My lovely wife has been saving the world this summer. Well, trying to anyway. One young person at a time. She’s been working with the National Citizenship Service (NCS) taking groups of 15 plus year olds on camp and helping them to do community projects and fund raisers for good causes. They’ve done a lot of good….BUT…
I’m a qualified Youth and Community worker. This country, the UK, used to have a widespread and effective Youth and Community Service well funded by government that made a difference to young people all over the country, where ever, who ever as long as they chose to be involved. Youth workers talked down young people who wanted to riot, stopped young people committing crime, started musical careers, helped families year in year out. Gradually the funding was taken away by successive governments. Youth Work wasn’t sexy anymore. Who would want young people to realise their dreams and take control of their lives?
The money? It went first to the (failed) Connexions service and now to the NCS. Hey, I’m all for young people contributing as active citizens but the emphasis on citizenship in this case is about conformity and tied to the notion of behaving in an acceptable manner. I can rant on for hours about this so I will stop now.
Young people rebel. it’s in their DNA. Only when people (whatever their age) decide that things need to change does our society advance. Human beings are amazing. we can invent and create and adapt. Every generation thinks the one before did something wrong or could have done something better. With guidance it’s possible to help young people make informed choices. That’s what a full time, well trained, Youth Service can do…and now i see friends and colleagues spending more time on raising funds for basic equipment or rent and taking only minimum wage because this high profile flagship which the young people and their families PAY to take part in has as much funding for 10 weeks as used to fund a whole year.
In the near future someone will come up with the bright idea that to stop the problems we see with young people there ought to be some kind of year round service that caters for them and youth clubs they can go to….