Monday, May 13, 2013

Why does the world need Youth Workers?

In the past year my eyes have been opened to many of my weaknesses.  While introspection isn't a bad thing, it can sometimes feel overwhelming and exhausting.  In the midst of all this I had a chance to have lunch with my former youth pastor. Even though I am in my mid 30's now - I still have a special place for a man that was willing to walk with me through the angst of adolescence.  His presence in my life is one of the contributing factors to my own career path.  In fact, the very name of this website came from his weekly self introduction of being a "professional youth pastor - don't try this at home".  This was a bit of a tongue in cheek statement because he really was just a guy that was willing to give his time to listen.  Anybody can do that, but few actually do.  In fact he still does.  Even though he isn't a youth worker any more he highlights why youth workers are needed in our society. 

It is a good theory right?  One that a "professional youth worker" can come up with and market, but is it right?  I decided to ask a group of kids that question at an after school art program that I help facilitate.  These are off the cuff interviews I recorded and edited on my phone, so the quality isn't the greatest, but know you are getting authentic answers.

So there you have it.  The world needs youth workers because everyone needs someone they can turn to when they need to be heard.  That is easier said than done.  It takes hours upon hours to build trust and friendship to the point of true mentorship. Just this past week I got a phone call from a young person who needed someone to talk to after finding out some difficult news.  They remembered me from their time in high school and even though I hadn't seen them in years, they knew I was someone they could trust to listen.  That highlights the reason why I keep doing this job. If you are a youth worker - be encouraged to keep going.  If you are a supporter of youth work: THANK YOU! If you fall somewhere in-between, I encourage you to support youth work either in your own community - or you can support my work as I try to be a consistent presence in kids lives.

You can support my work by clicking on the following link

Be sure to write "Danny Ferguson" in the staff member field.  Know that 96.05% of the money you give goes directly toward my work with young people, the other 3.95% allocated to keeping our administration running smoothly.  I challenge you to find a better ratio out there.

Also I'd love to hear why you think the world needs Youth Workers.  Leave a comment below.
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