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October 10th, 2010

Volunteers – Reason 3

The third reason I love working with volunteers is, they are not Professional Youth Workers. Now this may sound slightly strange, but hear me out (or read me out)! I gave my details to another Youth Organisation on behalf of some young people, the Youth Worker that rang me up to invite these young people to an event thought I was one of the young people. He spoke to me with a noticeably different tone, which can only be described as patronizing to me.

This got me thinking about the Canaan Project volunteers. I think because they have normal jobs outside of Canaan Project activities they tend to speak to young people much more like they are adults. Now I am not talking about them using inappropriate language or anything, like swearing for example.

They have great relationships with young people and part of that is down to how they tend to speak to young people, well in the way I hear them speak to young people. I think this comes down to respect. This is not to say that other trained youth workers don’t speak to young people with respect, I count myself in that category. But I wonder if through training and constant dealing with young people a Professional Youth Worker may adopt a certain tone that could alienate some young people. In the daily grind (and it is a grind) somehow a Professional may become a little disrespect in their tone.