Practice Revealed: The Moral Impasse

I won’t apologise for this double posting. It appeared on the In Defence site a couple of hours ago. Very stimulating, in my opinion.

At the Preston In Defence of Youth Work meeting on Friday, June 12,we touched briefly on the need for workers to tell their own stories of practice. We mourned the lack of material. However God’s Lonely Youth Worker has come to our rescue on the Children and Young People site.  The piece begins:

I’d worked hard with the “ASBO” group. They’d been identified by the Anti-Social Behaviour Team as being at risk of becoming entangled within the criminal justice system. I liked them. They were quite an elusive little group but they had an interesting collective character.

God, did they think they were hard. Proper little tough-nuts who were afraid of no one or no thing but terrified of showing any trace of vulnerability. I had to use a lot of reverse psychology to get them to believe they wanted me more than I wanted them. I would dangle carrots but never directly in their direction. I would never, ever outstay my welcome when I met them on the streets and would always leave them wanting more.

It goes on to recount the Youth Service’s response to the development of the relationship. Already it has provoked a cracking discussion. Basically I think we should muck in and contribute our pennyworth. Excellent stuff.



There has been a positive response to the limited circulation of the draft Open Letter, ‘In Defence of Youth Work’. As it is we have added a couple of clauses, courtesy of Bernard Davies, to the definition of ‘an emancipatory and democratic youth work’. Our long-lost comrade from the 70’s and 80’s, Roy Ratcliffe, took time out from his work in the Palestinian Solidarity movement to chastise us in the friendliest way for not being bold enough in our declaration. Hopefully in the coming debate we will engage with his criticisms. For now we are going to proceed with a sort of official launch of the Letter at Youth and Policy’s History  conference in Durham. March 6-8. Dependent on the feeling and signatories generated, we will thence circulate the missive as widely as possible. If the initiative gathers sufficient momentum we are keen to organise three low-cost regional one day gatherings, if possible in the same week, to explore together where we are up to and where we might go.



There was a positive response to the Open Letter from many of those attending the Y&P Durham conference. Hence we have set up a separate Blog to support the initiative, which is already sprouting regional meetings.

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Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm  Comments (15)  
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