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The challenges of delivering good practice for volunteer youth workers in youth development organisations

  • Rod Adam (a1)

Recent research has shown that programs provided by youth development organisations are of considerable benefit to those young people who engage with the aims and activities of such programs. These programs (e.g. Scouts, Guides, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, Surf Lifesaving) are generally provided and run by adult volunteers. This article seeks to explore the main issues for volunteers with regard to implementing these programs, including the reasons why people volunteer in the first place, what community support and resourcing are available and the difficulties of running a program with too few volunteers. The main limiting factor in the success of these programs is the available volunteers, their individual skill levels, the time they have to give and whether they feel the return for their efforts is worthwhile. Community and parental recognition is also a significant factor in their satisfaction and longevity. Volunteers generally gain satisfaction and motivation through a mix of self-worth gained through community service and being able to pass on the program and ethos of their particular organisation. How long a volunteer serves as a leader is closely connected with their satisfaction level. The author's many years of experience at local and state level provides insight into the recruitment and retention of volunteer leaders and their important role in continuing to provide youth programs at the local level.

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Boys Brigade 2017a. ‘Boys Brigade in Queensland’,
Boys Brigade 2017b. ‘Uniform’,
Boys Brigade 2017c. ‘Fun, adventure, challenge’,
Boys Brigade 2017d. ‘Pan Australia camps’,
Boys Brigade 2017e. ‘Glengarry Education Centre’,
Queensland Youth Alliance (QYA) 2017a. ‘About the QYA’,
Queensland Youth Alliance (QYA) 2017b. ‘Member organisations’,
Seymour K. 2012. Good practice principles for youth development organisations, 2nd ed. Brisbane: Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University.
Seymour K. 2015. ‘Deficits or strengths? Re-conceptualising youth development program practice’. Unpublished PhD thesis, Griffith University, Brisbane.
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Queensland Review
  • ISSN: 1321-8166
  • EISSN: 2049-7792
  • URL: /core/journals/queensland-review
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