Can youth club combine forces with the internet to create a modern desirable youth service?

The internet… the world in which many of us now live in. People can access the internet from near enough anywhere in the world, young people are growing up in an age where access to the internet is increasing and alongside this is their access to social media, gaming, online study, shopping and a whole host of other things.

Upon reflection of my own experience (I am considered a young person) I can remember back to my Primary School education where we had one computer for the whole school to access which meant that we used it around once a fortnight or possibly even less, this changed during High School when I had I.T lessons at least once a week and a library with constant free computer access. Now in 2012 I feel strange if I cannot access a computer/the internet for one day, everywhere I go there is computer access, my home, my phone (for when I’m on my travels), my family and friend’s homes, university, work, the list goes on…

If I can take an example from one of the youth clubs that I work in, we have 2 computers for people to use with an internet connection speed of around 0.2mbps (only a slight exaggeration). So as you can imagine people don’t come to us to use our internet!! They come for other things such as sport, cooking, arts and crafts and mostly for social, chill out time in a comfortable place. But for every one person who comes to youth club in our area there must be at least another 100 that don’t attend. Are they all hanging out on social networking sites such as facebook? Browsing the internet or playing games on consoles that use the internet to create gaming communities such as the Xbox live?

The reason that I am reflecting about this is that I can see a drop in the number of attendees at youth club which my team and my manager have discussed. My manager believes it is because young people are all on Xbox live and I have come to the conclusion that while we do not ‘compete’ with the internet for young people’s interest the internet is definitely an addictive, exciting place to be! So will we get with the times and become partners with the internet in the way that we work (for example utilising it for it’s benefits and combining this with our work to create a more tailored youth service) or will we soon end up in a history book/online document?

*Note I am aware that some youth services have already utilised the internet in their work with young people and if you would like to share stories of this please do so.

Who will win and who will lose out of the ‘Big Society’ agenda?

After there have been so many cut backs in the funding for youth and community projects all over the UK both within the public sector and within the voluntary sector it has come as a low blow to may organisations that the government may end up financing private sector projects instead…

Within funding available for working with young people as part of the big society agenda Serco and co have applied for  what may be £100m for two years. So where are youth and community services going now? Will private and voluntary projects work together in areas where public services have been taken? Or will voluntary and public services all buy into the private sector? One issue that cannot be ignored is that ‘One in 10 charities told researchers for a report by New Philanthropy Capital that they could close within the year due to cuts.’

All of the information above is a summary of issues within a Guardian article written by Daniel Boffey, the article can be found here http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/05/serco-bid-national-citizen-service.

What does popcorn and garlic have in common at youth club?

The answer is that they both end up on the floor!!

Last week a couple of young males went into the kitchen took garlic from the cupboard and threw it at their friends (meaning it went all over youth club). It’s surprising how quick a clove of garlic gets EVERYWHERE at youth club!!!

This week (film night) individuals had popcorn, which a different group of young males decided to throw around at each other, causing a mess that took them half an hour to clean!

In order to encourage these members (who are very nice valued members of youth club, they just like throwing food at each other) to take a more responsible approach to being at youth club we have decided to invite them to our planning meeting next term. We are hoping that planning the terms activities with us will encourage their understanding of how the youth club runs, possibly giving them respect of the centre and the activities that go on there. I also hope this will give us as staff the opportunity to  build relationships with them outside of the general youth club activities (as general youth club is quite manic).

Eventually we are hoping to have a ‘take-over’; through consultation we have established that a few members are interested in this already, the take-over would be the young people’s opportunity to completely run the club. For this to work though I think we will need to build organisational relationships with the whole group (around 40-50 people). I would hope we can do this by joining with a different small group of them every term to do the planning, slowly giving the larger group as a whole the responsibility of the club.

If anyone has any similar stories or advice/feedback I’d love to hear it,

Thank You!

Children eating, cooking and creating their own future? That’s right we don’t always have to do it for them!

The BBC News has reported on two studies which show that cookery classes encourage pupils to recognise and become more accustomed to ‘healthy’ foods resulting in a desire to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cooking isn’t just a fun, social activity it’s a skill which can be used again and again, making it a very productive form of education. Within this article a survey of 2,500 participants of the ‘Let’s get cooking’ project showed that 92% of them used their learnt skills at home.

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16854572

How can this be related to our current climate?

Cooking is a great way to educate children, young people and even adults on what food choices they have available, where to get them, how much they cost, what exactly they can do with them and how to use ingredients. Young people at the centre where I work love to cook, however we don’t just run cooking sessions due to the recession and budget cuts we tend to run ‘cooking on a budget’ sessions. Where we make wholesome meals (and sometimes desserts) which cost less than £5.00 for a group of people (on average I’d say around 10 people but it depends on what we cook)! So far we’ve made wonderful rice, potato and pasta dishes as well as experimenting with pancakes, chocolate, honeycomb and porridge (not all at the same time I might add!) The young people who participate are now experts at flavouring rice dishes, in love with porridge and can make their own oven chips from scratch, this week we plan to be making chicken burgers which I hope will go well (even if a session doesn’t go a 100% to plan it’s still a learning experience which can be built on).

If no-one in the group has experience of cooking a particular dish we use this website http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/. If anyone can suggest any other sites please comment below, and especially mention it if you know a recipe which will cost less than £5.00 to feed a group (we’re always on the look out for new things to try).

Thank you

Forming a directory and realising just HOW MUCH STUFF IS OUT THERE!

Currently my work placement is to find all youth and community provisions in ward areas of my city. Once I have found all of these provisions I will be hopefully forming a directory for youth workers and young people to use.

Firstly does anyone have any suggestions on how I can form a directory? I currently have no idea but will need to start making one around January 2012! I’m thinking about making it an online resource so that it may be edited with time.

Secondly I am surprised by the amount of youth and community groups that you can find in small areas! In a way it’s great to see as it raises your awareness of exactly how much is on offer to local people, in another sense it will be a bit of a pain to contact and collate everyone’s information and give them all fair representation.

Today I’m going for a walk through my areas to see if I have missed any provisions in my online search, wish me luck!

 

Thank you!