28 August 2012
A few weeks ago during our Friday evening girls club, (after a half an hour set up and at least double that planning!) we found ourselves throwing an impromptu birthday party.
One of the girls was turning 13, and her friends had decided to surprise her with a cake from the local bakery (With her name on!) balloons, presents and all kinds of yummy treats.
When they arrived laden with stuff, I have to admit that there was a part of me that was a little annoyed that our slickly planned art session had to be abandoned but actually it was so great to see young people taking ownership of the session, choosing to have a party in a space that they saw as theirs, without adult intervention.
When I was training I was taught that the key principles of youth work are equality ofopportunity, informal education, empowerment, and voluntary participation.During this session I had the chance to be reminded of why those things are so important.
Youth work isn’t just about having slickly planned session and amazing activities,it’s about enabling young people to have a safe space of their own, where they can figure out what’s important and how to do stuff for themselves, the way that they want- and throw parties for their best friends!