I suppose id better come clean, although I have written extensively about being a youth worker, is that, aside from being self employed as a youth work trainer and lecturer, and a Durham uni MA student, my day job is predominately as a manager in a christian youthwork organisation, Durham YFC, where I try and keep doing practice through heading up the detached work, but most of my time is in management. Mostly managing, supervising and administering an organisation that employs youthworkers, students on placements and volunteers. Which is nothing like as easy to write about than youthwork itself.. but I am going to try and write more about youthwork management in 2016. Starting with this one; in which might be determined as 5 pledges for those of you who manage youthworkers, in church, organisation or council settings;
1. Genuinely consult with workers in regard to obtaining funding. You may lose good staff who as youthworkers value decision making process in a process that doesn’t involve them. It may narrow down funding options short term but that might be a sacrifice worth it long term.
2. On a similar note, find ways of involving young people and their families in the life of the project, centre or role.
3. Manage according to the youthwork values that your youthworker would expect. And if you dont know what they are, find out.
4. Read up on or get some training in specifically management in youth/community settings. Knowing what stephen covey or Sir Alex Ferguson would do, isnt good enough. Their contexts and values of their organisation should feel vastly different to youthwork. John ord (2012) banks (eds) 2003,2013 might be of help.
5. Finally, pledge to be active in practice. On one hand id hate to only do management, on the other management can be so tiring that this affects how effective I am at practice. Yet without practice, without being directly involved I forget the feelings and reality of the work, the moments and conversations.
These are just a few, as a manager its hugely complicated to have orgsnisational and practical responsibilities (its why doing an MA can feel like a break) , but its something to try and do well, to model good practice in management that enables youthworkers to perform creatively and being supported proffesionslly in their social transformational art with young people.
So ill come clean at the beginning of the year, ill still write about detached youthwork, about mission and church, but ill also reflect and write from the perspective of being a manager of youthworkers and a manager-practitioner in learning. If nothing else that this is more of a reality in what I actually do in practice.