A to Z Youth Work: F

F: Funding

I’m not sure why Funding has the word ‘fun’ in it? The quest for funding is a tough slog for youth work projects ….but an essential one

The deep mysteries of funding include why you can more easily fund buildings than the workers needed to staff them, and why it is easier to get funding for a new (and untried) project than an existing (and succesful) one.
If you have someone on the team who is good at fundraising then you are very blessed. The time taken to research obscure data required by the forms and to fill in the complex applications is considerable.
If you have a local VYS (council for voluntary youth services) join as they are often excellent pointers to funding sources.

What a Rush

Made it to the cinema last night to catch Rush as I really wanted to see it on the big screen.
I loved it, such an intense film. I found some of the medical scenes harrowing but they form an intergral part of the film and the exploration of the two characters, Hunt and Lauda.
The film really draws you into 1976 and Formula One at the time, it’s primarily a human story, and not just an outing for petrolheads, but having said that the racing footage is gripping.
A great film of a great story … with extrordinary performances

Economic impact on this generation of young people

A powerful and important piece from Richard Passmore asking “Could the sixteen year old me survive today?”
“I wept this morning. I cried for young people who have been have been vicitimised, marginalised and oppressed by the governments response to the recession of cutting services, I cried with the young people who will continue to be the ones who suffer most as we enter economic recovery which the government wants to promote with further cuts. The latest government proposals on young people, demonstrate a society that has lost its way, a society of selfishness, greed and power”


“Real holiness doesn’t feel like holiness; it just feels like you’re dying. It feels like you’re losing it. And you are! Every time you love someone, you have agreed for a part of you to die. You will soon be asked to let go of some part of your false self, which you foolishly thought was permanent, important, and essential!
You know God is doing this in you and with you when you can somehow smile and trust that what you lost was something you did not need anyway. In fact, it got in the way of what was real.
Many of us were taught to say no without the deep joy of yes. We were trained to put up with all the “dying” and just take it on the chin. Saying no to the self does not necessarily please God or please anybody. There is too much resentment and self-pity involved. When God, by love and freedom, can create a joyous yes inside of you–so much so that you can absorb the usual noes–then it is God’s full work. The first might be resentful dieting; the second is a spiritual banquet”
Richard Rohr

‘Soul Time’ Youth Cafe in Olney

Soul Time Youth Cafe.jpgI had the privilige on being at the launch of the “Soul Time” Cafe in Olney last night, a Youth Cafe run by young people for young people.
St Peter and St Pauls Church Olney have a Church Hall that used to be a grim example of what Church Hall’s could be. (I remember visiting a youth group there about 9 years ago). The Church though has re-developed it in conjunction with the community… and especially with young people, to be a welcoming modern and useful space. As part of this young people from the Church and the wider community have planned, organised (and trained for) putting on a weekly Youth Cafe.
So, I went for the opening session. The venue looked great, there was a great buzz …. and a wonderful team of young people who were working really hard making it happen. Fab!!
Empowerment, community, ownership, fun. Loved it

A to Z Youth Work ‘E’

E: Empowerment

A little bit of a Cliche’d word but useful nonetheless, Youth Work does not use power or take power … it is about the young people growing, doing, owning, exploring and learning, Youth Work empowers

I heard a great story once about a bunch of young people being invited to a Council Meeting to present their case for a project that they wanted to do. It was not a positive experience by all accounts as the young people felt uncomfortable and out of their depth with the power dynamics; given the combination of the council chambers, officialdom, wordy complex rhetoric …. and their unfamiliarity with the way that the ‘business’ was conducted. There was no brief or welcome, just the assumption, that without explanantion, the teens would undertsand and be able to conform to the ‘norms’ of the chamber and particpate where apppropriate. (A good example a of negative power dynamic)
However in a great example of empowerment the Youth Worker worked with the young people to process and explore their experience. To move from anger and onto owning why it had been such an uncomfortabe experience. Importantly the Young People were encouraged to think of how they would like to respond to their experience … and help the Council to understand what it had felt like to that group of teenagers.
To that end the young people set a date and invited the councillors to the Youth Club for a follow-up meeting. On arrival each of the councillors was asked to remove one shoe and leave it by the door, then to sit on the floor forming a circle for discussion.
One of the young people began the meeting by asking If this felt strange and uncomfortable to the councillors (It did, they wholeheartedly agreed). The young people then explained that this was only a fraction of how uncomfortable and alienated they felt by what had happened on their visit to the Council Chambers!

Pupils are breakfasting on Energy Drinks

A survey flagged up by the BBC reveals that 1 in 20 secondary school pupils has an energy drink for breakfast.
Having regularly watched from my ‘Coffice’ as teens head to our local secondary school, I’d agree; the number I see drinking an energy drink (and in some cases, also carrying a second one) is disturbingly high.
The huge sugar and caffiene hit is extremely bad for anyone but epecially a child or adolescent. It’s cynical profiteering when aimed at young people as if they’ve have had one once then they’ll feel tired if they don’t have one next time. (Much like us adults with coffee I admit, but the added excess sugar in these drinks is a potential highway to diabetes)
Marketing without conscience is not sucessful business, it’s parasitic exploitation.