It is often said that youth work is diverse – that it is a broad term covering a broad scope of activities, organized and delivered in different forms and settings by both professional and voluntary youth workers.
This is of course a sign of richness, but it also constitutes a problem. If we want to enhance the recognition of youth work and its contributions to young people and society at large we could not just focus on the activities as such – we must focus on the ideas behind them. This, we believe, is the only way to find the common ground from which we can start to develop youth work together.
In ICY we therefor see youth work as: Actions concerning young people (individuals, groups, organizations, movements) on their free time, aiming at and designed for supporting their personal and social development through voluntary participation and non formal learning.
This way to understand youth work is independent of which body or organization that is founding, governing, organizing or delivering the actual activity and also independent of in what setting and circumstances it is taking place.