Adding fuel to the burning embers of our pre-Xmas exchanges about the relationship between the voluntary and so-called statutory sectors, between volunteers and paid professionals here are two challenging blogs.
Some people are of the opinion that what happens in youth clubs isn’t “real” youth work. In fact it has been suggested to me (by someone hugely respected in the youth and community field) that youth clubs are “disgraceful representations of the archaic class structures of rural Ireland”. My very understanding of the purpose of youth work, and my own experience was questioned. Said person went on to insist that no volunteer has the right to say they do youth work
The notion that the dedicated and passionate volunteers who facilitate youth clubs have no “right” to say that what they do is youth work, or furthermore call themselves youth workers puzzles me. Many contest that the “right” to the title of youth worker is reserved for those who work in the field full time, others suggest that a degree in youth work is necessary to use the title. If we cannot decide on what exactly a youth worker is then how can some quite emphatically deny the title for those who volunteer in clubs?
The second, courtesy of Aaron Garth at Ultimate Youth Worker, muses ‘Is the professionalisation of our sector destroying the very foundation of youth work?’
Calling on the opinions of Dana Fusco and Gerry Fewster, Aaron concludes: