One of the key attributed of detached youthwork is that it is said to be unplannable, unpredictable and to a certain extent this is true. For those that have many lessons or programmes to plan, doing detached is almost a freebie in that there is less planning involved, yet actually thinking about it, what might be good to plan for when being on the streets:
- Having the right attitude- so prepare yourself for being with young people in groups, pairs and individuals
- Getting to know your team members, so chat together en route to the busy spots
- Do all the health and safety and risk assessments
- Check that no one is feeling ill, cold or tired before you start
- Plan a route and stick to it unless young people take you elsewhere (safely elsewhere)
- Some strategies for conversations, how to aak questions, listening, and de-escalating situations
- Recall some of the groups names from the previous week
- Have phone numbers of relevant agencies to hand
- Equipment possibly – torches, mobile phones, cash, first aid?
- Practice awareness & observation skills
- Plan to stay calm, in control and not shocked- without being aloof and impassive.
- Find out what’s going on locally on the evening
- Remember where you left the groups from the previous sessions, who said what when and to whom, and what the issues are that are being raised.
- Plan to be present in the space with the young people, and not personally distracted, away from the area.
- Plan to make the young people feel valued and important because you can and want to spend time with them.
Theres at least 15 things that detached workers need to plan for for each session, not to mention checking the weather forecast and adapting accordingly. Some can be done immediately before the session as the team arrives, others during the day or in training as a group at another time.
So, there are some things to plan on detached! To be personally and collectively ready to converse with young people in their communities and world.