Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for July, 2008

Disarming Britain

The other interesting item I picked up on recently was about the Disarming Britain series on Channel 4.  Mike Amos Sipmson has blogged about the tv programmes here and comments on “how much responsibility the popular media should take for glamourising gangs and street violence. How much of the fear that apparently drives some young people to carry weapons is actually rooted in the image of young people painted by the media, and how much do programmes like these improve matters or do they actually make them worse?”

The reason however that Disarming Britain popped up in my inbox was through a social issues games list that highlighted the game, Dead Ends that had been developed to run alongside the programmes. Reid Bryant Kimball writes about it in his blog here and offers some interesting ways in which the game could be developed, although I agree with the comment that Aaron Hung makes that it possibly should be more about the reasons why young people join violent gangs rather than why young people die in gang violence.

What I find really fascinating though is all the thought that has gone into trying to have a dialogue and involve everyone in the conversation. There is space to upload video, talk on facebook and bebo, blog comments etc. It is quite an integrated site (from my amateurs perspective!) for using the technology available although I am left wondering how Channel 4 are intending (or not) to take forward the issues raised. What will they do with the information and how / can this have an impact in a wider sense on developing support and understanding of knive crime? However what a great resource for youth workers looking for more facts, information and ways in which to raise and discuss the issues with young people.

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So little time to….

..post!!!! It’s been an interesting time at work as I try to juggle everything and part of that is choosing what to blog and when. As ever the job is so varied that if I don’t concentrate it can all become a bit of blur (and that could get decidely confusing for everyone!) Fortunately our new Senior Manager started last week (phew and welcome!) and I can now start to hand over some of the work I have been holding.  (And also share and develop some of our interesting areas such as publicising our Positive Activities). Once I have done that I can start to concentrate in more depth on some of my specific areas like Curriculum Development, Targeted Youth Support (which actually seem to be able to cover most things!!)

One of the interesting things that I picked up on recently was this video from Dan Meyer

which made me wonder how we might use this sort of technology for informal work with young people. The thing that still strikes me most is the lack of statutory youth workers exploring this medium and really looking at it to see how we can change some of what we do. There are so many young people from faith groups and indeed faith based youth workers who are posting and contributing to the conversations and yet it is still very quiet on the statutory side. Still, one of our mottos at the moment is “Build and they will come” (Field of Dreams) so lets wait and see!

More news from China

Since I last posted about China here all had been very quiet so I was beginning to worry about how much off the cuff we were going to end up having to work. We have almost got the group of young people together, all aged between 16-19yrs with an interest in youth participation, and truely representative of the county which is great.

greatwall (10)At the end of last week I finally heard from the Shandong Youth Federation and namely the Youngsters Centre of Shandong Province. They have sent through an outline programme so now it is a case of trying not to get too bogged down in Risk Assessments but still ensuring that we have everything covered. (As well as trying to work out how we can / will use social media to support this!)

One of the key difficulties is in trying to understand what is being said in the communications. For instance at the moment the Chinese are keen for us to come earlier in October than we have suggested as it the “Picking Festival of fruits and vegetables” in the place they are suggesting we can stay. The description of the location sounds like a cross between an outdoor centre and an agricultural college….at least that’s how I’ve interpreted it so far. Then there are a lot of cultural visits suggested however I know that when we visited one of the most interesting parts was the discussions and interactions with people, especially young people at the universities and the technical college we went to. So – I need to work out how to politely suggest a bit of an alteration to the programme without being rude and also find out more about the Picking Festival!

Still – how exciting that it is all looking like it might happen….two years in the making but I think we will be able to do some really great youth work with the preparation for the visit, the visit itself and then hopefully hosting a return group next year!

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