Youthwork Summit

11 March 2011 — 4 Comments

The 2010 Youthwork Summit

The Youthwork Summit is back for its second year! The website just went live and is giving more details about the event which has been teased for a couple of months. But first of all the essential details.

Dates: Friday 21st AND Saturday 22nd October 2011
Venue: Audacious City Church, Manchester
Cost: £25 for just the Summit on Saturday, £50 for the Summit AND the Friday Retreat.

So last year around 600 people turned up for a one-day conference in London that was organised differently to other events. A wide variety of speakers got just a few minutes to pitch an idea, story, theology or experience to the crowd who then discussed it, tweeted it, and argued about it. It proved to be a popular and fresh format with those who attended.

This year the same thing is happening, but it’s moving to Manchester and has added an optional early retreat day into the programme. Rather excitingly, the early day will be an Ignatian Retreat, or if you prefer, a day of prayer and reflection with Mark Yaconelli. As a summary:

In the 16th century Ignatius of Loyola began a journey seeking a deeper experience of God. He collected insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book ‘the Spiritual Exercises’, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written… As a youth worker, Mark developed the use of Ignatian practices with young people, and his book ‘Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with Young People’ has become a much-loved youth work classic.

For the Friday evening, there’s a few things planned including delegate-organised meet-ups and  a private screening of a yet-to-be-announced movie with a Q&A from a surprise guest (I’ve got some insider info here but can’t say…)!

The Saturday Summit will be a similar format to last year. As the organisers state:

Our dream is that, in a single day, we go on a journey together that has a profound impact on all of us. When you come to the Summit, you aren’t just a spectator, you become part of what’s happening. The interaction between us all is just as important as the input from speakers and the 2011 programme will reflect our commitment to do just that.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to last year’s event, so am determined to get to this one. Even though I live on the south coast, I’ll be making the trek up to Manchester because it’s such a good opportunity to meet and network with other workers, and the format lends itself well to dialogue.

Battle of the conferences?
As an aside, I’ve heard mention that the Summit is competition for Youthwork The Conference the long-running event which for the last 2 years has been based only in Eastbourne (previously it had a second venue in Southport). I’m not sure setting them against each other is a fair assessment of the situation. Personally I think there’s room for both events as they have a very different style and approach (and are now also geographically spaced out). I’ve already booked some spaces for Youthwork The Conference in November and will be encouraging my teams to go too. There’s a great range of seminars across a variety of relevant topics, there’s bigger “main sessions” with worship and keynote speakers, it’s also really accessible for part-time and volunteer youth workers, and it’s only an hour down the road from us!

My only complaint is that the two conferences are scheduled around the same time of year. If one were in May/June time it might make it easier for people to justify going to both.

Will I see you there?


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

4 responses to Youthwork Summit

  1. Sounds really cool. I’d love to attend. It feels like the format would create a fun vibe. If only it wasn’t so stinking expensive to get there from San Diego.

  2. Hey – I’m hoping to go this year as we were at a wedding last year! As someone doing something a little bit new in youth work this seems like an exciting way to engage with what is currently happening and what might happen in the future of youth work. Sounds like a great format! Jennie

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