After a tour of the office space, and brief chats with all of the friendly staff, I began looking through the website to find areas of improvement and potentially outdated links. I found this to be really enjoyable as it allowed me to use my attention for detail and consider the design on the space.
After this I began looking through the films from the Quiksound Festival to select a few recommendations for screening. As I have a great interest in film and media this was really fun and I also saw some familiar faces in films from my school.
To conclude I spent time browsing for icebreakers and get to know you activities to use for youth groups. Experiencing this side of the youth programs Monash has to offer and playing a role in planning was really enjoyable and further made me develop a keen interest in youth work, events and programs.
As an introduction, I found my first day at Monash Youth Services to be really enjoyable. All of the staff were so friendly and welcoming and I was able to have genuine conversations with all of them despite my initial nerves. I was amazed at how many different areas there are to be involved in at MYS, which excited me as I love being able to try new things and challenge myself through different tasks. I was able to incorporate my passion in media and film into my work and this made my work even more engaging. I truly felt as though I was part of the team and as though my opinion and effort was valued. Even though it was a quiet day, my introduction has furthered my interest in youth work and I’m so genuinely excited for what’s to come throughout the week.
Today I started by doing some research and gathering some resources for the December theme for the social media platforms. Following this I reviewed the MYS’ social media platforms which I found really enjoyable. As a young person in this present day I felt as though I had a good insight into social media trends and what is likely to attract and engage people.
I then went on to plan some games for a youth group breakup party, which consists of people my age, which was really fun. I was able to browse for games that I myself would enjoy partaking in and I felt as though my contribution was valued.
I also got the opportunity to talk to both Sammy and Karen about their experiences as youth workers and how they came to their role which further drew me to this career path. Both Karen and Sammy had different pathways that brought them to MYS and were involved in different areas but they both advocated their passion for their work and shared how they love being able to be involved in a wide range of activities and areas which really appealed to me. I look forward to hearing more from the rest of the MYS team’s experiences and their individual roles.
To end the day I got to speak to Katie about her role at Monash Youth Services and specifically her work in the program Activate. She told me about the kind of work involved with Activate and their focus as a whole. This made me even more eager to go and watch the youth group in action.
Today I was able to get to know everyone here a lot better and I felt so much more comfortable. Every single person at MYS is so approachable and positive and it allowed me to feel supported and enthusiastic about working here. The wide variety of tasks I was assigned to engrossed me, and I found that the time passed way too quickly.
I started off the day by wrapping some toys and presents for the Activate program which I found was really enjoyable. Immediately after this I was brought into my first meeting to evaluate the All Schools Leadership program as well as a smaller program, led by Karen, which aimed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to seek employment.
Seeing this side of event planning was really interesting and I was even able to input my own thoughts on behalf of the target age group which was really great. The services and programs that Monash Youth Services offer really reflect the needs of young people living in Monash, and I found especially with the employment skills program that, despite me having a part time job myself, there were so many different aspects of employment, including taxation, interview presentation and legal rights, that I had rarely ever been taught about. Seeing firsthand the thorough thought and planning that goes into making these programs to suit the people of Monash was amazing and it made me really thankful for all the work that they do.
Following this I spoke to Emma about her work at MYS. She further introduced me to Quiksound, a youth led group that organises cultural events for young people in Monash. What I found to be really interesting was Emma’s motive for becoming a youth worker, which made me even more interested in the area. She told me that from the age of 16 she knew she didn’t want to be in a job where she was earning money for other people and wanted to be able to help others. She considered law, police work and medicine but found that she wanted to be able to assist others before issues such as a court case or a broken leg came to be, and rather aid in preventing issues from arising.
After my talk with Emma I attended a meeting with Siobhan and Karen to discuss planning for the Women’s Leadership Program that is run by MYS. After evaluating the program and its effectiveness in running it previously, Siobhan took us through the specific plans for each week, and upon leaving the meeting I felt completely overwhelmed. It was so amazing to hear about the program and how it assists women in opening up about issues that matter to them. So much effort had gone into planning such a detailed program to discuss topics in a really creative way and MYS had really tried to involve women from all different backgrounds to be involved in the program.
