How will our particular context be respected within the professional association?
There were two clear themes to be celebrated from the feedback thus far:
The collective voice and unity of our sector: This comes from our shared kaupapa of youth development. This was expressed as unity and a desire to strengthen this so that our collective voice has more weight and recognition.
Identity and diversity: There was an overwhelming appreciation for the diversity of our sector and the need to ensure this diversity is both celebrated and the autonomy the various contexts of youth work are protected.
There is a tension between these two themes that we navigate as a sector. Key unifying factors included youth development (including the YDSA), a shared commitment to our Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa, and Scope (the developmental assessment tool for youth development organisations).
There are a number of practical ideas that we are currently exploring that will allow us to hold this tension in a healthy way. These include considering reviewing our definition of youth work with a core shared definition that various contexts of youth work may choose to add to in a way that is consistent with our COE, as is likely to be based on a specialist standard from the Scope tool.
This is at a formative stage in its thinking and foundational members input is key.