For way over 25 years I’ve been an occasional, then full time, then part time, and now a Friday night Youth Worker. The Friday night group that I, my wife and a fab bunch of young and old helpers lead has now been running non-stop term time for 20 years which is also a pretty cool achievement.
So if it sounds like more than a hobby then I suspect yes, yes it is 🙂 It’s certainly something I’ve been able to do without thinking – in as much as I’m always happiest talking to kids more so than adults where I often feel a smidge out of place. I’m a child at heart – loving animation and geek things and drawing on tablets and so on… And pretending to be an adult gets quite wearing. Chatting to kids about school and worries and happinesses and so on, occasionally while playing football or Rock Band at the same time, is no effort at all.
But there’s one point in the evening at youth group when it all goes quiet… I do the door duty as I like to welcome the kids in at the start of a night and then, just in case anyone’s running late, I hang on for ten minutes (if we have enough staff to kids or I don’t think I’m immediately needed).
And in that time I generally draw a picture if no-one’s come out to talk to me.
Fridays are a smidgeon harrowing at the moment. We have a college meeting at 8.30 and then it’s pretty much full on until 5, and then it’s registers and emails and follow up and phoning students not there and one to one emails or reading confidential papers which have to be shredded and so on and so forth. By the time I get home it’s a few minutes to gulp down a meal of some type (although occasionally I’ve been known to be sitting in the passenger seat of the car eating microwave in the bag rice) and then we’re setting up at 7.30 and the doors time is often the first chance I get to sit down and stop.
This week I was a little glum as the only stylus I had to hand was a Bic Cristal which, being a soft rubber tip, I was expecting little from. But actually it worked perfectly and the kids who came to the group made me smile so, as ever, as always, it’s a very worthwhile thing to do and be doing. I often suggest people take up some sort of voluntary work, especially if they are struggling themselves, as it can be an hour or two (or three in our case) of time away from our own troubles. In my case I also get the bonus of grown adults coming up to me and saying ‘do you remember me…?’ which is also a lovely thing.