Staying active even in times of crisis

Staying active even in times of crisis

The corona pandemic challenges our society and our coexistence. How do young people deal with it and what role does youth work play in it?? These are questions that are not necessarily in the focus of the public. The nationwide "juco" study a research team from the universities of frankfurt and hildesheim found out from a survey of 6,000 young people that "young people want to be listened to" and that "their changed everyday lives and their worries are hardly noticed".

In addition to family and school, it is the clubs and associations, but also youth clubs and youth centers, where many children and young people spend their time, get involved and maintain the most varied social contacts with their peers.

Sandra ender, head of the city’s social work department and deputy manager at iso e.V., remembers well the time of the first lockdown, when the people in charge were faced with the question: "what now??" And "what can we do to get in contact with the young people and to maintain the relationships that have been built up??" In addition, there was the question of how to support the situations of the families at home. At the time, there was only one way to go: the entire work was converted to digital formats within two weeks.

"The renewed lockdown doesn’t hit us that hard", says sandra ender "since we were not allowed to offer the open meeting times this time, but offers within the framework of youth welfare and after-school education are still possible in fixed small groups." The changeover from offers in the digital area was easy in november. So you know what you no longer need to offer and what is well received. Young people are also still familiar with the media and the portals where they can meet, and they share their concerns almost as a matter of course. At iso, they are preparing for the need to design both analog and digital offerings in the future. Sandra ender believes that digital is possible, but that it is somehow "closer and warmer" in real life be.

Also a chance

Robert scheuring, dipl.-padagoge and since 2015 community youth worker of iso e.V. In strullendorf, sees the corona pandemic also as an opportunity to advance the pending digitization of community youth work. "Due to the necessary restrictions on contact, social work is virtually forced to rethink its own service structure and to go innovative and digital ways", according to scheuring. From his practical work in strullendorf, concrete positive experiences have already been made. During the first lockdown, the main "challenges" were (tasks/competitions in which young people can nominate each other to participate), photo competitions, online games and online meeting times as well as participatory activities and scavenger hunts in the different parts of the village are preserved. In addition, various video tutorials were produced on different topics, including art, cooking, handicrafts and nature-related learning experiences and outdoor activities.

The phase between the lockdowns was managed very well thanks to well thought-out hygiene concepts, a limited number of participants and advance registration. In strullendorf, there has been an enormous demand in the area of the children’s meeting place and the open youth meeting place. Digital aspects have also been included in the "everyday life" always thought about, be it the promotion of the offers via different social media channels, the digital registration of the participants via the app "iso go" or at the live stream of actions. Due to the renewed "partial-lockdown", the youths will be able to continue their activities some planned activities and day trips had to be cancelled. Youth work has been moved back into the digital space. Currently there is already great interest from parents that the children’s meeting continues online. This way the young people can stay in contact with each other and with the youth worker. Parents receive a list of materials for cooking and craft activities in advance.

Robert scheuring and his colleagues will now once again make increased use of public spaces. The aim is "not to pursue any regulatory goals, but rather to seek initial contact and dialogue at eye level", explains the youth worker. In addition, they want to act as an intermediary or "interpreter" interacting between young people and adult lifestyles and interests.

Olli schulz, youth welfare officer for oberhaide, had similar experiences during the lockdown in the spring of this year. Here, thoughts quickly turned to how the youth center could be reopened. In cooperation with the bayerischer jugendring and with the support of the kreisjugendring, a hygiene concept was developed, making it one of the first youth centers in the district to reopen. According to schulz, the kids did an exemplary job of keeping their masks on and keeping their distance from the youth center, because "they simply wanted to be live on site again.

"Simply do something"

With the renewed restrictions since the beginning of september, some activities had to be canceled, but the youth center can remain open because it is recognized as a place of sub-school educational work. Although the rules have been tightened once again and the number of participants in the events has been reduced, the visitors are once again adhering strictly to the rules, because the young people simply want to "do something and meet up with their friends".

Oberhaid’s mayor, carsten joneitis, himself a youth coach at the 1. FC oberhaid, but also sees that some young people fall by the wayside during this time. Interpersonal relationships are quickly lost when they are reduced to "playing together on the net and the only sport is e-sport on the PC".

Moving the activities to the net is not an option for the now nine female coaches of the RMV concordia strullendorf dance department. Regularly one has come home in the last years with rough results from bavarian, german and european championships and the prunksitzung of the gaaskeeser is not imaginable without the spectacular performances of the different gardens. But since the last carnival, corona has put an end to this. The training, at normal times twice a week, had to be stopped very quickly and tournaments were also no longer held. Gabi baumgartner, who has been head of the dance department since 2014, says how difficult it is for the girls and that some of them are sad because "all they really want to do is dance. She is in close contact with the other trainers via a whatsapp group, and they keep in touch with their proteges accordingly. "We are with the dance sport like a rough family", many friendships were formed in the process, says baumgartner, and there was now simply a lack of interpersonal relationships in addition to the sport.

The training was already stopped at the beginning of october and when it will continue, no one can foresee. The head of the department is now planning a dance festival for the beginning of september 2021 in her own hall. That had actually already this year to the 100. The show must go on" was supposed to take place this year for the 100th anniversary of concordia, but these events also had to be canceled.

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