Why do youth worker’s struggle to work together???

Over the last few months we have been working with a number of organisations to help them develop in one way or another. For some it is providing supervision, for others it is developing policies and procedures and others it is a top down organisational overhaul. In almost all of these organisations we have noticed that youth workers are really good at throwing each other under the bus! We are even better than our clients!
The amount of cat fights and general mistrust that we have witnessed is truly astonishing. Colleagues who would turn against each other over trivial issues and games of oneupmanship that would put most two year olds to shame. I must say it made me sick to think that I belonged to such a profession. It has led me to ask the question “Why do youth worker’s struggle to work together???
Here are my current thoughts:
  1. Youth work has become a competitive industry and this permeates through to staff. 
  2. Vicarious trauma which is not dealt with properly has to come out eventually, usually in burnout.
  3. When people work in close proximity in tough situations it can lead to some personality clashes.
  4. Managers provide minimal accountability and do not squash issues within the team quickly enough.
  5. Some people are just not cut out for youth work!!!

What do you think??? Leave us a comment below or post a comment on facebook and twitter.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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One Comment

  1. Not enough time devoted to team development and getting to know your co-workers.

    Not having the time to work with other services. SOme YP are very good at telling half the story, because we don’t take the time to talk to the worker from the other service to see what’s going on, we only get 1/2 the story from the YP often leading us to the wrong conclusion about the other worker or service

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