Now out:

yresearch – journal of social research and evaluation

This new journal includes articles by:

Dr William Mason: A Critical Case for Participant Action Research in Youth Work
Dr Ken Harlandand and Professor Sam McCready: Youth Work Methodology os Social Research?
Dr Naomi Stanton: Challenging Myths about Young People and Organised Crime through Collaborative Research
Dr Martin Allen and Professor Patrick Ainley: Apprenticeships. New Opportunities for Young People, or Another Great Training Robbery?
Dr Liesl Conradie: Rethinking Personal and Professional Boundaries Between Young People and Youth Work Practitioners as Manifested through Connections On Online Social Network Sites


Innovation in Youth Work: Thinking in practice

Edited by Naomi Stanton
Published by YMCA George Williams College

Noami Stanton (ed.) Innovation in Youth Work. Thinking in practiceThis book aims to offer reflections for youth workers to stimulate their thinking, dialogue and practice. Some of the sections include suggested activities that can be used with young people directly; others are for use with staff and volunteers to prompt discussion about youth work in the current context that practitioners find themselves in. Our aim for the resource is that it will encourage innovative thinking and practice through ideas and activities that youth workers find useful and that will help them to consider their work together with other youth workers and young people. A range of issues and topics is covered within the book including, among others; volunteering, evaluation, conflict, mentoring and social action.

It is not a resource compiled for practitioners by academics. A large number of its contributors are practising youth workers. It is a practical toolkit drawn from practice itself. Therefore the topics covered are current issues for current practitioners. In particular, it considers how we might explore the values and practices of youth work at a time when youth work feels under threat. We hope that it encourages optimism and innovation despite current challenges to the field.

The book has been created through a wider project taking place at YMCA George Williams College that has been concerned with encouraging ‘Innovation and Skills for Youth Work’. This project has been supported by funding from The Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Awards for All: England’ programme and has involved two national youth work conferences and ten regional training days as well as the development of this resource for practitioners. The project aimed to provide space and opportunities for youth workers (particularly volunteers and new practitioners) to reflect on, develop and upskill their practice. We hope that this resource plays a small part in continuing to sustain and encourage youth workers because we firmly believe that youth work is valuable and the role that youth workers play is highly significant to the young people they engage with.

Paperback and ebook. 76 pages. ISBN 978-0-950954-77-6. 2015.

Download Innovation in Youth Work (pdf)

Youth work and faith: Debates, delights and dilemmas

Mark Smith, Naomi Stanton and Tom Wylie (eds.) Youth work and faithEdited by Mark K. Smith, Naomi Stanton and Tom Wylie
Published by Russell House

This excellent book seeks to interrogate some of the implicit tensions, issues, debates, contradictions and doubts surrounding youth work and faith, and yet ultimately it contains an editorial call to embrace the contribution that the faith-based sector makes. It is not however a celebratory text. Indeed, the editors have crafted a book that remains critically reflexive and this is one of its clear strengths. The volume brings together authors who subscribe to a range of viewpoints and subject-positions and/or have studied diverse faith-based communities (Jewish, Christian, Muslim and inter-faith settings). Across 11 chapters, a number of thematic ideas are engaged with including dialogue, participation and reflection. Perhaps the book’s strongest theme is how the lines between the personal and professional are blurred in youth work contexts… Despite the different positionalities and beliefs held by contributors and/or the young people who they have researched, what unites all the chapters is a faith in the potential of youth work itself.
Another of the book’s strengths is the primacy given to the voices of practitioners and/or practice-led researchers.

Sarah Mills – REVIEW in Children’s Geographies (2015)

Following the recent decline in statutory youth work provision alongside growth in the faith-based sectors, thinking about youth work and faith is crucial, both to those working in faith-based settings and those working with them as partners or funders.

This unique book draws on the debates, delights and dilemmas of the relationship between youth work and faith. It is informed by a range of perspectives, from specific faith traditions as well as cross-cutting issues, and will enhance both practice and study.

In recent years, the balance of youth work provision has markedly shifted so that, at present, more full-time workers are employed in faith settings than secular ones. This book fills a gap in the market for a contemporary youth work text that addresses the underlying tensions within faith-based work and embraces a multi-faith approach. Its editors have worked within faith-based, voluntary and statutory youth work sectors; this balance of experience ensures that the book approaches the debates around youth work and faith in a way that is relevant to the youth work field as a whole.

The chapter authors approach the issues from academic and practitioner perspectives and cover a range of pertinent topics, including: Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth work; talking about sex and sexuality with young people of faith; youth work around death and dying; using spirituality as a youth work tool; and the issue of indoctrination in faith-based provision.

The book opens up the debate between the faith-based and wider (or other?) youth work sectors, recognising the field in its current form and the issues and opportunities we face as we approach a new era in youth work policy and practice.

Paperback. 176 pages. 978-1-905541-86-7. March 2015. £14.95. Order from Amazon


Learning through outdoor experience. A guide for schools and youth groups

cover - learning through outdoor experienceAlan Rogers and Mark K. Smith (editors)
Published by YMCA George Williams College

a5 version [free] · a4 version [free] · mobile version (mobi/prc) [free] · Kindle version from Amazon

Experiencing the outdoors can be a powerful stimulus for learning. Being deep in a forest, feeling alone on a hillside or just sharing a cup of tea around a fire can set us on a path that changes the way we think about ourselves, our relationships and way we live our lives.

These pages are a compilation of practical insight and advice on the educational potential of the outdoor experience – and what we can do to deepen learning and support change.

Making the guide

Learning through outdoor experience was written by a team of people involved in outdoor learning and experience. They are part of a network of workers and agencies linked to the Rank Foundation (yarn) in the UK. As well as drawing on their own experience and expertise they were also helped by responses and contributions by more than 50 other people in the network

The contents

Our guide follows a simple structure, with sections covering: before; during; and after. Each stage is broken down into its key elements – 28 in all. Each element includes:

  • an explanation of its importance;
  • stories and experiences from the field;
  • sample activities designed to engage young people in the process;
  • a summary of key points to remember.

Contributions from Amanda Davies, Chris Dunning, Charlie Harris, David Hassard, Chris Saunders, Danielle Sharp, Jenny Tibbles, Mark Williams and Kai Wooder

Picture: learning through outdoor experience – image logic cafe – all rights reserved

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