Conference summing up and discussion : Are we a Campaign or Talking Shop?

As usual at the national conference in Leeds we were taking a breath about where we are up to and where we might be going? In this case these questions were framed within a concern about whether we were living up to the claim to be a campaigning organisation. Or whether in reality we were much more a resource offering information, commentary and analysis upon the world of youth work. The following video will give you a flavour of the ensuing discussion. Justin is apologising for the video being a bit shaky in places and the fact that not all the contributions were captured. No matter we are very grateful for his support. Hopefully this and other videos bring the conference back to life.

Amongst the conclusions and proposals are the following:

1. We should remain very much a campaign. Our history over the past six years lends this legitimacy.

2. We should continue to look outwards, seeking to increase our influence and capacity, drawing in such oft neglected groups as part-time workers and volunteers.

3. We should continue to develop story-telling as a robust tool of reflection, evaluation and a source of evidence.

4. Supporters should to be encouraged to make local initiatives, utilising materials from the web site.

5. As well as defending youth work we should attend to the wider ‘war on youth’.

6. We should beware that the emphasis on gaining statutory funding can lead to forgetting our underpinning principles.

7. The web site, Facebook and Twitter interventions are extremely valuable in maintaining our momentum. Our supporters should look to contributing to the on-line discussions.

8. We should look to organising a seminar/workshop to interrogate the ‘theory of change’ and ‘logic’ models, which are becoming so pervasive.

These said the principal requirement, if they are all to happen, is that more supporters and followers muck in. Looking forward to getting our hands dirty in collective endeavour!

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