10 reasons young adults make the best youthworkers

You’re getting on a bit to be a youth worker aren’t you…

Is a common statement. As is the joke about being a youthworker and getting a proper job. Yeah as if being a vicar is a proper job… but why is age such an issue in youthwork as a caring profession?  No one say the same about teachers, nurses or social workers, none of these have age as an conversation about effectiveness. So let’s examine it further… why do make younger adults between say 18-30 make better youthworkers? A few reasons*

1. Because older adults have better things to do all of a sudden.

2. Because those adults who saw it as something to help them in their progression to another career don’t want to do it anymore. That baton is now yours.

3. Young adults are in the same confusing state of identity and student debt and this is a great place to add the emotional and spiritual responsibility of young people too.

4. They need to have the experience of working with poor young people on their CV’s.

5. Young people will relate to young adults better. If we keep saying this over and over again well believe it to be true. And flatter these 18-24 yr old volunteers.

6. Young adults have the gift of being young. Adults have developed the non gift of youth work. In fact the gift of coffee rota is proclaimed and prioritised.

7. Young adults are still more like the young people, in fact some of them are so cool that young people are bound to love and relate to them. And if young people relate to them because of coolness than that’ll be great for youth work.

8. Young adults will be great to work with young people as if they do make mistakes they’ll only be around for a year till they finish their gap year, or university. Young people in groups in youthwork will really benefit from having someone around just for a year..

9. Young people aren’t going to benefit in any way from spending time with people who are over the age of 30, because people over the age of 30 have nothing to offer.

10. Adults have worked with young people once, in 1980’s. And this means they never do it again.

So yes young adults are definitely the best people to sustain the work with young people. Or are they?

*or excuses given.

Author: James

Currently I work part time for both Frontier Youth Trust (www.fyt.org.uk) and Communities Together Durham (www.communitiestogetherdurham.org) and am also self employed and do various aspects of youthwork consultancy, including training, writing, lecturing, seminars and written pieces, including organisational consultancy, community profiling and detached/youthwork training. Please do get in touch if I can be of help to you in your church, project or organisation to develop your youth and community work. I have contributed to 'Here be Dragons (2013), and two recent articles in the youth and theology journal and 'ANVIL' the CMS online journal. My recent employment includes, working for FYT as a youthwork development adviser, being the centre director at Durham YFC, and before this I was known as 'Mr Sidewalk' as I was the project coordinator for the Sidewalk Project in Perth, where I facilitated the delivery of 5 years of detached youthwork on the streets, schools and communities to engage with young people , and support through alcohol misuse issues. In 2017 I completed an MA in Theology & Ministry at St John's College, Durham, and in 2008 graduated from ICC (now NTC Glasgow) with an honours degree in youth work with Applied theology.

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