Youth workers and Admin

Mountaineer, Youth worker and top bloke, Hutch posed a question about admin support for youth workers and it got me thinking!
type.jpg As a broad generalisation (and you can shoot me down in flames here) …..
GOOD YOUTH WORKER = NOT THE MOST GIFTED ADMINSTRATOR!
There are a few I know where they have both gifts but generally the two tend to me mutually exclusive, all youth workers can do admin BUT I reckon it’s often a struggle and normally a bit chaotic!
So the question of whether youth workers should get Admin support is an intersting one! In my last Church I had a building to run as well as doing yoof wurk and didn’t have any admin support. Thankfully the young people were absolutely fantastic and would regularly pitch in with inputting data, sorting stuff out or acting in a kind of consultancy role, “IAN YOU’VE FORGOTTEN TO …… BLAH BLAH BLAH. I even had one teenager who used to review documents for me and put stuff like Grammar and spelling in (thanks Tessa).
In my current job I have a quarter of an admin person’s time (in which she achieves at least double WHAT I could do administratively in that time) but I really need to take some time out to redesign my filing system, books, resources and computer folders!
Oooppps may have rambled a bit 🙂 BUT the point of this was, What’s the best Admin tip/trick you’ve learnt?
Do share (I have A LOT to learn)
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16 Replies to “Youth workers and Admin”

  1. Ian
    Here’s a few
    Best Resource I have read on the subject are youth ministry management tools and this has some helpful stuff even if it is American. The principles are good.
    Do not put off administratively what you could do today.
    File e-mails especially from church hierachy and your youthworkers and refer to stuff (it comes in handy believe me!. Sometimes even keep a hard copy!
    Clear your desk prior to annual leave and clean up e-mails from your in box. Makes things easier on return and less of a trial. The difference between 70 and 270 e-mails makes a psychological difference!
    If system allows – have different voicemail messages especially if you are on leave.
    Block in time for admin!!
    Have a traffic light system for stuff
    Respond – Release – Refuse/Rubbish.
    That’s all!!

  2. I’m a youth worker and I love administration (I don’t what that says, or maybe I do). I do know I am freak of nature when it comes to filling in forms because I love it! lol

  3. LOL – “stuff like grammar and spelling”!! Loving that turn of phrase. Grammar: always a pleasure, never a chore.
    I think someone ought to create a role named Youthwork Admin Assistant (or something along those lines). Maybe it’s the amount of time I’ve spent recently perusing a squillion jobs looking for something interesting sounding which makes me particularly sensitive to this topic, but it would seem to me to be a useful step into the field of youthwork via the sort of dogsbody route which seems to be mandatory for anyone trying to start a career in any area of work!

  4. My technique is about once a term get a bin bag and a shredder and that’s it – admin done!
    I find “setting aside time for admin” as recommended above just gets me down! Having things in nice files brings me no joy. But I’m trying to get better…
    I’m hoping for more serious comments here so I too can learn!

  5. On my desk I have 3 trays named ‘In’, ‘Out’ & ‘Too Hard’. Things that actually make it into the ‘In’ tray get “looked at” then either get done soon’ish & put into the ‘Out’ tray to magically disappear. Or fill me with horror and go into the ‘Too Hard’ tray. Then at the end of every month I place the contents of the ‘Too Hard’ tray carefully through the shredder & then lovingly into the recycling bin (got to your bit for the environment!). Any future reference to the “missing” admin gets met with a well rehearsed & frequently used blank & confused look, followed by mutterings of being late to meat a young person and a hasty exit…
    Works for me! Life’s to short for Admin!!
    Yours, probably soon to have an “interesting” appraisal…

  6. The Faithworks (Eden Failsworth) has Bryony, who is utterly organised and amazing and makes everything happen. Unfortunatly she only has time to do admin for some of the groups they run. It’s becoming general knowledge that every youth group needs a Bryony.
    Personally my life runs on ‘to do’ lists, mainly because I’m so forgetful. At work I had a page-to day-diary that was a running ‘to do’ list and general organiser.
    I keep my computer desktop clear apart from things that I have to work on. That way coursework bugs me until I’m done and the shortcut can be deleted!! (I move the icons I want to the start menu or quicklaunch bar and then use TweakUI to get rid of the desktop icons).

  7. I’ve heard of this admin of which you speak but I’m afraid know very little about it! I spent 5 years in my last post explaining that even though half the team (my wife) used to be a PA we just didn’t have the time to do all the admin, but administrative help it appeared was only for the vicar!
    After 18 months in my current post I got agreement to have 2 hours a week for 20 weeks, my hope is that at the end of the 40 hours I might at least be able to see what my desk is made of!
    I have to say I do like to know that things have a place and will be put there, just not by me!

  8. One of the best bits of advice I reeived was on a time management course with Lloyds Bank years ago. It was:
    Always do your phone calls first thing in the morning. Nobody really enjoys using the phone, especially for business calls, so its the job we put off the most.
    And the second piece of advice is like unto the first:
    Do your letter writing (e-mailing) next, because that’s the other job that we are always tempted t leave until later.
    I am a rubbish administrator, but I do find that if I can get those two out of the way first thing, they tend to push the rest of the admin along.
    Impressed with the Einstein quote btw. I said something very similar to previous boss (with a pristine desk). Great minds really do think alike!

  9. My other bit of advice(from me this time) is to try and find people with very different skills and outlook to myself. It is very tempting to surround ourselves with people like us, who won’t challenge our world view or criticise us. But people with a different outlook (even those that we might find frustrating) are more likely to have complementary skills to ourselves.
    Of great help to me in a previous church was a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. The combination of her fussy mindedness and my completely random approach to life could have been a complete disaster. In fact it worked very well. If I over-ran an activity or forgot something on my session plan, she had no problem with telling me loudly and clearly (which encouraged me to raise my game in order to avoid the public criticis). she also knew all the kids names and their birthdays and always took the register.
    In fact, if I had seriously thought I could persuade that church to look beyond what they saw as a mental disability (its not) then she would have mde an ideal child protection officer (at least in terms of ensuring that everybody had been checked and bypassing the usaul church fudges).

  10. :: I even had one teenager who used to
    :: review documents for me and put stuff
    :: like Grammar and spelling in
    I’m still chuckling at the idea that your documents contain no spelling or grammar. Does that mean they consist entirely of whitespace, punctuation and pictures?
    Rich

  11. thanks for the link Ian and glad I stirred some thinking. Amazing what impact any talk of admin brings to the majority of youthworkers!!

  12. Administra-what??
    hehe generally not a strong point… although, there a 4 categories of jobs: Urgent-Important, Urgent-NotImportant, NotUrgent-Important, NotUrgent-NotImportant.
    Mostly we do all the Urgent-NotImportant stuff first, ie. emailing back to friends or doing jobs for other people, followed by Urgent-Imprtant, and then the ones you really need to spend some time on to be effective are the Important-NotUrgent jobs.
    still working on putting this into practice…

  13. Administra-what??
    hehe generally not a strong point… although, there a 4 categories of jobs: Urgent-Important, Urgent-NotImportant, NotUrgent-Important, NotUrgent-NotImportant.
    Mostly we do all the Urgent-NotImportant stuff first, ie. emailing back to friends or doing jobs for other people, followed by Urgent-Imprtant, and then the ones you really need to spend some time on to be effective are the Important-NotUrgent jobs.
    still working on putting this into practice…

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