Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Youth Worker Resources: Youth Worker Cafe

Have you ever heard of Larry Bumgardner?  I hadn't until I read an article Journalreview.com titled:

Youth Workers gather to learn, network

Larry Bumgardner is a child therapist that was brought in by the Indiana Youth Institute to present at what was called a Youth Worker Cafe at a local library.  If you have time to read the post, you should.  It was affirming to hear why he belives that the world needs youth workers.  It ties in nicely with a post I wrote on the same issue (although my post came from the "real experts" in youth culture, the young people themselves).  Check out the video post here:

http://proyouthworker.blogspot.ca/2013/05/why-does-world-need-youth-workers.html

I bring this up because not everyone knows why youth workers exist.  Not even the youth workers themselves.  Unless we start to understand the need for people to do our job we are not every going to be respected as we should in the field. I am impressed that in places outside of North America, youth workers are seen as vital components in the life of young people, while often times here we are seen as little more than people that host fun events and that are not mature enough to get a real job.  This is shockingly apparent in the pay scales for most youth workers. 

Part of this is training.  I love the concept of the youth worker cafe hosted at the library.  If we start to take our jobs more seriously, connect with others around us and seek to make ourselves more effective in our work, I think we could see a revolution in the quality of youth work, longevity of youth workers and a strong impact on the lives of young people.  If groups like IYI exist in your area find out about how to get connected.  If not, create your own groups and up the ante in what it means to be a (pro) youth worker.
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