Big Give
October 21st, 2011

What is Youth work?

This is a good question! It can appear as a range of different things and some of those seem explainable whilst other elements are less easy to appreciate or evaluate. Sometimes it can just look like a whole lot of people messing about in canoes (as above) but i can assure you all has purpose as well as some fun along the way.

I am inspired to write this blog after reading a journal (if you are interested in learning more or are a youth worker – it is well worth a read) it really clearly states in a few bullet points what youth work is, now i am sure that we could argue over some of the finer points but i generally liked and agreed with the principles. So i thought i would choose one of the points and see how we apply it in the Canaan Project. The first point is about voluntary participation and i mentioned that in a blog as while back, the second is:

‘A commitment to conversations with young people which start from their concerns and within which both youth worker and young person are educated and out of which opportunities for new learning and experience can be created.’

This is integral in out mission ‘working with young people not on’. It is important to work with what young people bring and help them explore it further, for us this encompasses both he positive and the negative. I mean this might be that we tolerate a conversation that might considered negative longer than the average human being! In order to understand what the young person is saying and work to help the young person understand their comments and draw learning about it.┬áThis happen recently in a group situation, where a young man made a comment that was sexist and we worked with him and listened to his point of view and worked this through, to a point where he was less sexist (still some work to do I think), but there was a tonal change. At the start of the conversation he said ‘all women should be in the kitchen’ to the end of the conversation he was saying ‘some women like being in the kitchen’. He will be top of the list for the new Cooking Club!