Welcome to the Forum.
I know in the masjid I've been to they formulated a youth halaka group for al lthe teens to meet. And they did Friday evenings but would play sports etc. It was for boysand girls though separate..
I think that what is important is to have it listed the goals and stated purpose. Sometimes parents don't see the real need to the Muslim young people to have a space where they can make friends with other Muslims their ages. They may come to the masjids with their families for for classes but they don't make friends per say with the their peers. And thus during those volatile teenage years they are more apt to loose focus.
And many parents do not really understand the powerful lure the western culture can have on our young folks. The kids hide it from their parents, and often the parents don't ask, or are too busy to pay attention.
Write up a description of the program for folks.
I would also suggest that you bring the young people in as to creating the atmosphere of the group. As you said, you don't want it to just be another lecture. Also I think it would be good that you do things beyond just "discussing the issues." Part of what is not strong in the Muslim community is how to bring people together in a "not so heavy" way. Play some sports, do an Islamic art project together, do a communityservice together. DO something not just talk. Just "talking" can be an awkward thing for many folks. And when you DO something together you as the adult advisor, can see how they interact. See what ARE the kids talking about.. is it really Islam or boys and rock stars?
And if they feel it is fun and inviting they will come back. You can do something like, the group can vote for 2 either activities or topics and you or the leader choose two. This way THEY feel empowered. Of course you areguiding them, so no you won't be going to see the Jonas Brothers. (I never heard of them until I wasat the masjid with thr yung people...lol)
Friady nights are a good night as they don't have school and often fRiday nights is a "loose" night for teens and they are looking for something to do.
And they are American, and if there parents are more recent immigrants they don't understand the struggles their kids face. I'd say it would be talking to parents and explaining it to them. And the value of having a MUslim space, and most will see the value of having a place for their Muslim children to go to that had Islamic values.
Strart with who comes and is interested and build from there. Once kids know about it they'll want to come.
May Allah reward you for you efforts.
I"ll stop here..
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi