Perspective on Residential Centres

I’ve been invited to lead an informal seminar for Residential centre managers at a conference. My brief is to facilitate a look from the users perspective. So far I’ve only sorted out the opening.
Everyone arranged in a circle seated on chairs. I stand up and in a confessional stylee say,
Hello everyone [hesitant pause] my name is Ian …
(the circle all respond “Hello Ian”)
… and I’ve been a really heavy user of residential centres for the last twenty years, sometimes two or three a year!”
(Group nods in an understanding sort of way)
Sunbury.jpg Now all I need is some content! That’s where you fellow users of residential centres come in! If you have EVER taken a group away (and can spare 2 mins) can you answer these questionettes please?
1. What makes a good/attractive residential centre?
2. What are your biggest gripes about places you’ve used?
3. What have centres done that made your visit better/easier?
4. What elements have made a stay more difficult?
5. What youthworkery piece(s) of advice would you give residential centres?

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5 Replies to “Perspective on Residential Centres”

  1. 1. Accessibility, Cleanliness, Practicality (Accomodation(usual gender stuff) & Meeting Space)
    2. Lack of Equipment – You end up carrying your own!
    3. Hospitality and Working with your aims and objectives for the resi
    4.Inflexibility and Lack of Understanding of Needs of Teenagers
    5. Have a couple people on the team that have an up-to-date knowledge of youthwork and ministry.
    Laters

  2. 1. Lots of room space for different activities
    2. Some bedrooms having little or no heating
    3. friendly staff
    4. dining space also used as a meeting space
    5. the more info given about the venue, the better.

  3. 1. What makes a good/attractive residential centre?
    Something funky about it that’s a bit different. Friendly staff who are happy to help and answer a question eve if it is the dumbest question in the world.
    2. What are your biggest gripes about places you’ve used?
    Places I’ve used I have no gripes about – they’ve all been good :oD
    3. What have centres done that made your visit better/easier?
    Flexibility that shows an understanding of the complexities of getting young people to commit; Clear instructions; friendly billing policy that makes costs clear; Willingness to be in contact as ofetn as you need and welcome pre-event site visits; clear details of what equipment is available and for how much. Clear regulations for residents so that you can contract with the young people.
    4. What elements have made a stay more difficult?
    er… difficulty contacting staff (gosh I must have had good experiences!!) especially if there are other groups around and you need to share facilities. It helps to know who is “supposed” to have which room.
    5. What youthworkery piece(s) of advice would you give residential centres?
    Have a clear list of the equipment you have (games etc) so that we don’t have to bring things you have.
    Have lists of local activities and activity centres and churches that might be youth friendly! A pack to give those running residentials would be FABULOUS!
    Special spaces in car parks for minibuses :oD
    If I think of anything else I’ll get back to you!

  4. I think the best is when there are skilled youthworkers (not just instructors) who run the event/activities to give the you time as the worker to become part of the group and build deeper relationship

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