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Youth work is value based and its core principles are that it needs…

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to be based on voluntary participation – on young people being active in youth work out of their own will and motivation

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Voluntary participation is the basis and necessary pre-requisite for youth work, mentioned in all major European policy documents. An activity where young people are forced to take part could, however good it might be, never be characterised as youth work.

Youth work could be carried out also, for example, in schools or prisons, but is ceases to be youth work if young people participate for other reasons than their own will and motivation.



Guiding questions

To what degree does our local youth work meet this bullet point?

Are there sides/aspects of it that are not reached?
Are there differences related to different activities?
Are there differences related to different groups of young people?
Are there differences related to different youth work providers?
Are there other differences? Related to what?

Specific questions
  • How do we enhance our knowledge on what makes local young people want to take part in youth work?
    • What kind of activities that would attract them?
    • When and where activities should take place?
    • How activities should be organised?
  • Are we carrying out activities that are not voluntary for the participants? (E.g. holding school classes on human rights or drugs.)
    • Are these activities financed within the youth work budget?
      • Is this in line with the aims and principles of youth work?
      • Can we find other ways to finance these activities?
    • Do they risk to blur the role of youth workers and/or their credibility as supporters of young people (acting top-down)?
      • Can we do these activities in a way that is more in line with the core principle?


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Good practices & tools

  • Youth Centre Grabrik
    (Karlovac, Croatia)
    More info
    (Köniz, Switzerland)
    More info

Future steps

What different steps do we need to take in order to meet this bullet point?

Do we miss any knowledge that we need?
Do we need to take contact with stakeholders not present in our discussions?
Do we need to develop new competences, methods, work processes or organisational structures?
Can we find good practices or tools that might help us to improve this?
Do we have positive experiences from other areas of youth work that we can use also in this case?
Are there other organisations that we can contact and learn from regarding this?
Do we need to take other measures?
Do we have to revise our perspectives and/or priorities regarding youth work?

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