Adjusted one v1
May 27th, 2010

Pressure

We are going on a Residential Trip next week for 3 days. It is very exciting for us as workers as well as for the young people. It is often a golden time to build relationship with young people. Sharing experiences, fears and tribulations together connects people in special ways.

In preparation for this trip, we invited a number of young people to come based on attendance and behaviour at our sessions throughout the last year. We picked the final group and spoke to them. Several of them expressed that they would not come unless we invite one of the young people that has had poor behaviour and poor attendance. Having explained that this would not be fair and is not going to happen they have all decided to abstain from the trip.

This has saddened me. I think these young people are missing out due to misplaced loyalty. If the roles were reversed I have a suspicion they would be dropped in a second. This loyalty is to be admired in so many cases but is often the base of so many issues. Whether it be hiding a knife or lying to parents or police on behalf of a ‘friend’, these feelings are so strong and very real. The other day a young person referred to me as ‘fam’ – short for family. These relationships are more than friendship, they are felt as family. The shared experiences, fears and tribulations build these family ties even stronger. The challenge for the Canaan Project is to work in the midst of these relationships and challenge when appropriate, but also to affirm.