Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘Inspire India’

Youth Leadership

I’ve been thinking about Youth Leadership recently due to the work I’m involved in with Targeted Youth Support, especially  the Inspire India programme.

Courtesy of Jule Berlin

Courtesy of Jule Berlin

Having been involved with the group on two weekend residentials and over a mixture of evening meetings it’s become very obvious that there are young people engaged in the project who could be future ‘leaders’. This has also come through during their time overseas in India.

With the Inspire India weekend review and volunteer planning session approaching this weekend we have been discussing how we might provide more opportunities to develop these talents. We have a Junior Youth Leadership programme that runs for young people involved in youth centres across the county which has been developed and worked on by both young people and staff. We also have opportunities within the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, and through our participation team where young people can get involved with the Youth Cabinet and the 24 the locality forums set up for young people to assess bids by other young people for the Youth Opportunity Fund.

It’s timely to be thinking about this with the recent launch of the National Body for Youth Leadership which has branded itself as The Youth of Today. I’m wondering whether there is something more we could be doing, particularly with our Targeted groups, to help support and encourage them in developing their leadership skills, especially with their peers. There will be a new round of funding opening at the end of this month to support innovative Youth leadership programmes. What about you? How are you developing youth leaders? Do you have any special programmes or development opportunities? How do you target young people for this or do you aim your work at everyone? Any thoughts are welcome as usual!

Back into the Groove

Courtesy of Jurvetson

Courtesy of Jurvetson

Phew! What a busy summer! I’m now back after a quick holiday refreshed and ready to move forward. It’s time for a number of reviews and evaluations to look at how we might improve and develop the recent activities we’ve been delivering this summer. These kick off this evening with a staff meeting for those involved on the Inspire India programme.

With the start of a new school year I’m involved in consolidating our Service Level Agreements with the new academies in my areas, planning and developing new work and completing some of the ongoing strategy work  I’ve been working on. It all promises to be as exciting and hectic as ever but with new staff now in place I’m looking forward to being able to concentrate on more multi agency developments and less direct operational delivery.

So…..here we go……!

Countdown to Inspire India overseas

We’re in the final run up to the overseas part of the Inspire India Programme. I talked about this Targeted Youth Support programme more fully back in February in this post. Last Monday I went up to London on a quick return visit to get the final visas for the last few members of the group. We’ve been really successful in keeping nearly all of the original group of young people who have made enormous efforts to get themselves ready for the experience. 30 young

West Sussex Youth Service Inspire India 2009

West Sussex Youth Service Inspire India 2009

people from across West Sussex have been involved in the taster weekend and then less than 4 weeks ago we had the Challenge Weekend residential where they were camping at our campsite in Stedham. During the weekend they hiked, cooked for themselves and learnt more about Indian Culture. Working with Staff from Raleigh and West Sussex Youth Service they tested out kit (rucksacks, water ‘bladders’, boots) and also got to know each other better.

Everyone has been preparing for going and on Monday we are having our kit check and ‘launch’ to wish the group good luck. The group will be checking in their kit and then turning up on Friday with their hand luggage ready to go! We had a last minute drop out yesterday (even though we have been taking to them all regularly and offering lots of support on the telephone and by text.) So we’re now just trying to sort out a last minute replacement with quick visa runs on Monday and vaccinations as required…..let’s hope they make the plane!

Netbooks have been brought and charging them solved, we hope! So, if you’re keen to keep up to date with the group and their adventures then please do tune into the West Sussex Inspire India Blog to find out how they’re getting on.

Social Media from India

Courtesy of Raleigh

Courtesy of Raleigh

One of our current challenges for the Inspire India Programme is how we keep computers and digital cameras etc charged up in remote areas with very limited electricity. Working in conjunction with Raleigh we will have 30 young people and 5 staff out in Southern India near Mysore. They will be split into 2 groups after their initial training and be involved in building toilets in remote tribal villages. Following this they will have some more specific cultural visits and then take part in 3 trekking projects.

During the time we hope they will have the opportunity to blog about their experiences, they will no doubt already be taking photos and video. We are developing this to support the experience and their reflection as this is an area that worked really well with the group that went to China. Using what we learnt in China we are looking to have a couple of netbooks, a dongle and encourage the group to email a key contact here in the UK who will do the uploading to the blog etc.

As mentioned earlier our challenge is charging the hardware. The Flip cameras will work fine for the video blogs as they run off aa batteries and have USB plugs. So my next task is to look up what is out there that might work……….although perhaps you can point me in the right direction!!!!!

Snowed Under in June!

