Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Ways To Go From Good Youth Worker To Great Youth Worker

I realized a long time ago that I do not have all the answers to being a great youth worker.  There are so many other people that have traveled the path that are much better than I am.  I am thankful for meeting people like Shae Pepper who has some suggestions for youth workers on what could move them from being good - to being great at what they do.  Enjoy:

I have met some good youth workers in my time. However, I have only met a handful of great youth workers. One in particular popped into my mind when I was asked to write this post. He exemplified all of these areas and now runs an entire youth department of effective, evidence-based youth programs. I am grateful for the time I had to learn from him as he modeled youth work greatness each day.

1. Clear Core Values- Have a clear understanding of your core values. To be a great youth worker it takes more than just being passionate about young people. You need to know what you believe and why you are there.

2. Strategic Thinker- Have a solid vision for what you want to achieve with the young people you are working with. You need to identify the goals for your face-to-face work and in your own professional development.

3. Organized- Develop the ability to plan, book venues and trips and keep track of risk assessments, receipts and permission slips all at the same time. At the very least, you need to be self-aware enough to know that you need someone in your program that can do this for you.

4. Effective Leader- Be able to lead in a way that helps everyone (even your volunteers) on the team feel empowered, creates a sense of ownership for the program and allows for constructive professional development.

5. Teachable- One of the greatest skills is a humble, teachable attitude. Admitting when you've learned something new from your youth, volunteers or other team members empowers them and endears you to them.

Do you agree? What differentiates between a good youth worker and a great one?

 Shae Pepper has been a Professional Youth Worker for six years and a Volunteer Youth Worker for seven years. She has a Master’s in Youth Work and Community Development from DeMontfort University in Leicester, England. Shae has provided training for youth workers in England, the USA and Rwanda. She has worked with young people aged 8-21in England, Rwanda, the USA and Thailand. She recently started Youth Workin’ It, a consultancy service designed to equip and support youth workers and youth organizations around the world. This supports her personal and professional goals to provide better services and programs for young people worldwide.

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