August 20th, 2010

Summer of Fun!

Firstly, thanks to James G (the Northern One) for the blog last week, if you have not read it – do! He is an amazing volunteer and a good friend and encourager!

Wow – the summer  holidays are drawing to a close. We have run several projects this summer, some residential trips as well as our on going provision on the Teviot Estate. It has seemed to be particularly difficult to engage young people in activities this summer. There seems to have been a higher level of lethargy than normal. As I have been talking to other youth workers around the borough and London more widely I do not seem to be on my own in thinking this.

I wonder if we sometimes forget that young people access our service for social reasons – to hang out with their friends. If every time you went to the pub, someone came in asking if you would like to gain an accreditation for this or that, or if you could fill in this form, or give your opinion about this or that as well as giving you a massive menu of a multitude of events and trips to do or go to, maybe that would put you off your pint (or what ever you may drink)?!

As youth workers we want to see young people develop and progress, to experience new things, gain life skills and accreditations… But we have been reminded this summer that we also need to recognise a balance between structured activities and programmes and having no agenda other than to provide space for young people to just “be”.