10 Privileges of doing detached youthwork

On Monday evening, we had a team of 5 out on detached in Durham, 2 went down to a village, and the other three of us stayed up in Gilesgate. We had wondered around having seen but not really seen to speak to a few groups, but at about 7.30pm we managed to position ourselves in a spot where two small groups (who had been playing manhunt with each other) were about to converge. And they stayed to chat to us for a while. They asked questions, so did we. As we left one of the young people decided to walk with us as she lived in the direction, and as we walked we continued the conversation, about school, education, its worth (especially RE, if she wants to be a hairdresser), and in the conversation it was possible just as we walked and talked to encourage her to think and reflect upon her education, education in general and what learning is for.

It was a fabulous way to end our detached session, and for one new volunteer to see what its all about, i often describe how detached youthwork can be an honour and privilege, and this was one of those moments; and so in a slight tradition, I wonder what other privileges there are in the detached youthwork moments?

  1. Being able to interact with young people in a space, with their friends, in their time- its a very real chosen space for them.
  2. To have moments where, for little planning, you get to the core of youthwork- moments of conversation, couched in banter, and questions and stories, but conversation none the less
  3. Its a privilege to be welcomed and accepted into the group spaces, whether thats the area ( skate park) or to be included in the groups, their groups.
  4. Its a privilege to see young people in the context of the community, how they interact socially with their peers, but also parents, other adults, to see them interact socially.
  5. To see them in honesty, ie – if they’re drinking to realise exactly how much – rather than the fabled story the day after
  6. Its a privilege to be accepted by them for being a youthworker, rather than a youth worker with a programme or an activity that makes the youth worker ‘attractive’.
  7. Its a privilege to play with young people in their space, the game of football, the swings, or other game, that they might chose for us to be involved in
  8. To be able to learn about young people from experiencing life with them in shared moments on the streets, to learn from them, and be educated about their life, opinions and beliefs.
  9. Its a privilege to be respected by the community, parents and other adults who normally are accepting of what we do ( as its in the open) and we can be people they can ask about situations.

Along with the situation above, where its just an awesome thing to be present in the space of detached to enable young people to reflect and learn in the conversation, to help them think about the future, and to be able to do this without having to construct activity or cause them to be on a course. Its a privilege.



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