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"Open" or "closed" social settings?

Since 1991 KUP has tried out various support efforts aimed at helping at-risk youngsters. We have experienced that activities in “closed groups” are much more effective than activities in “open social settings”. Small groups based on membership and clear rules of interaction are good settings for building healthy and close relationships. It is also easy to maintain social control and create a safe atmosphere in a rather small, fixed social setting. 

From 1994 to 1999, KUP ran an “open house” project for endangered youth in Kristiansand, but decided to close it down because the results were not solely positive. We got in touch with many at-risk youngsters, but we did not manage to give them proper support. At times we did not know enough about what happened in this context, and we were not able to prevent or control bad incidents that might occur. KUP therefore decided to use its resources to establish more “closed group activities” (activity groups, boys groups, girls groups, homework groups, etc.).