Youth workers: write, do or do both.

The most well known youth workers world wide are often one of two types of people. They are either the academics who write something worth reading or they are the youth worker who does something spectacular that others write about. 

The academics are trying to write something that the youth worker on the ground can use to improve practice or develop the sector as a whole. They bring research and practice together within the pages of journals and textbooks and ask the reader to implement their ideas. Academics write to keep their jobs. They write to expand their influence. They write to frame the work of the youth worker on the ground.

The youth worker on the other hand is developing new programs, working with those delinquent young people the news is always talking about and living out action research. They are learning through doing. They are building relationships. They are developing a set of practice skills that are fluid and framed. They are the ones the rest of us look up to because they just seem to do the job so well.

These people either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. However I propose another group. Those who write something worth reading and do something worth writing about. There is a growing number of youth workers taking to writing about the ins and outs of this profession called youth work. They are doing some amazing work and writing about it. They blog, podcast and video their thoughts. They write for the common youth worker and the academic. They speak from the heart and from the data.

Where do you fit on the spectrum? Leave us a comment below.

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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