12 Snippets of Wisdom From 120 Years of Youth Work

Brain Dump1

There are giants in the field of youth work. By tapping into their wisdom, each of us could be even more successful in our work with youth. This is a basic truth. Around the world, it’s widely accepted that elders have the responsibility to share their wisdom with younger members of the community. It strengthens the community as a whole, as well as the individual listener.

To begin tapping into the wisdom possessed by giants in our field, we facilitated an hour-long, “brain-dump” with 4 leaders in youth work. Held on July 21, 2016, below are 12 snippets from what was an informational and emotional hour.

1 Hour ~ 4 Experts

Over 120 Collective Years of Working With Youth

Steve Lepinski , CEO of Washburn Center since 1987. Prior to joining Washburn Center, he served for 13 years as the executive director at Storefront/Youth Action (a suburban youth counseling agency).

Steve Lapinski“You can make a difference, and you can change lives”

“You can’t just put a number on or a label on it (program), and say ‘we were successful!’ ”

“I am in awe of what people working in youth work need to know in today’s world”

 

Wokie Weah, the president of Youthprise since 2011. Bringing national and global experiences to her work, Wokie as Youthprise’s President provides executive leadership and vision to accelerate leadership, innovation, and systems for underserved Minnesota youth.

Wookie“Don’t think about how others are different from you. Think about how you are different than others”

“Turning hopeless situations into hope is what we do and who we are. We lead with courage”

“Finding a balance between passion and objective analysis is key in working with youth”

 

Tamar Ghidalia, the executive director of Urban Arts Academy since 2013. She brings a global experience to her work with youth.

tamar“The responsibility we have is to be a network of support for families, for a child to be successful”

“Youth work is about education, and the relationship between adults and the children, who both have an equal power within the relationship”

“Open your heart, your mind, your eyes, and learn how to be vulnerable with youth”

 

David Wilmes, with more than 30 years of experience in the field of Youth Intervention. In addition to having been the Director of Programs for Saint Paul Youth Services, he worked directly with behaviorally challenging youth.

Dave Wilmes“Realize it’s a journey. You are going to have to learn as you go”

“The models for youth intervention need to be culturally barred”

“Self-regulation is very different than behavior management”

In today’s world of immediacy, take the time to slow down and soak up lessons, stories, and knowledge from those who came before us.

Here are some ways to tap into wisdom in the Youth Work field:

  • Take time and call or email an expert in the field. Someone you’ve seen do a training, a board member of your organization, or maybe someone from the list above!
  • Ask a co-worker or supervisor out to lunch to find out more about their career.
  • Attend opportunities such as YIPA FEST, YIPA’s Quarterly Meetings or sign up to get updates on other networking opportunities.

I guarantee that reaching out to leaders in the field will not be a waste of your time or money (coffee for knowledge is a widely accepted transaction).

Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?

-Voltaire

Mandy Wroolie is the Director of Services at the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA)

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