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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’.

Lack of contentment June 21, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Media, Youth Work.
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I’ve had a busy week and there are a number of items that I’ve read but haven’t had time to post about sio will spread them out over the next few days.

On Tuesday the Times reported on the fact that we are better off than we have ever been, but we have lost any sense of contentment. The reason? The Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that this is because the institutions of the past – including family and church – provided ‘commitment devices’ that stopped us thinking only of our own interests. We lose things because of the rampant march to individualism. This is all part of their publication ‘Contemporary Social Evils’.

As I think about youth work I am left wondering if we are pampering to societies norms rather than offering alternatives that enable young people to think differently about the world?

Keeping Going May 8, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Youth Work.
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Not long ago I was wandering through the Byzantium Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Along with all the icons and artefacts was a painting depiciting Monks on a ladder to heaven. They walked up a precarious ladder towards God whilst small devils tried to drag them off with long hooks.

The obvious message was the challenge to avoid temptation and keep on to the end of the journey. But was fascinated me was that some of the devils were succesful in pulling monks off the ladder, but not just the ones at the bottom starting out, but some at the top who were so near.

It was a really honest reflection on the challenge of keeping going in the Christian life and it’s just as easy to fall away due to temptation as an old timer as a fresh faced young enthusiast.

This theme came up again at a recent Scripture Union Conference when we looked at the life of Gideon, and the challenge was given to ‘End Well’.

We’re often good at starting and think about the middle of the journey, but it got me to thinking what is it I’m doing now to make sure I end well (hopefully not for may years).

Youth Well-being April 21, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Youth Work.
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A report today reported on BBC news shows that the UK is ranked 24th out of 29 on Youth wellbeing. This follows on from the Good Childhood inquiry which expressed concern about the wellbeing of children.

This is really interesting since we already have significant emphasis on Children and Young People through the goverments Every Child Matters and the Youth Matters agenda.

So what part does today’s youth worker have to contribute to this debate? As the church is now the largest employer of youth workers, in what ways are we getting involved in making a difference to these stats? It would be easy to complain about what is happening – the key question for me is what are we going to do about it? I’d love to see examples of youth work that does make a difference to these issues.

Of course teaching the Bible is part of the answer but how much of what we do takes the broader agenda of youth wellbeing seriously?