Detached youthwork; some of the bizarre moments to treasure….

Being out on the streets of a community or city will give you a whole new perspective on the cycle of life of the world, of your town or local population, from the so called ‘night-time’ economies of pubs/clubs/taxis and travel, to the other people who inhabit the spaces such as late night joggers, dog-walkers, and those who need to get to the 24hr shop for something urgent, like calpol, milk or lager. However, being around on an evening doing detached is, as ive said many times before, a grey space in the margins, unscripted, where improvisation can and needs to occur – there is no pre plan. And so, some funny, some bizarre, some breathtaking; here are some moments on detached that required the proverbial thinking on our feet; I would guarantee you would have some stories to tell also;

  1. The fight involving adults where one of them lost their phone, when it kept calling it was local drug dealers.
  2. The night where the Meteor went over the dark Perth sky – watching it in the dark, just incredible
  3. The incident of the two young people having sex in the car park behind the night club, just as you walk past them…
  4. The moment where after giving the group of young people chalk to draw with on the pavement, they start decorating a neighbours house..
  5. The incident when theres a fight between a group of young people, and they all want you to be on their side, as you know all of them.
  6. The incident where the at the Bus stop where you end up talking to the parents of the young person who told you that they abuse her, you know she is also in town not far away.
  7. The incident where the drunk young people climb over a fence to pee in a garden, only for the homeowners to come out in their dressing gowns to berate other young people and them, whilst you’re with them. They think you should have stopped them, or are responsible for them.
  8. The curious incidents of the dog walkers who deliberately walk by the young people every night and berate them for being lazy, whilst also realising that they havent got jobs to go to like they did in the 1950’s
  9. The moments where you’re invited by the young people to walk with them, as they go somewhere.. should you?, these moments have been a privilege, but can be frought with danger, as in one case where a young person had drank a little too much and decided en route to climb and stand on top of a traffic light.
  10. The Stag nights, and Hen do’s. anything can happen, most incidents involve conversations whereby the ‘hens’ like our uniform, and try and pretend to be ‘young’ people. Scarier than any young person or group of young people Ive ever met.

These are just a few that Ive encountered with teams of volunteers on detached, most of them in Perth, some in Durham. They make detached youthwork sparky, fun and unscripted.  Its like Frederich Beuchnar says; “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”, and even when its evening, its still the world, still real people, real moments of being in the world. Being non judgemental, and trying to make transformation possible for and with young people, starting at the crazy point of where they’re at, its a place where Jesus would be.


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