Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for May, 2008

How to choose….

what sites to use?!?! As I’ve realised that somehow I need to try and control my browsing and organise myself more effectively in this area i’ve been looking at different sites. This has been helped by the latest Mediasnackers report abouth which social media platforms / tools people are using as well as some replies I received to my last post.

In looking at them all it becomes quite confusing and I’ve been wondering how people choose between sites that seem to do similar types of functions (unless I’ve worked them out wrong.)? For instance I’ve been looking at igoogle and netvibes, and google reader and bloglines. As a novice at this its difficult to choose and I’m guessing it comes down to personal preferences. (A bit like when I launched into the world of blogging and seeing which blogging platform (getting more techy here 😉 ) I liked. Each pair seems to do a similar job. I like the look of netvibes but is this as efficient as igoogle? I can see that google reader is probably easier than bloglines to manage your feeds but again…..how do you find out which is best? There must be somewhere on line that does a rating system, a bit like this one I’ve seen here reviewing social networking sites….but I haven’t gone to look yet. Oh well…..and I thought this was all so simple!!!!

The pros and the cons…..

….of blogging!

I’ve been reflecting on my blogging journey so far and wondering how this is helping me, or not, in the day job.

PROS

1. Information:- I have to say I’m fascinated by what I can find out in the blogosphere and the amount of different information that I can find. It’s definately stretching my understanding of the internet and how it is used. In fact I’ve just recently discovered del.icio.us which I’m really excited about as I can now carry all those websites that I’ve bookmarked with me wherever I go. (Great for when you’re hot desking as we do with such a large county to travel around.)

2. Reflection:-It’s been helpful being able to have the opportunity to think more on aspects of my work. Through writing about them I have to really try and get to grips with what I’m thinking about a certain area and my own views on it. It also helps me to focus on these topics and formulate my ideas which leads me on to number ….

3. Sharing:- these ideas with others and hearing what they have to say about them. I know the community is small at the moment but I live in hope that we will expand (and we are slowly) and the dialogue I’ve already had with different people has triggered more thoughts and ideas I didn’t even know I had!

CONS

1. Time:- even when I’m at my desk reading or working something out it takes time to think and blogging is no exception! Finding the time to write is difficult and sometimes it’s hard to justify why I’m writing on here. However I know that if I am to develop my practice and learn more then I do need to spend time on my own personal development and have to ‘allow’ myself that space, it’s just when there are a lot of competing demands I’m not always sure that this is the best use of my time.

2. Distractions:- (this kinda fits with the one above). As much as I By KiwiMikexfind the information and leads on here and others blogs fascinating I think that sometimes it’s distracting and in no time at all I have spent around an hour on the computer, been to China, the States, Australia and become bemused yet again by the amount of Christian Youth work information that is out there compared to the statutory stuff and this leads to my head becoming….

3. Overloaded! Sometimes there is just so much there that it can seem like a big vast ocean. The knack is trying to narrow down the information and ideas into useable, concrete things that I can then develop or look at using within my current work.

Well, these are few of my musings for this evening. Any suggestions as to how to manage the cons would be welcome and any other thoughts on what you get out of blogging would be interesting!

 

Work is busy!

Hello again – it’s been a while but work has been hectic. As I’ve said previously I’m always amazed at how much we get up to in our jobs and how we manage to balance it all. Last week was a typical example – as well as day time work covering supervisions, meetings (and more meetings) around NEETS, Service Level Agreements, Condom distribution, Sex and Relationships education, joint working with Children and Family centres, looking at some potential overseas work in India and senior management discussions I was also out for three evenings meeting with some of our voluntary youth centres management committees, going to an AGM for West Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services and attending a Duke of Edinburghs Award presentation. At all of these meetings there were interesting discussions and follow up points to be be taken forward……it’s just managing my time to ensure that the ideas do get taken forward.

One of my best meetings / discussions last week was inpromptu and happened after one of the evening meetings. We have a lot of youth issues in one of our rural villages at the moment. Periodically these issues raise their head, everyone gets steamed up (particularly the parish council), we have to do member reports and feedback and then they will settle for a little while only to rise again some short distance into the future as the real issues have never been addressed. This has been happening off and on for the past 3 years.