Courtesy of Wonderlane

Courtesy of Wonderlane

Yep, it’s almost the summer and here I am Snowed Under! Not literally of course! Although there is lots happening here at the moment and I would love to write about it work is so hectic that I’m just keeping on top of it (hopefully) and can’t get the time to actually comment on anything. (I have to have a bit of time out!) Just to give you a taste of life at this end:-

  • I manage 2 District (Operational) areas usually through team leaders who I work with to strategically plan and organise the delivery of all the statutory youth work in the area. However – one has successfully been promoted (congratulations!) and is now joining us on the Senior Management Team and the other is on long term sick leave. In one area one of neighbourhood workers is successfully acting up however in the other I am directly managing the youthwork staff there. They are a great team and the work that is happening in the area is developing all the time.
  • We’ve got summer camps and positive activities programmes for children (8-13yrs) to organise and set up and run however our first plan for doing this has fallen through due to sickness and difficulties recruiting so we are now on about plan D. Exciting but stressful!
  • Inspire India is in full flow (as is our learning curve with regards to this project!) We have 32 targeted young people (16-19yrs) in the process of getting organised to go on a 4 week overseas experience to India at the end of July follwed up by volunteering in their communities for 3 months on their return. We have had parents / guardians / carers information evenings, residential weekends and staff evenings to contend with. This along with supporting the staff is quite hectic!
  • We’ve had a number of operational issues as well as recruitment difficulties with one of our main outdoor centres. This has been well covered by our new DofE, Accreditation and Outdoor Education Manager who has needed a lot of support as they have only just completed their induction. On top of this they have had to (successfully) deal with an AALA Inspection straight away!
  • Tw0 youth wings are on school sites that are going to be Academies at the start of the next school year.   I need to work closely with the new regimes to organise the youth facilities, service level agreements and also a new build on one site.
  • And then there are the ongoing recruitment issues!

In themselves these, coupled with my other areas of work, aren’t complicated to manage or do. I’ve got a great opportunity to get out and see what is happening on the ground and I’m enjoying getting practical.  However the main issue is that the day job of my strategic leads still needs to be covered. I’ve moved from strategic to operational and trying to juggle the 2 is / has been difficult.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting nearer!! I’ve

Courtesy of C.P.Storm

Courtesy of C.P.Storm

appointed a new team leader who will hopefully start at the end of July, the other team leader who has been ill is due to return very soon and we have a new Outdoor Centre Manager! I’ve also booked time out for most of this week to crack some of my policy / papers/ strategic thinking! So, hopefully this blog will resume in the next few weeks……here’s to the summer!

Hectic Preparations

Courtesy Lepiaf geo

Courtesy Lepiaf geo

It’s not even the weekend and I’m shattered already! It’s been a busy week with lots of variety as usual, ranging from starting the induction process for one of our new Positive Activities for Children Co-ordinators, going through budgets to prepare for the financial year end, meeting and going through our provision Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP), looking at the discussion about Accreditation and target driven youth work that Mike and Jon (amongst others) have been having online, linking with our web editor for our youth website to highlight and prioritise our work, supporting some of our staff who are experiencing personnel issues, getting involved in the handover for the manager that’s leaving one of the Outdoor Education centres I’m responsible for, as well as getting ready for the Inspire India Taster Weekend we are delivering this weekend for 38 young people from targeted backgrounds. And that’s only some of it!!!! So….I may not be quite on top of the online ball but hope to be posting more after the weekend.

Inspire India – Staff Selection Weekend

I’ve finally got the chance to write about the amazing residential weekend we had a couple of weekends ago. As I mentioned in a recent post, we’re putting together a targeted youth support programme for young people which includes an overseas experience in India run in conjunction with Raleigh. To that end we were up really nice and early the other weekend to meet at Cobnor to put a group of 14 staff from across West Sussex County Council through their paces. Our aim – to find 5 people who could lead, facilitate and develop the group of 30 young people that will be taking part in the programme. Here is a snippet of what they went through.

The weekend was a great success and we found our 5 staff. Other unexpected outcomes was the positivity everyone experienced working across different services. We had people from the Youth Offending Service, Family Link workers, Social Workers, Voluntary Youth Services and more and they all fed back that they had enjoyed the chance to work together as a team on practical tasks during which they got to know and understand work with young people from a different perspective. Definately food for thought as we move forward with integrated services! It’s the young peoples Taster Weekend next and then that’s me done for a while on residentials……..hopefully I can then refocus on the day job!!

Inspire India Begins!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will have guessed by now that I am passionate about young peoples development through using International experiences.

To this end I have been putting together a year long Targeted Youth Support Programme with a bit of a difference, hopefully. Aimed at young people aged 16-19yrs who fall within our targeted groups and working across children and young peoples services in West Sussex the Inspire India Programme seeks to empower young people and support them to make choices and recognise their own skills & abilities. It will consist of six phases:-

Phase 1 – Recruitment of 30 young people and five staff from West Sussex
Phase 2 – Preparation and training of young people in all aspects of the programme
Phase 3 – Overseas Experience to India

Raleigh logoThis will be a 3-week experience delivered by Raleigh in conjunction with staff from West Sussex County Council. Key areas of the Overseas Experience will be:

•    Personal Development
•    Arts Programme (Cultural)
•    Global / Development Education
•    Community Volunteering Project
•    Adventure / Challenge Project

Phase 4 – Volunteering in the community post expedition

On return each young person will be supported to engage in a volunteering placement and gain accreditation for this through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme. We hope to be working with Outset Youth Action, Locality Youth Forums and the European Voluntary Services scheme to access and support placements for young people from the programme. Alternatively the young people may want to lead and develop their own volunteering projects and would be supported to access funding to implement them. (eg. Vcashpoint, Youth Opportunity Fund etc).

Phase 5 – Follow Up and Review

This is a key aspect (more…)

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