The Annual Yogie Awards (the Yogies) highlight the exceptional commitment, talent and innovation that exists in the youth sector. On Friday 30 November Belconnen Community Service (BCS) Youth Engagement was announced the winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Youth Participation award.
This award recognises an organisation, service, program or project that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to developing meaningful partnerships with young people.
Here’s what the panel said:
“BCS Youth Engagement has a history of effectively involving young people in their service design. 2018 has seen this become more integrated and involved, with leadership and input from young people actively shaping the service.
BCS Youth Engagement runs quarterly consultations at its youth centre, which are integral to the planning of events, supports, activities and the general culture of the youth centre. When young people suggest activities, workers assist them in planning and facilitating the activity. Revitalising the planning and participation process in this way has helped young people build skills and confidence, and created a strengthened sense of community and peer support in the centre.
To create a further ownership and investment in their local youth service, young people are also actively encouraged to submit potential interview questions when new workers are hired. Consultations with students are held in schools prior to commencing service delivery in the forms of surveys, friendly chats and focus groups, allowing for informed decisions about programs that align with their needs and interests.
When receiving individual support, participants are given the opportunity and encouragement to reflect what it is they would like to achieve, even if it is in contrast to what’s been included in their referral. Ensuring that young people have full participatory control over their support is paramount to the continually positive outcomes achieved.
By placing youth participation at the forefront of their work BCS Youth Engagement have achieved phenomenal outcomes and created a lasting sense of inclusion, respect and community among the young people involved.”
But the recognition didn’t stop there. BCS Youth Support Worker James Small was highly commended for the Outstanding New Talent Award.
The panel said, “despite being new the the sector, James is a man in demand; with his unique combination of skills and amiable personality, young people and workers alike are eager to engage with him.
As a street artist, musician, sports fiend and all around great guy, James uses his skills and interests to enthuse and encourage young people to develop their own skills. He has a strong commitment to strengths-based practice which is evident in the way he wholeheartedly empowers young people to discover and develop their abilities.
James has grown immensely as a youth work practitioner, receiving positive feedback from schools, colleagues and young people for the work he does where he goes. He has a natural drive to do the best work that he can do, so is always asking questions and reflecting on ways we can improve our services to all young people.
James is teachable, willing, and particularly interested in supporting and advocating for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, playing a role in facilitating multiple Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander youth groups and projects. James is constantly striving for best practice, evolving and expanding his knowledge to work successfully with any and all young people, openly identifying his own knowledge gaps and going out of his way to make sure he fills them. James is driven, passionate and an asset to the youth and community sector.”
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