Exploring and Sharing Youth Work Practice

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Exploring the Values and Principles of Youth Work

“Youth work, enables, helps, encourages and celebrates young people’s achievements and efforts. It walks beside a young person on their journey to transition to the adult world. It does not judge but rather provides an open ended support at times and in places where no other service can.”

Professor Ted Milburn, CBE President YMCA Scotland

Youth work is a process of engaging and building relationships with young people and providing a safe, secure and fun environment where young people feel supported and valued. Young people are central to the planning and delivery of youth work as it responds to youth issues. This offers a range of opportunities and programmes that reflect the many different requirements such as age difference, gender, special needs and race enabling young people to fulfil their potential.

The purpose of youth work is well defined in the Youth Work Manifesto 2011, and is as follows: • build self-esteem and self-confidence
• develop the ability to manage personal and social relationships • create learning and develop new skills
• encourage positive group atmospheres
• build the capacity of young people to consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control of their lives • develop a ‘world view’ which widens horizons and invites social commitment • build the capacity of young people to influence local and national decision makers

The values and principles that underpin youth work are:

Young people choose to participate
The young person takes part voluntarily. She/he chooses to be involved, not least because they want to relax, meet friends and have fun. The young person decides whether to engage or to walk away.

The work must build from where young people are
Youth Work operates on young people’s own personal and recreational territory – within both their geographic and interest communities. The young person’s life experience is respected and forms the basis for shaping the agenda in negotiation with peers and youth workers.

Youth Work recognises the young person as a partner in a learning process It complements formal education, promoting young people access to learning opportunities which enable them to fulfil their potential.

Youth Work safeguards the welfare of young people
It provides young people with a safe environment in which to explore their values, beliefs, ideas and issues.

Youth Work treats young people with respect
It values each individual and their differences, and promoting the acceptance and understanding of others, whilst challenging oppressive behaviour and ideas.

Youth Work is concerned with facilitating and empowering the voice of young people It encourages and enables young people to influence the environment in which they live.

Youth Work respects and values individual differences
It supports and strengthens young people’s belief in themselves, and their capacity to grow and to change through a supportive group environment.

Youth Work is underpinned by the principles of equity, diversity and interdependence

Effective Communication in Youth Work

"We all use language to communicate, to express ourselves, to get our ideas across, and to connect with the person to whom we are speaking. When a relationship is working, the act of communicating seems to flow relatively effortlessly. When a relationship is deteriorating, the act of communicating can be as frustrating as climbing a hill of sand."

Chip Rose, attorney and mediator

The act of communicating involves verbal and nonverbal components. The verbal component refers to the content of our message‚ the choice and arrangement of our words. The nonverbal component refers to the message we send through our body language. Some of the methods used to communicate are:

Non Verbal CommunicationVerbal Communication
• Facial Expression (e.g. frown)• Dialogue
• Body Posture• Presentation
• Hand Gestures...
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