Youth Fest – May 2011

YouthFest

 

Ein „Fest“ für Jugendarbeiterinnen! Wie das aussehen könnte? So zum Beispiel:

JugendarbeiterInnen aus verschiendenen Europäischen Ländern Treffen einander für eine Woche und bringen ihre eigenen kreativen Ressourcen in das Programm mit ein:

Music & Dance,
Drama & Theatre,
Sports and Outdoor Education,
The Arts and Play

werden im Mittelpunkt stehen, wenn an den 6 Arbeitstagen zu den folgenden Schwerpunkten gearbeitet wird:

1) establishing relationships
2) identifying and share existing skills
3) contrasting and comparing methods
4) further developing skills and methods
5) applying learning and practice among local communities and
6) reflecting on the process and developing actions so as to inform future practice

YouthFest wird vom 16. – zum 23. Mai 2011 in Derry/Londonderry, Nordirland stattfinden.

Wer Interesse an einer Teilnahme hat, kann hier bereits Details nachlesen:
http://cascadenetworkeurope.wordpress.com/projects/youth-fest/
Oder aber einfach anrufen:
Ali Zabransky, mobile: +43 69911903113

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Background

There are many a misconception among the public regarding youth work, e.g., youth work is merely about playing pool and table tennis with young people, youth work is about rewarding badly behaved young people with trips and weekends away, youth work is all ‘touchy feely’ and full of ‘do-gooders’ and that youth workers are youth workers and youth workers only.

In real terms nothing could be further from the truth and as regards youth workers being youth workers only, on the contrary, many youth workers possess a range of talents and skills that are rarely seen unless a particular situation necessitates it.

Youth workers themselves often only see themselves as youth workers first and foremost whereas they may be an accomplished musician, singer, poet, artist, DJ, joiner, etc, etc.

Over the last 4 years, Inside Out has worked with a wide variety of individuals from a vast range of organisations through a diverse range of programmes including job shadow, youth exchange, training and feasibility programmes and more and more we have come to the conclusion that we concentrate so much on our work we fail to exploit the specialist talents and skills that youth workers posses. We often become so focused on delivery we fail to acknowledge and recognise the talents that lie ‘under our noses’ and in doing so fail to maximise the opportunities that are presented to us.

 

In an effort to respond and take stock we want to facilitate a process whereby we approach training from the perspective of the youth worker and not from the point of view of delivering a particular ‘product.’ So for example, in July 2009 and July 2010 we delivered Open Space Training in Serbia and Northern Ireland – this is a particular ‘product’ that we delivered to a wide range of youth workers (and quite successfully too) whereas with this proposal we want to start from the perspective of the Youth Worker, i.e., maximise their talents and/or skills across a range of mediums, mediums which are commonly used to not only engage young people but mediums which are effective in engaging marginalised young people and therefore reduce social exclusion, i.e., Music & Dance, Drama & Theatre, Sports and Outdoor Education, The Arts and Play.

We will do this by bringing 50 youth workers together from across (northern, western, central and eastern) Europe and engage them in a six-phase experiential learning process: (i) establishing relationships (ii) identify and share existing skills (iii) contrast and compare methods (iv) further develop skills and methods (v) apply learning and practice among local communities and (vi) reflect on the process so as to inform future practice.

This process will be supported through engagement with local youth workers from across Northern Ireland before working together to deliver workshops to local young people. In essence participants can bring their skills to the process, test and ‘fine-tune’ them in a safe environment before applying and critiquing them in a more robust setting, i.e., with young people and in doing so learn from the process before returning home to apply their learning in their own environments.

Aim

To bring together practitioners from all over Europe in a common celebration of youth work practice and in doing so acknowledge, recognise and enhance specific ‘skill sets’ that not only promotes greater awareness of and respect for youth work among local publics but provides space for youth workers to engage in productive shared learning experiences that develops and enhances practice with marginalised young people in constructive but testing environments.

 

Objectives
YouthFest will:

  • facilitate a series of inter-related activities and events that raise the profile of and promote greater understanding of the youth work profession, practice, culture and communities
  • create a shared space for youth work practitioners from a range of countries to experience, learn from and critique a diverse range of innovative methodologies
  • provide space for participants to develop, arrange and implement a programme of activities for local young people in a variety of settings in order to develop skills and demonstrate best practice
  • engage local youth work communities in supporting, contributing to, participating in and reflecting upon programme activities so as to support the learning of programme participants
  • engage marginalised young people through a variety of recognised mediums that promotes inclusion, participation, fun and a greater understanding and respect for diversity
  • provide mechanisms to reflect upon the entire process and in doing so document learning so as enhance the practice of participants
  • provide the space for participants to develop initiatives that will engage young people in their respective settings or in joint-settings (with other participants) but which promote skill-sets among young people

 

Content and Methodology

The themes for the project are Music & Dance, Drama & Theatre, Sports and Outdoor Education, The Arts and Play. All of these themes are non-formal and informal in nature and are often used by youth workers to engage the generality of young people but are also acknowledged by the youth work sector across Europe as effective mediums for engaging marginalised young people.

Rather than reflect the interests and needs of participants, participants are bringing ‘skill sets’ with them which more reflect their passions but illustrate their commitment to the methodologies, so this programme is not necessarily about responding to an identified need but creating the space for workers with already existing skills to critique and develop their approach so as to maximise it and apply it more effectively in their local practice.

They will do this through a continuum underpinning the programme which as we have already pointed out, moves through a six-phase experiential learning process: (i) establishing relationships (ii) identify and share their existing skills base (iii) contrast and compare methods (iv) further develop skills and methods and (v) apply learning and practice among local communities and (vi) reflect on the process so as to inform future practice.

Phase one for example will be interactive so as to build trust and cohesion, phase two will incorporate presentations and inputs, phase three will involve input, discussion and feedback, phase four simulations, phase five (and most importantly) facilitating workshops and phase six, reflection and evaluation.

Participants will benefit from a process which allows them to profile their skills, critique and be critiqued, test them further in real-life environments and creating space and time to understand their learning and thus will ultimately enhance their confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness and will have allow them to fully understand the implications of their practice.

It is an experiential learning programme and at all times during its course participants will be engaged and interacting with one another. So for example, aside from the ‘obligatory’ getting to know one another, working groups (based on the five themes) will engage with one another regularly and therefore will help to set the ‘agenda’ and inform the learning process. The process whilst facilitated and led by a training team is designed to create the space and time for participants to interact from a very early stage so as to maximise learning.

Partner organisations will also make time before and after the training for participants to prepare and reflect on their experience and therefore whilst the programme has six phases, in reality there is eight that participants will actually go through, one pre-programme and one post-programme.

The post-programme phase will include a commitment among participants to organise a small project within their own settings or a joint-project with other course participants on one or a selection of the designated themes.