I’d been recommended Don’t Shoot!: I’m a Detached Youth Worker by Mike and Inez Burgess as a great text for thinking about detached youth work.
The book is very straightforward based clearly on Mike and Inez numerous years of experience of detached youth work. It is illustrated throughout with case studies, photographs and posters involving young people with whom he has worked for many years, this book brings to life the fun, enjoyment, challenges and difficulties of detached youth work everywhere. The last section of the book is full of photocopiable documents that you can adapt to support your work, whether you are a detached worker, a manager, or in a partner agency.
They start by highlighting good techniques for doing reconnaissance – encouraging people to spend 6-8 months just walking around and beginning to engage with the community before trying to do anything specific. Chapters 2 and 3 were very helpful with thoughts and reflections on how to do detached youth work with young men and young women. The chapter on working with young women was very helpful as it was written from a male perspective – so often the current trend is for women to do women’s work which is an ideal but often the employed youth worker is a male who still needs to develop positive approaches to working with young women. The rest of the book focuses on particular case-studies based around gambling, employing, partnership with other agencies, and managing others who are involved in detached work.
In the same way this book was heavily recommended to me, I will be encouraging other youth workers I know to read this book.