreizeitstätte , Jugendfreizeitheim ( JFH ), children Freizeitheim designated or similar. Some school shops are also institutions for open child and youth work.

As Open House Houses (HoT), they offer children and young people low-threshold offers and programs. Often, individual institutions specialize in certain age and target groups (e.g. young people, gap children , girls, ...) and often express this in their own name. The offers of the respective institution are designed accordingly.

Sections 11–15 ( youth work and youth social work ) of the KJHG (Child and Youth Welfare Act ) are the legal basis for most institutions across the country.


The sponsors of youth leisure facilities are usually municipalities (cities or municipalities) as well as churches or other independent youth welfare organizations (e.g. DRK , ASB , local associations ...). The technical supervision usually has the local youth welfare office or the community youth care. Using the instrument of the youth welfare committee , among other things, the funding for the individual institutions is determined.

As there is - in contrast to the legal right to a kindergarten place - in Germany so far no binding obligation for the municipalities to operate youth leisure facilities, facilities are repeatedly threatened with closure - in the course of general austerity measures.

Working approaches

Typical work focuses and the associated socio-educational concepts of children's and youth recreational facilities are often a combination of several of the following approaches:

  • Prevention and leisure education: Alternatives to "hanging around" and boredom through attractive programs (e.g. discos , holiday programs, children's and youth camps, group offers ) as well as non-binding meeting opportunities in the café with play facilities ( table football , table tennis , billiards and games rental are typical at the Counter)
  • Advice and individual help: in difficult life situations and with problems typical of young people (e.g. transition from school to work, parents , drugs , love and sex , legal issues)
  • Culture and subculture : Realization of youth cultural events (e.g. concerts , music festivals , youth theater)
  • Education : Seminars and workshops on topics relevant to young people (e.g. group leader training , application training, self-defense course , internet seminar)
  • Participation : Participation, opportunities to participate in programs and projects, in teams and working groups (e.g. café team, disco team, concert working group) and possibly in committees or the youth house association
  • Party-zipation: rooms and free spaces for teenagers and young adults, (e.g. rentals and private use of rooms outside of opening hours, room allocation to different user groups, rehearsal rooms for local school bands)
  • Community orientation and networking : Cooperation with schools , associations, institutions and local initiatives on youth issues, service and rental of play equipment or event technology for youth and cultural events
  • Media educational projects: Introduction and training of young people in handling the future-oriented new media (film projects, Internet, website design, etc.)

Self-managed youth houses

The term self-governing means that no social pedagogues have decision-making power in the youth center. Instead, it is mostly the counter service or the board of directors or a general assembly of young people who decide on the use of the finances, based on democracy. In this context, young people can discover themselves and their abilities. They also learn how democracy works, how to assert interests that others accept and that not everything can be fair to everyone. Often there is a lack of financial means because the cities only support such institutions to a limited extent (or not at all).

The oldest self-administered youth center still in existence in Germany is that of Aktion Jugendzentrum Backnang e. V. , founded and entered in the register of associations on April 6, 1971. Also in 1971, the self-administered Aktion Jugendzentrum Neumünster e. V. (AJZ), as well as on November 15, 1971 the youth club Wadrill e. V.

In the 1970s, the question of self-administration and co-determination was often one of the main lines of conflict between groups that favor peaceful cooperation or coexistence with the communal authorities, such as the Working Group of Young Socialists of the SPD (Jusos) and the Socialist German Workers' Youth (SDAJ ) on the one hand and the left-wing radical or spontaneousist groups or individual young people who rely on confrontation and often also still continuous class struggle.

Self-government was repeated in the 1970s and in some cases persistent attempts to enforce with squatting (e.g. in Bremen the Haus Auf den Häfen, in West Berlin the Georg-von-Rauchhaus , the Tommy-Weisbecker-Haus , the Putte in Wedding, the workers' youth center Bielefeld and the Erich-Dobhardt-Haus Dortmund).

Mobile youth centers

Youth, culture and work center Grenzallee in Berlin

In areas where there are no permanent youth centers, mobile youth centers (in the form of buses, for example) can bring their functions to the spot and thus give access to children and young people who otherwise live too far away.

One example of this is the mobile youth center Of (f) Road , a joint project of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie and the Düsseldorf youth welfare office for the north of Düsseldorf. A converted former bus offers games, contacts, a cozy seating area and internet access.

Youth cultural works and centers

The so-called youth cultural centers and centers represent a special kind of children's and youth recreational facilities, the focus of which is on a wide range of cross-generational and cross-national offers in the cultural and sporting fields as well as in the creative, artisanal and creative fields; in their own workshops and technical rooms, these offer an inexpensive or even free alternative to commercial facilities. The "Youth, Culture and Work Center Grenzallee" in Berlin can be seen as a good example of such a center.

Target groups

Youth leisure facilities as low-threshold offers particularly reach disadvantaged, socially disadvantaged young people who are often excluded elsewhere ( exclusion ). The typical visitor structure of a youth recreational facility with its high proportion of young people from migrant families of multi-cultural origins, a disproportionate proportion of secondary and special school students and a high proportion of behavior-difficult to violent, preferably male adolescents, reflects overall social imbalances.

Depending on the facility and the focus of work, additional young people target groups are addressed with additional offers. In “ gender mainstreaming ” with gender-specific work with girls and, in recent years, increasingly through work with boys, attempts have been made to improve equal opportunities for both sexes.

Children's offers (Lücke meetings) and teen clubs are aimed at younger age groups. In some institutions there are upper age restrictions in order to counteract the displacement of children by young people. Courses and special one-on-one events are often aimed at adults or volunteers.


As a rule, social pedagogues , social workers , youth and home educators and educators or other educational specialists are employed as full-time educational staff in children's and youth leisure facilities . Often part of the work is carried out and made possible by federal volunteers, FSJ'men , volunteers and committed individuals.


Various youth institutions are in turn joined together in working groups or associations (e.g. AOJA in the district of Tübingen, district youth associations, state youth associations). Work aids (e.g. ABC of the youth centers) are often published there or other advisory services are made.

Web links

Commons : Children's and youth recreational facilities  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dirty feet . In: Der Spiegel . No. 32 , 1971 ( online ).
  2. Creative donation idea: Düsseldorfer Sparkasse for the youth. In: Kaiserswerther Mitteilungen, 3/2009 (143rd volume).
  3. Donation projects : Youth work becomes mobile - the “Off-road Bus” project is picking up speed ( memento of October 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). To: Kaiserswerther Diakonie - Help from here. .
  4. http ://www. limitallee.com/ (youth, culture and work center Grenzallee, Berlin)