James celebrates the 12 youth work days of Christmas

James Ballantyne, blogger extraordinaire, leads us into the festive season. And all the best to you, James, for 2018. May your blogging continue to challenge us.

12Days-1

                                             The 12 youthwork days of Christmas

On the 12 days of Christmas my youthworker gave to me…

12 annoying icebreakers

11 months of funding

10 broken ground rules

9 (or ninety) games of ping pongImage result for table tennis

8 hr sessional contracts

7 jeffs and smith books

6 franchise projects (speaking of which..)

N….C…. S…….  (or if you cant bring yourself to say NCS, say D…B….S instead)

4 smart objectives

3 supervisions

2 junior leaders

and (deep breath) an annual report for the charities commission!

Just getting in there early with a bit of Christmas cheer, I hope your end of term, last few sessions, staff meal outs, final mentoring group for the term goes well, and that you have a restful and positive Christmas, ready for the challenges that 2018 might bring us all in the youth work community. Thank you for reading, sharing and being part of the ongoing conversation in youth work in the UK and I hope reflections from this site have been useful for you this year. Happy Christmas!

 

 

 

Using Sport as a ‘tool’ in Youth Work – more than a few questions

Ta to healthyliving.az.central

Funnily enough, I came into youth work as a part-timer, given the responsibility for running the gym in a magnificent, rambling building, formerly the National Coal Board’s Centre for apprentices – hence the facilities. Thus, sweating profusely, doing sport together with young people was my passport into making relationships. This said it was contradictory. Long ago I tried to write something about anti-sexist practice with young men,  the tensions of trying to be anti-sexist in the football or rugby team.

Any road there’s been a conversation on Facebook about the role of sport in youth work. which gives me the excuse to post a link to Sean Harte’s challenging dissertation.

Taking Sides – “A critical sociological analysis of competitive sport as a medium for democratic youth work”

Sean is concerned that it was written a few years ago, but I think its argument retains its pertinence. And to add, it’s a pleasure to rescue a dissertation/essay from post-qualification oblivion. If you’ve got a piece, which you think is worth sharing, just get in touch.

Sean’s foreword is as follows:

Some supporters of the notion that sport builds character suggest that `it’s not the winning that’s important, it’s the taking part’. The lyrics from the song below perhaps suggest that many supporters and participants of sport have a very different outlook on what is important …

 

WE’RE GONNA WIN

 

WE’RE GONNA WIN

DON’T WANNA BE A LOSER – GONNA WIN

CUZ WINNIN’ REALLY IS THE ONLY THING

GET OUT OF THE WAY WE’RE COMING IN

IF YA WANNA FIGHT JUST STEP INSIDE THE RING

DOES ANYBODY WANNA TAKE A SWING?

IT’S GOTTA BE ALL OR NOTHING

OH YEH WE’RE GONNA BE THE CHAMPIONS

YA WE’RE GOIN’ ALL THE WAY

WE’RE GONNA WIN

 

WE’RE GONNA WIN

FORGET ABOUT A DRAW – WE GONNA SCORE

AND THEN WE’RE GONNA GET A FEW MORE

MAYBE ANOTHER ONE JUST TO BE SURE

WE’LL MAKE YA LOOK JUST LIKE AN AMATEUR

UNTIL THE FINAL WHISTLE IT’S A WAR

AND THEN WE GONNA PICK YA OF THE FLOOR

WE WANNA HEAR THE CROWD REALLY ROAR

YA – WE’RE COMIN’ IN WE GONNA WIN WIN

 

WE’RE GONNA WIN – WE WANNA WIN

CUZ NUMBER ONE IS EVERYTHING

WE’RE GONNA WIN – WE WANNA WIN

WE’RE GONNA BE THE CHAMPIONS

WE’RE GONNA WIN

 

Written by Bryan Adams and R. I. Lange

©1996 Badams Music Ltd. / Zomba Music Publishers Ltd.

Privatising Playgrounds, Privatising Play

Playgrounds Uncut

As 2015 comes to a watery close the flood of privatisation continues to engulf the public. The open and free Battersea Adventure playground has been bulldozed. In its wake Go Ape, a witty entrepreneurial outfit as you can gather, has built a treetop adventure facility, cost of involvement £18 – 33 per child.

Lucy  Mangan continues the sorry tale.

Why I’m going ape about the privatisation of children’s play

Amongst her comments she notes,

I like it when companies give me the metaphors ready-made. Makes my job so much easier. They should probably charge me. “It’s a considered purchase,” says the managing director [of Go Ape], Jerome Mayhew, of the astronomical fee. “But I’d rather spend money getting my children outside doing something fun, physical and adventurous than buying them an Xbox.”

Let’s spend a moment unpacking that, shall we? Consider it the last gift of the festive season. “It’s a considered purchase” means “we acknowledge that it’s a shedload of cash” – especially for something that used to be free – “but we think there are enough local people who can scrape it together to make our presence here commercially viable.” The rest can go swing.

“But I’d rather spend money getting my children outside … than buying them an Xbox.” A nice cluster of false oppositions here, and Mayhew is to be applauded for cramming so many into so few words. Here we have, seamlessly imported, the idea that money can only be spent either buying children time outside or supplying them with devilishly unhealthy devices. That parents either want the best for their children or just an easy life. That you either spend money on your children or fail them. Neatly snipped out of the picture is any conception of people without money or of worthwhile experiences to be had without money changing hands.

So 2015 becomes the year we began to accept not just the privatisation of public spaces but the actual privatisation of play for our children.

Apologies to Playgrounds Uncut that I’ve only just discovered their Facebook Page with information and details of their campaign. It  includes this excellent radio interview with Paul Hocker of London Play.