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What is YAC?
The Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) is the only club for young people interested in archaeology. We have a network of local clubs across the UK where 8–16 year olds can get their hands mucky doing real archaeology. Each club is run by a team of adults; either volunteers or paid staff at museums and other organisations. You can find the location of local clubs on our interactive map.
YAC also uses this website and an e-newsletter to keep young people and interested adults up-to-date with archaeological news and activities. Explore the website for ideas of hands-on activities, places to go, and competitions. You can sign up to receive our free e-newsletter at the bottom of this page.
Who runs the local YAC clubs?
Most of our YAC clubs are run by teams of adult volunteers. Our volunteers complete an application form and provide two references and undergo regular criminal record checks. Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds; some are professional archaeologists, others work in museums or schools. Many are just interested in archaeology and volunteer with YAC to further their own knowledge and experience. Find out more about volunteering with us below.
Some of our YAC clubs are run in partnership with another organisation, such as a museum or heritage site. These YAC clubs might be run by a combination of paid staff and volunteers.
All of our YAC clubs offer the same types of awesome archaeological activities for young people!
How does YAC keep children safe?
The Council for British Archaeology works very hard to make sure that every child who attends a YAC club is safe, happy and well cared for.
- Health and safety. Every YAC session is thoroughly risk assessed and there is a trained First Aider at every session.
- Volunteer recruitment. Every YAC Leader goes through a thorough application process, including providing two references and regular criminal record checks. Our Leaders also sign up to YAC’s Code of Behaviour. Some YAC clubs are run by other established education providers, such as museums, and these are run by staff and volunteers who go through their organisation’s recruitment checks.
- Insurance. YAC is covered by the Council for British Archaeology’s Public Liability insurance to the value of £5 million and by its Employer’s Liability insurance to the value of £10 million. A copy of the insurance certificate is sent out to each club. If you have any queries about insurance, please get in touch with YAC HQ.
- Training and guidance. Our YAC clubs are provided with Child Protection and First Aid training, and guidance is available to all our clubs in our Handbook.
- Emergency support. YAC has a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) based at the Council for British Archaeology in York, who is specially trained to support children, parents and volunteers if a child is thought to be at risk. If you have any concerns about a child or an adult involved in a YAC club please contact Mike Heyworth, DSO and Director of the Council for British Archaeology, on 01904 521232 or 07793 817510. Our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer is CBA Deputy Director, Gill Bull; she can be reached on 01904 521234 or 07770 249307.
- Child Protection Policy. The CBA's full Child Protection Policy can be downloaded from the YAC website.
How often do YAC clubs meet and what do they do?
Most of our YAC clubs meet once a month, usually for two hours on a Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes YAC clubs run whole-day events. Our YAC clubs do all sorts of archaeological activities, including visiting and investigating archaeological sites and historic places, trying out traditional crafts, taking part in excavations, and lots more. Each club has a different programme of activities. Contact your local club to find out more.
Where do YAC clubs meet?
YAC clubs meet in a range of different places, including universities, museums, and village halls. Some have a regular venue, some move around and use a different venue for each meeting. You will need to contact your local club to find out about where they are meeting.
Do I have to accompany my child to YAC meetings?
No. YAC meetings are just for children and young people aged 8 – 16. Your child will be well looked after by your local team of volunteers, all of whom are carefully recruited and trained by YAC HQ.
Speak to your local YAC team if you feel your child needs extra support to attend YAC sessions, and you would therefore prefer to stay with them. YAC volunteers are not able to help children with medical or personal care, except emergency First Aid. If your child needs this kind of help a parent or guardian will need to accompany them at sessions.
How much does it cost for my child to join?
YAC is a charity and runs on a not-for-profit basis. Each YAC club sets its own charges depending on their circumstances. These charges are often a combination of an annual membership fee and a per-session charge. For example, some clubs need to pay room hire, and others need to cover the costs of materials. Contact your local club to find out what their charges are.
YAC also runs regular fundraising activities in order to meet the running costs for the whole organisation, so your local volunteers may ask for your help with fundraising occasionally.
I've tried to contact my local YAC club, but no-one is getting back to me. What should I do now?
Please bear in mind that the majority of YAC clubs are run by volunteers who fit YAC in at weekends around their very busy lives. It might take them a while to get back to you.
If you don’t hear back from your local club please contact YAC’s head office by email on email@example.com or telephone 01904 671 417.
Is there support for children with disabilities or additional needs?
YAC welcomes children with disabilities and additional needs. If your child wishes to join a local club, please get in touch with the leadership team of the club in question to find out more and discuss any adjustments they might need to make to help your child access the sessions.
The leadership team will ask you for advice on how to support your child, for example what works best for them at home or school. They may ask you to stay at sessions with your child to provide additional support if needed.
YAC volunteers are not able to help children with medical or personal care, except emergency First Aid. If your child needs this kind of help a parent or guardian will need to accompany them at sessions.
How can I volunteer with YAC?
YAC volunteers work at local clubs. Find out where your nearest club is on our interactive map. Contact them to discuss what it’s like to be a YAC volunteer and whether they have any opportunities. Applications are only processed with the agreement of the Leader of the club to which you are applying.
