A career? After School? What?! Yes folks, believe it or not, the career pathways in youth work are out there!
It is not an esoteric profession that only a few elite have access to. It is much attainable for anyone that is willing to work, network and advocate for youth. However, there is a sub-culture among the youth work movement that has been lost in the bureaucratic educational methods of the past and is unable to create a new definition of the craft. This discernment of the ‘work’ is not sustainable, and can possible ‘kill’ the new intentional and transformational design of youth work that is currently happening in many parts of the world. While previous youth workers have challenged the dysfunction of certain “Best Practices” and the decadence of their predecessors, today the neophytes of youth work are at risk of mirroring the doomed shallowness that our education system in California finds itself in.
We can no longer wait for the field to mainstream a career pathway for line staff and site managers, when we know that one can create their own pathway using the simple formula: work hard and do the right thing. It is ironic that we find the solution in the daily talks we have with youth.
I define working hard by accepting that you will always be a learner in this field.
Whether it is from your own mistakes, your peers, the youth you serve, or trusted mentors along the way; we must always have a Beginner’s Mind as we move forth. Along the way you declare and model that message along to your colleagues that share the same raw, organic passion about youth work that you possess. Always remembering that the most fascinating aspect of your work is that a community will continue to thrive whether you are there or not because of your leadership.
“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” – Rosalynn Carter
It is time to dig deep and add fuel to your fire! We cannot let this imperative profession become another failed attempt to emancipate youth of mental slavery. We can no longer be a complacent group of people that are desperately clinging to anything that feels real in this field, but too afraid to become it ourselves. Instead of waiting for the pioneers of this field to create our future, we take the torch and become the new pioneers. A few heroes have pushed forth and started the revolution…it is our turn to organize it.
Oh, and for breakfast I had blueberries and a homemade green veggie drink!
Author Profile: @csecada