Group of young people talking in the youth centre

2 June 2020

Hello again everyone.
In this blog I will be sharing some practical tips for all youth workers. In order to help not just yourselves, but also all of our young people through this lockdown period.

#1 – Help young people to learn how to express themselves.

This can help us to better understand/deal with how they feel. There are many ways to do this. It can be done through communicating, creating or participating, there is something for everyone. Writing a song or poem, taking part in a dance workshop, create art depicting how they feel and view things. Having an outlet to express themselves can help young people. It allows them to have some sort of control of how life has changed over the last couple of months. It also helps them to express how they feel if they are uncomfortable with talking to someone and explaining things.

#2- Help young people to understand their strengths.

While lockdown is a hard period of time for us all, it is even harder for all of our young people. They have been thrown out of their normal routine in a confusing time with no knowledge on when this will end.

Now is the best time for us to engage with our young people and ask about their goals and aspirations for the future and what they can do now to achieve everything. Having these conversations with young people aide them to really spend some time figuring what direction they want to take their life and in turn build some confidence to work on their plans. Having this discussion with a young person helps them to deeply self-reflect and really get in touch with themselves.

During a time like this self-reflection and finding out strengths and weaknesses are perfect; it gives everyone time to plan forward and start taking the necessary steps.

#3- Let young people teach you new things.

So many people have decided to take on a new skill or just learn something new during this period of time. Luckily for youth workers we are surrounded by some great young people who are able to teach us a lot. This is especially true when it comes to technology.
We are living in a world where technology governs the workplace. Sometimes, we end up feeling like it just isn’t possible to keep up to date with all the new applications, systems and sites online that we have to use while working.
Designate some time during your sessions with young learn about all the latest from your young people. You could even make this time into a segment during your virtual sessions or as a discussion or poll on your social media platforms.

Talk to young people about technology.

Seeking young people’s advice keeps them actively thinking and on the lookout for all the latest in the world of technology. In turn this aids you in keeping up to date with everything that you need to. Young people always have amazing ideas. They are often more than happy to help us in anyway possible. So asking them, never feels like a burden and is always a learning experience.

I hope you find these practical tips for youth workers useful.

Next week…

I will be looking at some resources and organisations I have used and looked into during lockdown. These can be used directly in sessions with young people and in the field of Youth Work generally.

Monique Westcarr
Youth Project Officer at YMCA St Paul’s Group, based at YMCA Walthamstow

2 June 2020