Your local Leader will certainly want to meet you, and is likely to invite you along to observe a session. If you and the Leader decide to go ahead, then you will need to send an application form in to YAC HQ at the Council for British Archaeology.
YAC takes Child Protection seriously and asks all volunteers to go through a formal application process, which includes providing two references and undergoing an enhanced criminal record check. This is a standard procedure for most organisations that work with children and helps us ensure the safety of everyone involved. Once you have submitted your application form, the Leader and YAC staff will guide you through the rest of the process.
The criminal record checking process differs slightly for each country of the UK. When the CBA receives your application, we will send out the appropriate paperwork to you, which you will need to complete with your local Leader. Our DBS checks in England and Wales are completed online using an umbrella body called Mayflower. If you are a member of the Disclosure and Barring Service’s Update Scheme (in England and Wales), or the PVG Scheme (in Scotland), then we will ask for your permission to request an Update.
If there is no club near you, you might like to consider setting up one of your own! Check out ‘How do I set up a new YAC club?’ below.
Do I need to be an archaeologist to volunteer?
No. YAC volunteers come from all walks of life. To be a YAC volunteer you need enthusiasm for working with young people and the ability to be a good role model, an enthusiasm for archaeology, and the ability to work in a team. Oh, and some time to spare!
What support does YAC provide for volunteers?
Young Archaeologists’ Club policies, procedures and guidance are all available online in the Leaders’ Area of our website.
YAC volunteers are very welcome to contact YAC HQ at the Council for British Archaeology for advice by email or phone. People who run YAC clubs can join our private Facebook group, where you can discuss any issues with other YAC leaders and volunteers, and can also sign up to our regular volunteers' newsletter.
YAC provides First Aid and Child Protection training for volunteers in our CBA-managed clubs; we also organise bespoke face-to-face training sessions on a range of topics as funding allows, including an annual Leaders' Weekend.
I have a disability, can I still volunteer?
YAC welcomes volunteers with disabilities. Please get in touch with the volunteer team at your local club to find out more and discuss any adjustments they might need to make to help you access the sessions.
I’m 16, can I volunteer?
Yes, you can become a YAC Assistant from the age of 16 and a YAC Leader from the age of 18.
How do I set up a new YAC club?
There are two types of YAC branches (or clubs):
- CBA-managed YAC branches (or clubs) which are run by volunteers and supported by the Council for British Archaeology with insurance, child protection systems and more.
- Affiliated YAC branches (or clubs) which are run by local established education providers, museum services for example, which have their own insurance, child protection and health and safety systems.
YAC HQ, at the Council for British Archaeology, provides all YAC branches with:
- a listing on the YAC website
- use of the Council for British Archaeology and Young Archaeologists' Club names, logo and marketing materials
- a dedicated area of our website which includes guidance on running your YAC and more than 100 activity ideas
- training and resources to inspire your YAC sessions
- networking with other YAC clubs through our private Facebook group, eNewsletter and annual Leaders' Weekend.
CBA-managed YAC branches are also provided with:
- Public and Employer's Liability Insurance
- guidance to ensure child protection and health and safety law is met
- safe recruitment procedures: administering volunteer application forms, criminal record disclosures and references
- designated safeguarding officer
- child protection training
- First Aid training
- Use of the Council for British Archaeology name and charity number
More information is available in our Setting up a new YAC branch document.
Please contact YAC HQ at the Council for British Archaeology to discuss your ideas. You can contact YAC staff by calling 01904 671417 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
YAC staff will advise you to read through all of the information in the Leaders' Area of the website. This should give you a good idea of what's involved in running a YAC branch. We also recommend that you contact an existing branch to speak to the adults involved. You can find contact details for each YAC on our interactive map.
How can I make a donation to support YAC’s work?
Your donation can make a huge difference to YAC:
- £10 allows us to recruit a new volunteer leader
- £20 pays for a Child Protection course
- £100 puts a volunteer through First Aid Training
You can choose to donate to us in a number of ways:
- Set up a standing order on an annual, six-monthly, quarterly or monthly basis. Just download our standing order form, complete and return to us.
- Donate via text with Just Text Giving: send a free text to ARCH11 followed by the amount you wish to donate, either £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070, e.g. 'ARCH11 10'
- Donate securely online via the ‘Big Give’
- Or call us on 01904 671417 to donate with a credit or debit card
If you are a UK tax payer, don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation. By using Gift Aid, YAC gets an extra 25p from the government in tax relief for every pound you give – and it doesn’t cost you anything.
Do you have any resources for teachers?
Teachers are very welcome to use YAC's activities, which cover a wide range of archaeological and historical themes. There are two areas of the website for you to browse:
- Things to do: these are archaeology activities written for children aged 8 - 16, everything from baking historic cakes to analysing poos from the past!
- Session resources and ideas: these are resources written for, and often by, our YAC clubs for running activities and projects with YAC members.
You might also like to explore our Home Front Legacy 1914-18 project microsite on the YAC website. It is packed with resources, session plans, activity ideas and inspiration to help you to design and deliver lessons about the First World War Home Front.
If you do use any of our activies, please let us know how you get on and consider making a donation to help us keep up the good work!