05 November 2019
How many of you have told someone that you are a youth worker and that person has replied “Oh that must be so rewarding”? I’m guessing most of you!
The truth is youth work is rewarding and it is a very special career. We get to see the young people we work with develop and grow over the years into wonderful human beings. We are providers of joy and all things fun but we also challenge young people, we empower them and encourage them to take opportunities that will educate them and develop their understanding of themselves and the world they live in. How many professions can say they make a difference like that?
So yes, youth work is a marvellous profession! However it is also an incredibly challenging one. Delivering effective youth work requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills and, as youth workers, we have to wear many different hats. We are carers, counsellors, educators, advocates, sports coaches, art teachers, listeners, caretakers, community workers, family support workers, events managers, resources managers and much more all rolled into one.
Being a youth worker is all encompassing and challenging and we are rarely recognised for the good work that we do. Because of this I wanted to take a moment to say how awesome youth workers are! You all do amazing things everyday for young people and I bet you don’t even acknowledge them as being amazing because you do them so naturally, without thinking, every single day.
The young people you work with may never tell you how wonderful you are and how much they appreciate having you in their lives. Their parents might never thank you for engaging their child in positive activities that broaden their horizons and keep them on the right path. Your friends and family may never understand why you do a job with such long hours, supporting people with such complex needs through the hardest times of their lives, and other youth professionals may never acknowledge the extra mile you go because you truly have young people at your heart.
So from one youth worker to another, on this very special week, I want you to know that you are awesome and important, you are creative and kind, you are the warmth and support young people need to grow; and although you may not feel valued politically, due to large cuts to youth services across the UK, you are valued by the people who matter most…. our future: young people.
Keep up your incredible work, stay positive in these challenging times, support each other and always remember that you are doing something magnificent!
– Lee Ritchie, Membership Development Officer | Lee has been a youth worker for the last 19 years.
Check out the teaser for our latest campaign on youth work in action, here.
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