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Upcoming events relevant to youth work

Tonight at Arun Community Church, we’re hosting the brilliant Romance Academy team as part of their Let’s Talk About Sex Tour. It’s free to attend so if you’re local to Sussex come along!

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Imagine is a one day schools work conference for Christian schools workers and this year is happening on Monday 3rd September in London. This is the third year the event has run and the organisers from are billing it as “an opportunity for visitors to schools to gather together and celebrate the start of a new academic year…”

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Ok, so here’s a last minute plug for the Youthwork Summit that’s happening on Saturday.
I’ve already posted about this event, but it’s in 3 days and if you’re not already going you should be!

Dates: Saturday 19th May 2012
Venue: Jesus House, Brent Cross, London
Cost: £30 for the day

At £30 for a full day of creativity and inspiration on a variety of topics related to work with young people, can you afford to miss it?

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A quick plug for the YMCA George Williams College Open Days on 15th June and 13th July 2012.

I would highly recommend the college to anyone interested in becoming qualified as a youth worker or studying related subjects, and there’s some new options this year including an MA in Youth Work. They are only specialist youth work College in the UK with over 40 years experience of delivering training. Programmes include:

  • BA (Hons) available in Youth Work, Community Learning and Development, and Social Pedagogy
  • PGDip/MA in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development (subject to validation)
  • Level 2 and Level 3 courses in Youth Work Practice
  • Certificate in Supervision Studies
  • Global Youth Work short course

You can download the full prospectus in PDF format here. For more info, contact the college on:

YMCA George Williams College
199 Freemasons Road,
London E16 3PY

Tel: 020 7540 4900

One Step Forward

2 April 2012 — 2 Comments

Although not strictly a youth work event, this weekend of personal development is well worth a look!

My church, Arun Community Church, is hosting One Step Forward, A weekend of personal development on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th June 2012. It’s being facilitated by Jim McNeish and the team from Cantle, a Leadership Development Consultancy working predominantly with the boards of multinational organisations. Cantle is based in the Highlands of Scotland on the beautiful banks of Loch Tay.

I’ve been to a number of events led by Jim and his team, and the they never cease to astound me with their humble and incredible knowledge of people and inter-personal relationships. I’ve learnt so much about how I function, and how I can better relate to others through the work that Cantle have done. Using a variety of psychological techniques, but based in natural, everyday interactions from a Christian worldview, Cantle have a way of engaging people and bringing out their best.

Even better, the church is hosting this event for only £20 per person! This is world class personal development coaching for a fraction of the usual price, so if you’re in the South East and can spare the time, I highly recommend coming along. Here’s the info on the content:

Character growth can feel elusive. Bouncing out of the latest conference, we are full of determination for fresh discipline and better relationships. Then Monday comes with its mundane requirements, difficult boss, grey skies and enforced compromises, and before we know it we’ve not only failed in some of our promises but we seem to have taken a step back with some added cynicism or resignation.

The issue here is not what happens – that’s life, but rather how we think about it. We do not develop ourselves in the same way we develop a business plan or a project. It’s not linear. Character growth is seasonal with winters and summers where bits of us die away and then burst into life again with new strength.

ONE STEP FORWARD is about learning how to take ground steadily in our development as we push toward a vision for our lives. Using psychology and creative exercises, you will learn some other ways to think about how you grow as a person.

So what are you waiting for? Book in now as places are limited.

Eventbrite - One Step Forward

Youthwork Summit 2012

5 March 2012 — 3 Comments

The Youthwork Summit is now into its third year and back in London. It’s well worth a day trip for Christian youth workers (both paid and voluntary). Read on to find out why!

First of all, the basic info:

Dates: Saturday 19th May 2012 (and Early Day on Friday 18th May 2012)
Venue: Jesus House, Brent Cross, London (and London School of Theology for the Early Day and ‘Big Chill’ activities)
Cost: £30 for just the Summit on Saturday, £30 for the Early Day, or £50 for both.

Now I must confess I’ve not actually made it to the previous two Summits (although I had a ticket for last year our second daughter arrived early), so can’t endorse the event from first-hand experience. I can tell you though that I’ve heard nothing but good things about it from those that have been, and you can see some of the presentations from last year on the website. As an aside, the website is very cool, but not very practical for finding info quickly.

The previous two years the Summit has been in the late Autumn and pretty close to Youthwork The Conference, so I’m pleased to see it has moved to May to give both events some breathing space (I’ve got tickets for both). It’s also migrated south again which is great for me, but not so amazing for everyone above London (it was in Manchester last year). However I hear it will be moving north again for 2013 – maybe this alternation is deliberate.

But what is the Summit and what makes it different and worth going to than other Christian youth work events? Really it’s because of the way the programme is structured. From the website:

Since 2010, we’ve been organising a unique annual one-day convention for every kind of Christian involved in every kind of work with young people. Why unique? Because over the course of just one day, you’ll hear more than 20 diverse voices presenting their big ideas about Christian youth work. For 5, 10… 15 minutes at the most, we ask a mix of world-leading experts and grass roots practitioners to take to the stage for a series of high-impact presentations – then create an atmosphere of interaction and engagement to ensure their ideas are accessed and developed by our delegates.

It’s this TED-style approach that makes the Summit different to other conferences. Not better, but it serves a different purpose. Whereas I go to  Youthwork The Conference to meet other youth workers, worship, go to longer seminars and get recharged, I’ll go to the Summit to hear new perspectives, be challenged and spark ideas.

