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Youth Stats September 1, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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The BBC has got an interesting report by the OECD which finds that 15 year old girls in the UK are more likely to get drunk than in any other developed country and more so than 15 year old lads in the UK. This makes for a good shock headline for the article, and whilst it is a serious issue that youth workers need to be aware of, right at the end however are a couple of sentences to celebrate some of the good work going on here in the UK.

It states that ‘children in the UK enjoy a high quality of school life and enjoy school much more than many of their international counterparts. Also bullying is less frequent and teenage suicides are less common in the UK than in most other industrialised countries’.

Makes you think August 4, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Young people.
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There was an interesting contrasting piece in the Times on Friday. Two articles – one reporting on Camp Quest – an atheist camp helped financially by Richard Dawkins (Britain’s first atheist camp) and a CPAS Venture Christian holiday (helping children keep the faith). The two articles offer an interesting contrast especially for someone devoting two weeks to running such events this summer. Ruth Gledhill sums up the two articles quite well on her blog here

I have long felt that there is nothing particularly Christian or even spiritual about the residential experiencs. The former Soviet Union used Pioneer Camps as part of their strategy for training youngsters in their ideology. But there is something about the what happens when you put a group of young people together. However in that atmosphere we can create space for open honest questioning and investigation – that is what I experienced most last week.

Of course – I believe God was at work but i counted it a real privilege to be with such a great group of people on holiday with God as a natural part of all we did. I was again struck by the relevance of the Bible for all time.

Is it Just me? August 4, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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There is, what I think is, a rather worrying report on the BBC website today about the increasing numbers of teenagers ‘sexting’. Sending intimate or sexually explicit images by ‘phone. The report highlights the dangers of this and in the middle of it there is this quote from Helen Penn from CEOP The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which I’m sure is an excellent organisation. However, she says “We can completely understand why young people want to post these images to each other.” Perhaps it’s just me being prudish or old fashioned but given all the inherent dangers or problems associated with this … I can’t.

Real Friends? August 3, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Media, Young people.
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There’s been 3 items about social networking that have caught my attention in the past few days

The first was the report written by 15 year old Matthew Robson claiming that few of his friends ued Twitter and wanted stuff for free off the internet. It seems to challenge some of the previously held views about the way teenagers use the internet

Second was Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflections that over use of soical networking leads to young people not being able to form authentic friendships

Finally was Thought for the Day by Giles Fraser that argued that too often church was only interested in ‘thick communities’ ie the traditional close knit community. Whereas for young people who were different, either through ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, fashion or whatever then the ‘thin community’ on-line provided a place for them to find genuine community.

Different views, different ages. No real conclusions but a discussion that youthworkers need to keep up with in the coming years / months / weeks depending on how fast all this changes!

Youth of Today 2 July 23, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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Best quote from the feedback form

Something you’ve done for the first time on this holiday…
‘Crossed an international boundary on foot’.
(We walked from England to Wales – and back)

Genius

The Youth of Today July 20, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people, Youth Work.
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Just got back from a  great weekend. We took 4 Christian and 4 Muslim lads off to The Quinta Centre in Shropshire and had the rather wonderful guys from Adventure Plus running acivities for us.

Just been looking at the feedback forms and to my astonishment several of the lads have requested more soap in the bathrooms! What are young people coming to, we never washed on weekends away when I were a lad.

War and Young People July 13, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people, Youth Work.
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There’s been lots in the news over the last couple of days about the deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan. What makes the stories of these, and other soldier’s, deaths seem so poignant is how young many of the soldiers are – 18 or 19 quite often. Now I happen to think that the death of others of all ages on both sides is just as tragic, but I happened to be speaking to a Brigadier from the British army last week and he was telling me about what it’s like in Afghanistan. One of the things that stuck with me as he talked was the situations that young soldiers are being put in on a regular basis. Having to make snap life or death situations in incredibly stressful situations.

For those of us doing youth work here in the UK at the moment the chances are we are working with young people of that age currently making all sort of choices. Perhaps it would be a good moment to pause and pray for their peers currently fighting in Afghanistan. Whether you think the war is justified or not,  the ages of these soldiers seems to me something for us as youth workers to reflect on.

Neets Increasing June 17, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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There’s an article on the BBC Website that makes for sobering reading. It highlights the latest statistic that the number of young people Not in Employment Education or Training (NEET) has risen to more than 1 in 10.

What are we aiming for? June 7, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people, Youth Work.
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As a child I was a regular member of Miss Kerr’s Bible Class. Miss Jean Kerr was a faithful and godly woman who ran the Bible class at St. Richard’s church for many years. Each week we had all the usual stuff – Bible stories illustrated in glorious flannelgraph, CSSM choruses, a promise box, sword drill (it was to do with the Bible – I’m not THAT old) and stories of missionaries from round the world. If any of those things mean nothing to you then

a) you are probably under 40
b) go check them out to see what cutting edge childen’s work looked like in the 1970’s.

However, I’m very grateful to Miss Kerr for at least 3 things

a) She instilled in me a discipline of Bible study
b) She encouraged us in small acts of leadership that engaged us and stretched us
c) She would constantly say things like, ‘And perhaps one day you too will travel the world telling people of Jesus’.

Miss Kerr brought us up with high expectations of what God might want us to do. Becoming archbishop or translating the Bible into previously unwritten langauges seemed only a step away. I might not have achieved those – yet. But I’m regularly reminded of her words, and her expectation that God would use us for great things.

What are our expectations for what God will do with the young people we work with? How often do we sew the seeds of ideas of achieving great things for God?

Thanks Miss Kerr.

Being Human June 1, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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In case you were wondering the quote about being spritiual beings (see below) was from the man showing us round the Hindu temple.