Monday, 19 May 2014

#BEDM reflections from youth work summit

I'm sorry for those reading from #bedm if this doesn't seem all that relevant to you. But on Saturday I attended youth work summit an annual event for youth workers spread over the day with shorty, snappy 10 minute talks. This was my third year of attending and last year I made the mistake of not really reflecting on it, the thing with youth work is we're meant to be in the business of reflecting.

Saturday was perhaps my favourite event of the three, the talks seemed incredibly relevant, particularly Katherine who talked about her experiences of depression, perhaps this was intended for us to emphasise with young people but actually it had me in tears, a lady  who stood up on stage in her vulnerability and voiced what depression feels like - "despite the best interests of those around me I just feel... Down and out". Sometimes it's just so difficult to explain this concept to those around me, that everything could be perfect and I'd still just feel... Crap! Certainly, that was my mistake on Saturday going straight out afterwards, thinking a few drinks would help.. Actually, a night in, cuddled up under a duvet and watching mind numbing TV would have helped! 

Equally, I woke up early Sunday feeling... Inadequate. So many youth workers stood up on stage on Saturday and talked about their experience, their stories, their passion and it was amazing, I don't want to negate the event it was incredible. But I just felt so rubbish like I might never have that experience, those stories... Right now I can't find a job and that's consistently disheartening. 

Perhaps  there's something in that for next years summit, a what's next segment? Certainly we see that kind of thing at just about every youth camp over the summer, why not for youth workers?? 

BUT I was reminded by friends (and strangers alike) that I DO have a voice, I do have a purpose and a future. That my voice, my story, my purpose matters. God has called ME and ME alone for such a time as this. 

More than that, I was reminded by a very good friend who attended for the first time that part of the beaut of youth work summit is to fall back in love with youth work, remember why we wanted to do it in he first place. I've spent the last year in an amazing placement but also gradually falling out of love with my degree, the studying etc. But on Sunday I was reminded of the very moment I decided to become a youth worker:

Me: I think I want to be a drama teacher
Mum: hmmm ... Maybe ( this is not uncommon for my mum.. She might not tell me what to do but she'll make it clear when she's not sure)
Me: or a youth worker
Mum: yes, that's what you should do. Your life experience will make all the difference.

And it will. I WILL make a difference and my story will matter. So maybe one year it'll be me up there on that stage and if not, my story is still important and I'll make sure people know it ;-)

Thank you team youth work summit, I can't wait for next year. 

Until tomorrow... 

P.s. I had an interview today, so maybe it's not all frustrating!

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