The Study visit took place at KEKS network in Gothenburg, Sweden 14-18 of May, within the frame work of the YOUTH WIN Erasmus+ project.
The main activities of the job shadowing were visiting different youth centers and listening to their stories. Each youth center had some distinctive methods, or had an slightly different focus. We also had the opportunity to talk with some youngsters. In that way, we could hear their experiences with the youth center and what it meant for them. We had a lot of time to ask questions, and to share/reflect ideas with each other.
Visiting different youth centers in different parts of the city also enabled us to see the city as a whole, and what it meant to live/grow up in that part of the city.
Which new knowledge and new work methods did you gain from this project?
– Throughout the study visit I noticed that most partners/participants actually work with youngsters (12+), as my organization mostly focuses on kids (3-12). I learned to acknowledge the importance of working with young people from 12+: this is the age in which they really start to develop themselves as individuals, so supporting them in this stage is primordial.
Unfortunately, in my organization we let them go once they leave primary school… When you’re 12 years old there’s not much to do or to hang around in Evergem, Belgium.
– The Logbook (KEKS web based system for documentation of youth work) as an ‘overall’ method to register output/outcomes is very interesting in nowadays society which focuses a lot on ‘numbers’. It does imply some strategical thinking about what you should exactly register, and what specific output/outcome you wish to achieve. But in the end, I believe this could prove some valiant information.
– ELD-method for recognizing non-formal learning takes some time to invest, but is in fact a very easy way to ‘reflect’ with young people about what they achieved. Furthermore this can give a firm boost to their self-confidence.
– Schools, teachers and other social workers are very valuable partners in reaching young people.
– ‘Ungdomspeng’ (a resource allocation model used in Öckerö municipality) is a good example of how young people really are able to manage and distribute money/budget themselves.
– Not totally convinced of the whole ‘Öckerö method’ for alcohol prevention… But focusing more on parents, teachers, … to have an impact on young people in terms of prevention seems a great advantage. It is good to establish a firm line of ‘tolerance’ and make a good agreement about consequences when you’re working with young people.
– The idea of a youth survey (KEKS Meeting place survey and KEKS Group survey) on a regular basis, to stay on top of what lives within the youthful community. Schools are important partners for such surveys. Extra: let the kids interpret the results of the survey themselves!
– From youth-work to area-based work in the City of Mölndal: not only focusing on youth, but also on elderly people etc. In a lot of cases they have the same interests and/or have similar concerns. So why not connect them? Especially when you can get youngsters motivated to do so.
– The tolerance project in Lindome City of Mölndal: if racism is a great issue, this proves to be a method which could inflict a lot of impact on young people. It convinces them to change themselves.
– Young city developers: youth/kids work together with adults/professionals to change their environment (e.g. park, playground).
– A personal approach for guiding (young) people to leisure works/helps (the story of Pontus Fritid). It is often a question of what time you can (or may) spend with/for people.
– Using student jobs to engage/activate young people in their own community: use local leverage and give young people the chance to do something for their community. Address/invite al young people to apply.
– Don’t focus on problems, but on talents. Easy said, but not always so easy done I guess.
– Work with European volunteers (Erasmus+) to stimulate young people to exchange and learn a lot in a non-formal way.
What will be the effect of your mobility on a local and/or national level?
A really direct effect is that I personally feel very inspired by this study visit. I got to take a lot of new insights and interesting ideas back to my own town/city. This means that I’m driven to actually apply some new ideas I got during this project. A greater focus on 12+ youngsters is the first and most important one.
Maybe I should follow more activities concerning the ICY as well. Had I done such a visit a few years earlier, I certainly would have been present at the ICY conference in Leuven last year. For this year I’ll follow further news about the conference.
Furthermore the Logbook-idea is something which we could apply on a national level, but this requires a national partner (VVJ) and also some local support of other cities/communities who would want to give this a good try.
At last, it seems very interesting to explore the Erasmus+ program, in order to engage/activate young people towards international mobility and a lot of (non-formal) learning opportunities.
Report by Bruno Smet
Hoofdcoördinator Dienst Jeugd
City of Evergem Belgium