Story: Lydia Flanagan
Christ Church Pitsmoor has in the past 5 months been working with 19 year old German youth worker Julia Meier. Julia comes from a village in Germany on the French border called Altenheim and was a part of the youth group team there, assisting in organising and leading the groups and activities available for the young people.
After finishing A-level studies, Julia heard about a youth work role in England, and talked to her own youth leader about the possibility of spending a year in this country. It is quite common in Germany for people of Julia’s age to graduate and move to another country for a year to live and work there, but leaving home, family and friends can nevertheless still be a little daunting!
Julia has been working alongside Christ Church’s Youth Leader Hendrik Klaver, getting involved in the youth groups and activities run by the Church.
One group – GenR8, is a Friday drop-in at the Welcome Centre, where 11- 18 year olds from the local area can simply take part in the fun activities and games going on.
As Hendrik is a Youth and Families Development Worker , Julia is active in the community helping out at the local school, Pye Bank Primary School, assisting in lessons and teaching some German to the Year 6 pupils. She has also started helping out at a women’s English for Speakers of other languages group based in Pye Bank school.
In Germany, there are programmes for young people from 14 years old, to start thinking about being a youth leader and they are taught the principles, techniques and activities for this over 2 years.
In Christ Church there is a similar group called Kinetic which teaches young people the values of being a good leader and encourages them to think about their own positive qualities and adapting them for leadership.
Julia believes such programmes are important for youth work because young people need a space out of school to socialise and grow in themselves; and having passionate and committed young adult volunteers is important to the success of any youth group.
After spending 5 months in Sheffield, Julia has seen people from all backgrounds, cultures and faiths successfully living and working together and has become more open to the difficulties people from different cultures face.
She is also more aware of the influence the British culture has had on her own culture and the small everyday differences between England and Germany, such as the amount of tea you drink, that you wouldn’t usually notice.
For more information about Christ Church Pitsmoor's youth activities contact Hendrik on 07771 590 034.