Finally……. (more…)

Developing our work with China

Well, it finally looks like the plan to initiate a youth exchange with China is likely to become a reality! As I mentioned here, after a number of youth worker exchanges we were hoping to set something up for young people. Shandong Youth Federation have replied to our emails confirming that they are interested in hosting up to 20 young people. Unfortunately the other local autorities have had to pull out so we’re going to look at taking a smaller group of 10-12 young people probably aged between 16-19yrs.

I’m really excited about this and hoping that we can use some of the things we are learning about social media and the internet to support this work. I’m really keen to see if we can do some projects like the Life in New China Project supported by What Kids Can Do and Adobe Youth VoicesOr blogging like the young people involved in Beijing Voices. The tricky part is, although communication systems are easier than before, trying to work out how we are going UK delegation meeting Chinese Uni Studentsto be able to work together and get something going is quite difficult due to our different cultures.

When I went to China at the end of 2006 we were still trying to understand what sort of youth work happened over there as we mainly saw universities, cultural sites and various enterprises. As there is such an ethos of education, education, education (There’s been a great BBC3 series running about Chinese School education). it was difficult to find out what youth work they did and what happened to those who weren’t academically inclined.  chinese delegation visit07 (9)

When the Chinese delegation came here last summer we made a point of showing them some of our facilities and work that we did. Hopefully these visits has helped with what we’re hoping to set up.

Now we need to find out which young people are interested, what sort of things they want to do and learn out there and liaise with our Chinese colleagues to try and make all this happen (and all by October!!!) Oh, and not forgetting all the risk assessments etc, etc. Well, I can’t say life is dull!!! 🙂 

LGBTU Youth Research

Last week was a week of meetings, conferences and research development and one of these was on Friday night when I went to the launch of the West Sussex Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Unsure (LGBTU) Youth Research Project.

For some time now we have been stuggling as a County Allsorts poster(and in that I’m including our partnerships with the PCT and Terrence Higgins Trust  ) to ensure appropriate provision for young people within the area who identify as LGBTU. Some time ago a lot of research into such provision had been undertaken and a group set up in Crawley along similar lines to the Allsorts Youth Project based  in Brighton and Hove.

However due to changes in staff and young people the Crawley group never really took off and there is still no provision within West Sussex. So I went along to see where we were at in terms of the research, especially with a view to what young people have been telling us. 

It was a great turn out for a Friday late afternoon / evening. As well as several presentations there were 2 workshops, one for young people and one for professionals to look at needs, what LGBTU provision would look like and what needed to be done. There are still quite a few questions (more…)

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!:)

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme

DofE LogoYesterday I was at a roadshow given by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme for the South East Region. (If you haven’t heard of the Award or want to find out what you have to do to complete it have a look here.) It was a really interesting presentation as the Charity is looking to up date it’s image and develop more interactive / web based systems. This was very positive and also ties in with a lot of the work we are doing across the county to develop our monitoring and information systems and hopefully (fingers crossed) their system will help with this!

As a County we support the DofE and use it as one of the main forms of accrediting young people’s activities. Knowing that there is occasionally an image problem with the Duke of Edinburghs Award we have worked hard to try to ensure that it is available for all young people and that they can all have a go at the Award.Cobnor Activity Centre

This has meant that we have made a lot of use of Sectional Certificates (where a young person completes a part of the Award for instance the Expedition) and then gets recognition for this. We have also used ‘Access Certificates’ where a young person completes a part of the Award maybe the skills section with the local canoe club and can then sign up, or not, to complete the rest of it if they wish.

For us the key objective is that young people have the opportunity to take part in a personal development programme that is based on their interests and is something that has national recognition (especially outside of youth work settings). It was therefore somewhat disconcerting to hear that those involved in developing the award appear more concerned with ‘completion’ rates and individuals completing the ‘whole’ award. When asked (more…)

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