Following on from my post about a division in youth work, I’ve come across a group of workers who strongly articulate the need for a return to traditional youth work values. So much so that they have written up a paper titled “In Defense of Youth Work”. Read the blog post here and download the document.
With Blair and Brown at the helm youth workers and managers have been coerced and cajoled into embracing the very antithesis of the Youth Work process: predictable and prescribed outcomes. Possessing no vision of a world beyond the present, New Labour has been obsessed with the micro-management of problematic, often demonised youth. Yearning for a generation stamped with the State’s seal of approval the government has transformed Youth Work into an agency of behavioural modification. It wishes to confine to the scrapbook of history the idea that Youth Work is volatile and voluntary, creative and collective â€“ an association and conversation without guarantees.
They go on from here to outline a manefesto for what youth work should be and urge workers to email and sign up to this “Open Overture”:
If you sympathise with and support the position set out in this Open Letter, we ask you to join with us and sign up to its intent. In doing so, you are not agreeing to some party line. There is so much to think through together. However, in doing so, you are lending your voice to what might be a radical revival of a form of Youth Work that wishes to play its part in the creation of a just, equal and democratic society.
This is bound to cause some controversy, so go make sure you read the whole thing and let me know what you think!
HT to Ian at Youthblog