Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘youth workers’

Moving forward with LGBTU strategy development

We’ve got our next working group meeting on Friday and having had a lot of input concerning equalities during our recent Staff Conference I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ve progressed from the last meeting and where we might end up.

photo courtesy jglsongs

photo courtesy jglsongs

For those colleagues reading who are interested in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or unsure youth (or are already doing so) a recent commentator who works here has set up a new blog here. The blog is hoping to support youth workers working with LGBT young people who want to share and discuss youth work issues.

Mobile Phones and the impact on young people

Courtesy of Milica Sekulic

Courtesy of Milica Sekulic

One of my key learning points from the weekend that we have just run is the impact that mobile technology now has on young people and how different this is to my own experience, not only as a young person but also as a youthworker. When I was younger you either arranged to meet up with your mates when you saw them, rang them over the weekend to make arrangements (or to chat) or popped over to theirs if you hadn’t organised anything. If you didn’t do any of these you didn’t see them and had no communication until the Monday back at school, college, uni or whatever. To some extent this gave you an independence from the relationships you formed and meant that you had to just ‘get on with it’. It also meant that you had to forward plan to some extent or live with ‘chance’ and luck more.(Maybe they would be up the park, in the high street etc)

This weekend we were giving young people a taste of what it might be like when they go to India. On the Saturday morning when they arrived (mostly not knowing anyone) they were asked if they would hand over their mobile phones and mp3 players. I was amazed at the furore this caused. They were shocked that they weren’t going to be able to communicate with anyone! (Although there were another 37 young people on the weekend!! :) )  Many of them wanted to keep their phones to keep in touch with parents as well as friends and also found this difficult. However, hand them over they did and they were amazed at the results.

Feedback at the end of the weekend from the young people was how hard (but good) it had been not to have their mobile phone. That they had had to make friends all the more because they couldn’t rely on their usual network of ‘mobile’ friends and the support they got from there, instead they had to rely on the people they were with. They had had to have face to face conversations and depend on the group.

Now, I know I should know and realise, (after all I’ve seen DKs Mediasnackers presentation) but I hadn’t really put together the impact mobile phones have on delivering youth work until this weekend. Given my involvement in Social Media and awareness of tools like Twitter I’m surprised how I hadn’t really thought about its impact. That is the impact on youth workers and how it must affect the delivery on group work sessions, and even how you plan sessions, deliver residentials etc. What you do and how you’re doing can be reported in real time to a much wider audience via the texts etc that young people are sending during your session. This can have its downsides as well as its upsides and I guess that, surprisingly, I hdan’t really thought about it. I had thought about its use in terms of the upsides but not on how it could and probably does impact on youth work colleagues delivering face to face work. I think that I’ll definately be chatting to colleagues during our upcoming conference to find out more about this.

How about you? Are you of the generation who has always known mobile technology and therefore its just a part of life and youth work? Does it affect your delivery? What do you think?

Initial Reflections on Blog by young people in China

Well, I’ve more or less had the final blogs through from China and thought I’d just share my initial thoughts about how we’ve used this tool so far for this experience. We will be ongoing with the blog (hopefully) in the future but it’s been a real learning experience for all involved and I have no doubt we will be writing this up, at least briefly, to help inform our future practice.

My colleague, Maralyn, has written a thoughtful post here on our West Sussex Youth Exchange – China 2008 blog. I think that one of our key learnings for the future was to throughly investigate whether there are any potential blocks on the hosting site you use for the blog. However, in saying this I think that it has been useful having the blogs come through as emails as I have done a few limited edits. This has been important as we were publicising the blog to county council members etc. and needed to ensure that the material was appropriate. I think that it is important to think about what audience the blog is going out to and how this might be managed. This would be especially important in any form of Crisis Management as the immediacy of the blog and what may be being posted may not be ‘on message’. I had a few interesting internal debates about the integrity of editing the young people’s blogs however this was minimal and hopefully did not detract from the gist of what the young people were saying. There is a similar discussion to this here on Youth Work Online . Another time around I would discuss this more in advance with the group.

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

The next point is that blogging takes time!!! I think those that blog know this however I think that we do need to think about how we as youth workers build this into our programmes when using blogging as a reflective tool. I am looking forward to discussing this with the group and seeing whether there would have been any difference if there had been group blogs, or individuals having a day each to blog? I’m also interested in how the videoing turns out and how this balances with the blogs as they have been recording a lot of their thoughts on video too which for some might be an easier medium.

Well, these are just quick thoughts and I will no doubt be posting more. Thank you to those that have been following the China blog, the young people have enjoyed your comments and also been inspired by the number of views they’ve been getting. If you have any suggestions for the future or any other thoughts on the blog please do leave a comment below as we’d love to get any feedback.

The Online Conversation in the back of the bus!

Recently I’ve been having a look at some Social Networking Sites that colleagues have set up and came across an interesting conundrum (or at least I thought it was!). A youth provision had set up a Bebo site that has attracted a reasonable number of young people. I looked around the site and then thought I’d see what sort of access the young peoples’ profiles had (as education in this area is something I think we need to work on with youth workers). On clicking on a young persons profile I went through to their page and a whole set of photographs. I felt that one of the photos was inappropriate – it was of a sign saying ‘gay’ with an arrow pointing at another young person who had their back turned away. There were a few, not particularly nice, jokes in the comments section following this.

Courtesy of didbygraham

Courtesy of didbygraham

So the question I was left with was what, if anything, do I about this? Mike Amos Simpson has previously raised questions about how far we encroach into young people’s spaces and this crossed my mind. After all it wasn’t directly on the site managed by us.

However this didn’t sit comfortably with me. I was then talking with a colleague about social media in general and this topic came up. In discussion we concluded that this was roughly equivalent to when you’re driving a minibus full of young people (more…)

Studying Youth Work – Training in how to use Social Media

Courtesy of Jose C Silva

Courtesy of Jose C Silva

Back in January Tim Davies wrote a post 7 Reasons why Youth Workers should be blogging. One of the comments from an individual studying youth work in Bristol was:-

“im currently in my 2nd yr studying youth work at uni. part of the course rightly involves students meeting together outside uni to discuss, support each other, time restraints means we have never all met up… why are we not using the resources other profesions are making full use of… “

In the local authority I work in a few of us have been sharing this social media journey and discussing how we might influence the training of new youth workers. One of my colleagues is involved in lecturing at a local university and following our training with DK and team from Mediasnackers is now looking to introduce some of what we’ve learnt about Social Media in her lectures.

I was also fascinated to see this Ning site from Australia which I thought was not only an interesting way to use social media to train but also meant that people had to use the site and learn how to in order to access some of the information. I’m now pondering on how I can take some of these ideas to use within the service with staff who are already qualified. 

And now there are FIVE!!

Yep, the MediaSnackers training has persuaded Steve Humphries to start his own blog! I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Steves’ experiences as he works  in a part of the youth service  which provides targeted and intensive youth support to individual young people, and as such, has a slightly different perspective on youth work to those involved in traditional centre based youth work. 

And so our community grows!!!! Here’s to the next Statutory Youth Work Blogger……

And then there were 3 (or four!)

Hurray! Another Statutory youth work blog goes live!!! Chris and Sue are both Senior Assistant Youth Workers working for Oldham Youth Service so if you’re interested in learning more about what goes on in Oldham, or more about youth work practice then have a look at their blog here. They’ve even got some video clips to look at too! (More than I’ve learnt to do so far!) 

The Statutory Youth Work blogs are slowly increasing……mind you we’ve got a long way to go to reach the amount of voluntary and faith based ones that are out there. Still, slowly does it!:)

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