Youth Work - The Swedish Way
Fellows of the Swedish group had a meeting with a local politician who is a head of the leisure and health committee. She represents a left party and according to her, the decisions they take is joint with other political parties and they almost never argue on the youth topics.
It was the third day of their Job Shadowing in Borås and after the interesting conversation with the politician, participants visited another youth center.
'I finally understood the idea of a youth center here and how it differs from the idea of what we have in Georgia (e.g. youth palaces). Here youth center is a place for young people and kids from the age of around 10 years, where they can spend their free time after school playing with others and which gives them freedom to decide what they want to do during that time. They are also welcome to propose what activities or projects they want to hold in the youth center. As we don’t really have this kind of centers, except of those in schools itself, when kids stay longer at school till their parents finish working (and it is only for younger kids) We could try on the first stages to collaborate with municipalities to integrate this concept of youth centers in the existing youth palaces we have in many towns of Georgia. We could test this in only a few towns at first maybe, and observe. If it will work in our reality, we could convince municipalities better to open more youth centers,' - Says Khatia, participant from the country of Georgia.
The study visit on the next day was quiet surprising for the participants from EaP countries. They visited Swedish Church parish and one of its youth center. The pedagogues and youth workers presented their work and talked about the activities they held for young people.
'I learned how effective, useful and helpful church can be. This is a Christian church which welcomes young people of any background, sexual orientation, religions and spiritual beliefs. They don’t preach Christianity, unless youngsters ask them questions. But they are trained as youth workers, they are professional pedagogues and they also have psychologists. The youth centers have different games and activities to offer to young people, such as pools, table tennis, Xboxes, playstations, etc.. So they are fully equipped and ready to support youth. ' - says Khatia.