Check List

Working with the youth service means filling in a form after each session, it records numbers attending, outcomes, accreditation, areas for future development and the like. It also has a list of youth type issues so that you can run through them, ticking subjects that have been engaged with during the session.
Typically the list will be something like this:
SCHOOL
NON ATTENDANCE
FAMILY ISSUES
SPORT
YOUTH ACTIVITIES
EDUCATION
DISABILITY
ANTI RACISM
RACIAL AWARENESS
LESBIAN, GAY ISSUES
BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER
WOMEN AND GIRLS
EMPLOYMENT
UNEMPLOYMENT
HOUSING
HOMELESS
SUBSTANCE USE
ALCOHOL
SEXUAL HEALTH
HEALTH EDUCATION
TEENAGE PREGNANCY
CITIZENSHIP
CRIME
OTHER
I now also have to fill one in on a monthly basis for the mentoring work that I do.
Anyway it got me thinking that I might go back over the last couple of months of blogging and see how many I’ve covered (as it’s my aim to write about youthwork and youth ministry). I also wondered what the list would look like if we were to design a Youth Ministry conversation check list? Obviously it would contain lots of other elements as well but would it include the above, to see if discipleship and ministry flow into and cover all issues that young people face?

6 Replies to “Check List”

  1. “Working with the youth service means filling in a form after each session”. Does that mean that working for the church, we don’t have to..? 🙂

  2. Is such a list a good thing? Does it not take the spontenaity (or however that’s spelt!) out if you go into a talk thinking “I must speak about homelessness tonight because we haven’t ticked that box since July 7th”?
    Interesting to note that the list doesn’t contain “regular” sexual relationships, just sexual health, gay/bisexual sex and transgender issues.
    On a totally un-related thought, isn’t “substance use” such a wonderfully meaningless phrase. I am almost constantly using objects which have substance; chairs, tables, pens… 🙂

  3. Good point and one that I certainly struggle with (or at least oscillate wildly between two opposing views on).
    The value of those tick boxes is that somebody can collate them further down the line and write a report to say what issues we have dealt with in working with the young people. Not so sure about the value of that in a church setting, where the only person likely to read it is me.
    On the other hand, as you rightly point out, the categories do tend to reflect the agenda of the government, or the culture of the organisation, rather than the young people themselves. If youth work genuinely starts with the young people themselves, then the things that we talk about should reflect their needs.
    On the other other hand, we need to have some kind of simple summary report, so that we can reflect on and improve our work. Whether it should be a tick box, or more narrative in nature is another matter.

  4. I take your point that “somebody can … write a report to say what issues we have dealt with”, but you need to be careful with what you do with that report. The fact that you haven’t addressed a particular issue isn’t necessarily evidence of an area in which you’re lacking – it could simply be that it’s not an issue which is relevant to / concerning your young people.

  5. Yes, I agree that you have to be careful how the report is used. It can very easily be a case of the tail wagging the dog, where we have to do a session on [for instance] Lesbian / Gay issues because we haven’t ticked that box recently.
    Ideally it ought to work the other way: If we haven’t ticked the box, it means that these are not issues that affect a significant number of young people and this knowledge can be used to further refine and develop our work.
    On the other hand, if my church tick list included headings like JESUS, WORSHIP, PRAYER, etc, would I feel comfortable handing in a form, with some, or all, of those left unticked?

  6. And another thing…
    Having just returned from my bit of youth service partnership work, I note that West Berks have revised their form slightly. The tick list is mostly the same, but now organised under 5 headings taken from the government green paper (Be healthy, Stay safe, Enjoy and achieve, Positive contribution, Economic wellbeing) – again to facilitate the monitoring of compliance with the new regs.
    Not sure if that was done before or after Ian’s original posting.

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