Tonight I met a bunch of youth workers for dinner to celebrate the amazing work they had done throughout the year. We ate, we drank and reminisced about the work that had been done. Camps, friday night programs, mentoring, leadership development and much much more. Over some amazing Thai food we spoke about the future and how to support the young people to begin developing their own programs. It was a real encouragement to see the amazing work that can be done by committed youth workers who are passionate about their young people.
As youth workers we often hear the stories of difficulties, trouble and trauma. But, it is the mountaintop moments which keep us encouraged. By mid year I was a bit over everything. I had been teaching, running programs and generally just scraping by. As I was about to start a new mental health class in July, I was floored when a new student happened to be a former young person I had worked with almost a decade ago. I cried, we hugged it was a very touching moment.
A client of ours recently took on a new job after a transition time in their organisation meant they had to move on. We caught up together over a chocolate milkshake and chatted about the new role and the amazing opportunities it would hold. We spoke about the successes he had in his previous role, the families he supported, the young people he helped back to school and the training opportunities he provided. We laughed till we wept and in the end were encouraged by each others company.
When the tough times hit it is easy to see them. It is these times that we need to focus on the mountaintop experiences of our past. They will help us get through the tough times and encourage us to continue to stay the course. Celebrate your successes!