|Our room at the school looks a bit different this year.|
In the beginning of March, I stepped out of my role as the Langley Area Director and into a position with Youth Unlimited as the Community Engagement Coordinator. With the Pandemic changing day-to-day life, the plans I had for this new venture shifted quickly. The speaking engagements and training sessions I was booked for around Canada and Europe were cancelled. The local aspect of this role was also put on hold as it is hard to grow a new role focused on making contact with churches and community groups when most people are working remotely and in their own crisis management.
The one area of my work that could continue was Youth Work. In fact, because most young people already have a presence online, it was easy to join in and connect with them on a daily basis. We set up an online account where youth workers and students could engage with each other. We played games, worked on art projects, had daily challenges, watched movies and discussed the world crisis. Even though we could not connect face-to-face, I found this a very fruitful season in connecting with young people. Not only were we able to connect with our own youth, but some of the resources we built were used by youth workers across the country.
In July, as restrictions lifted, we were able to crawl out of our holes and get involved in a summer school program at one of the local high schools. It was great to be able to connect with young people in person and get a trial of what things would look like in the schools this fall. The schools are very supportive of our continued partnership. In fact, the role of YU is seen as essential for the mental and social health of youth as they transition back into this hybrid version of school. Today we attended a school staff meeting and were briefed on the plans and procedures moving forward. Youth will need a lot of support in dealing with all the changes.
While my role has not manifested in the way we drew it up, ultimately youth have been able to get support and care and that is what the work of Youth Unlimited is really all about.
- Danny Ferguson