The first stop was International Christian College in Glasgow to meet Graeme McMeekin – it was encouraging to here about the course that he is running for youth workers, a reflective, practical and theological course, it would be interesting to mix that with urban studies, another key theme at ICC. Graeme also invited Clare McCormack from FYT Scotland it was great to hear from her and the particular challenges of Scotland, things like space and the vast quantities of it! They both shared about the ongoing support and resourcing for youth workers and some of the gaps, it was interesting to hear about Deep Impact.
I then made it across to Dundee and the guys at Hot Chocolate which was great, i found it a truly inspiring place to visit. The relationship with the young people is key, and this is emphasised in everything they do, I have seen many, many examples of ‘youth participation’ but something was different at Hot Chocolate, and i’m yet to put my finger on exactly what it is. I was inspired by the thoughtfulness of the work, with a value of reflection lived out in sessions with young people and the conversations between workers. If I lived in Dundee I would love to work at Hot Chocolate and it’s not very often I say that (if at all) I normally say, I could not work here or there, or if i worked here I would change this or that, Hot Chocolate, although i’m sure not perfect was certainly an inspiring place.
I was particularly inspired by a project they did called ‘Urbanized’ where they were helping young people reflect on the city, they built a cardboard city in their sports hall. Helping young people think about the city and what they like dislike or want to change, inviting various people in to explore this journey together.
A quote from Dave Close the Director, summed up my experince;
Are we making it easy and/or more efficient for young people or easy and/or more efficient for our project, church or organisation?
This is not always the Image you see of Scotland – no lochs or mountains, just the way we like it!!