Now that the programme has been released, I’m even more excited and looking forward to going. The theme is ” Visions & Dreams” but there’s so many contributors during the day on a huge variety of topics, it’s difficult to pick anything out to list here. You’re best bet is to download a copy of the programme here.

Early Day:

Last year, the Early Day speaker was Mark Yaconelli. I was gutted about missing that day so plan to make the most of this one! This year the guest keynote speaker is Mark Oestreicher, the former president of Youth Specialties (in the US), founder of The Youth Cartel, and prolific blogger. I’ve followed many of Marko’s adventures over the years, so am keen to meet the man face to face. His focus for the Summit is:

exploring together what it means to create a vision for our youth ministry that takes a wide-angled, long-term transformational view. We’ll look at at how adolescence is rapidly changing, how every context is different, and how to craft values that both allow for great practice and create space for God to move. A practical day that gives you a chance to take stock, learn, and dream for the future.

Sounds great, so go get yourself a ticket!



Youth & Policy are running a conference in March to explore current youth policy and consider its implications for the youth work field. In the similar vein of previous conferences, it’s titled “Thinking Seriously About Youth Work and Policy”.

‘Policy’ is not a word that excites the average youth worker, yet understanding what is going on around us and how these changes affect youth work practice is important. This conference aims to bring together political, academic, managerial and practice perspectives for open dialogue about policy affecting young people and youth work. There’s a lot to talk about:

Over recent months, many events have taken place with subsequent policy implications for youth work organisation and practice. Following the implementation of Coalition spending cuts, the Select Committee on Services for Young People, and the riots of summer 2011, a conference to reflect on these events and their consequences in early 2012 is timely and useful. We hope that the conference will present a challenge to practitioners, managers and academics to consider the new landscape, and how policy and practice might be better shaped in the light of evidence and experience.

Paul Oginsky, influencer of the Conservative party’s youth policy and architect of the National Citizen Service will be attending the day and doing a Q&A session about the rationale of current and imminent youth policy. Tony Taylor has already made a few suggestions about what to quiz him on! You can read some more here!

Other highlights on the day will include a reflection on the Select Committee by Ian Maerns (MP), a youth work panel session to be led by Bernard Davies, and workshops on the NCS, teenage pregnancy, the PREVENT agenda, and the role of faith-based and voluntary organisations in the Big Society.

I’m planning to try and get along, so maybe I’ll see you there!

Booking forms can be requested by contacting or visit the website

I’m sure many of you are descending into the thriving seaside metropolis of Eastbourne this coming weekend for Youthwork The Conference. Hopefully I’ll see you there at some point.

As usual, it promises to be an interesting weekend with a wide variety of speakers and sessions aimed at volunteer and salaried Christian youth workers. I’m currently at the early retreat day where we’ve been exploring the idea of regular retreat, reflection, prayer and contemplation. This was likened to being in a cave, and we’ve been challenged about finding our own ‘cave’ to retreat to. The last hour was spent off on our own practising being alone with God, and it seems people had some great experiences from doing this.

Also, here’s another shameless plug for the after hours session Ali Campbell and I are hosting later tonight in the Gold Room. It’s on “Perspectives on Youthwork: The Triangle of expectation” and we’ll be having a discussion around our role as workers and the wider influences on young people. Pop in and say “Hi”!

If you can’t make it to the conference, then follow along on twitter with the hashtag #ywc2011 and join the conversation.

Youth Work Week ’11

31 October 2011 — Leave a comment

Today marks the start of National Youth Work Week 2011. This years theme is: “Youth Work – Bringing Communities Together”.

National Youth Work Week has been coordinated by the National Youth Agency since 1993, providing an opportunity for youth organisations, youth workers and young people engaged in youth work to celebrate the achievements and impact of youth work throughout the UK.

A lot of effort has already gone into the week, with numerous youth projects hosting special events and celebrations. There is even a Youth Worker Award (although the deadlines for nominations was 14th October). If you want to get involved or find out more, you can visit the Youth Work Week page on the National Youth Agency Website. There are various materials available for download including ideas for things to do. You can also join in on twitter using the hashtag #YWW11, and Facebook.

Go get involved and promote youth work!

Connected Generation 2011 is an UnConference around engaging young people through digital means, organised through the youth work online network. I went to the 2008 event which I blogged about here, but couldn’t do the 2009 or 2010 events. Here’s the basic details on this year:

Date: Saturday 21st May 2011, 10:00am – 4:30pm

Location: ‘The Hub’ Kings Cross, London

Cost: FREE!

From the explanation:

Understanding and engaging with the digital world is no longer an optional extra for those working with young people – it’s essential. We’ve put together a un-conference as a space to explore what the digital world means for young people’s lives, and for our practice working to support young people’s positive development and thriving. We hope you find this an useful, interesting and enjoyable opportunity to connect with new theory and practice, and, most importantly, with other practitioners exploring new frontiers of youth engagement.

From experience I can tell you it’s an exciting and fun day and well worth plugging into if you’re exploring ways of working with young people through digital media. If you’re confused by the concept of an ‘UnConference’ there’s a quick explanation:

An unConference is created by the participants – and it works best when everyone comes prepared to offer a session. Your session could be a short presentation of a project you have recently worked on using digital media for youth engagement; or it could be a topic for discussion; or an issue you want to get the insights of others on. When you register you have the opportunity to suggest a session you may offer.

This may sound a little daunting, but it works very well as a way of engaging delegates, and you come away with far more ideas and actions because you get involved in the day. As usual, there will be WiFi available at the venue, so people will be online throughout the day and tweeting with the hashtag #cgen11.

More detailed information is available on Katie Bacon’s website, or you can book your free space directly here. Do it now before it gets full!