Finally, I was given the task of scouting for holiday activities to suit 10-25 year olds living in Monash.
I started off by continuing to look for holiday activities to put on the website, which was somewhat difficult, but fun, and then I went to a meeting with Sammy and Amey to plan a poster for the Youth Ambassadors. Seeing how much thought goes into every single aspect of planning to make sure that it appeals and is relevant to all people of Monash, and represents a variety of the people of Monash, was really interesting. It was really fun discussing the different media mix that could be used for the poster, utilising the MYS social media platforms and also physical spaces. I felt as though my input was valued in planning which was really great and I loved being able to play a role in planning and see the poster design emerge.
After helping set up for the Movember barbecue, I got an opportunity to speak to Amey about her role. She showed me the social platforms that MYS use and was able to give me a behind the scenes look at the thorough planning that goes behind each and every post, which I had never even considered. Timing, captions and specific images are all thought out and planned in advance and getting to see the structure of it all before it comes to public view was fascinating. Amey also spoke to me about how she came to her role, and the variety of jobs that she had in a wide range of areas before she came to MYS. I found it really fascinating how many different pathways there are towards youth work and all the different roles that are adopted here.
After a very enjoyable lunch with some of the MYS team, I spoke to Tim about his role and his heavy involvement with school programs. Tim had previously been involved with the school I attend and talked to me about some of his projects there, many of which I dearly remembered. He talked about his work with the Goodlife farm, which involves taking disengaged children out to a farm where they are able to work in teams and meet new people. His pathway to MYS again was very different, and it was really inspiring hearing about his motivation to become involved with youth work.
I then got to speak to Emily about her work in Quiksound and other youth programs as well as 1 on 1 youth support. Her motivation for being a youth worker really reflected mine in that she wanted to help young people, who often all struggle with rough times in some form, be able to see past issues that might seem like the end of the world. I talked to both Emma and Emily for a bit about the youth programs that they were involved with which was engaging.
Leaving MYS that day I didn’t want to go home. I can’t believe that tomorrow is really going to be my last day.
To start the day I worked on searching for some more youth holiday activities and programs and managed to significantly expand my collection, drawing events from other councils and small business. Part way through this I visited the Civic Centre with Amey to help decorate the tree in reception, which was really fun. Seeing so many of the staff from Monash Council in festive spirits, working together to put the tree up was really nice.
After adding to my list of activities I spoke to Bill about his work. He told me about his involvement in aiding those who are sleeping rough in Monash, providing care packages and access to support services. He showed me one of the packs that he distributes to these people which was really interesting and hearing about the efforts made to fight a prevalent issue in our society, as well as help others who are struggling was really inspiring.
After this, and with Sammy’s encouragement, I made calls to several facilities to ask about their holiday programs, and while I struggled initially this ended up being really rewarding and allowed me to gain more of an insight into the processes behind what MYS do.
Finally, at the end of the day I joined the MYS team for an afternoon tea, organised by Siobhan, to conclude my work experience. I loved being able to sit and talk to all of the people who I had grown to appreciate and look up to so much and I felt really comfortable talking and having a laugh with all of them. The afternoon tea finished way too quickly though and hence it was time for me to say my goodbyes and depart.
I cannot begin to put into words how amazing my week at Monash Youth Services was. It was quite possibly the best week of my life, and that’s possibly an understatement.
I loved sitting in on meetings and playing a role in youth initiatives and programs, but most of all, I loved getting to know the people who I shared my time with and talking to them about their motivation behind doing what they do and all of the great work they’re involved with. I am generally not one to feel comfortable with others quickly, but everybody there is so genuinely kind and welcoming and made me feel valued more than I expected to. They genuinely wanted me to enjoy my time and be involved with activities I would enjoy which was a far cry from the expectations I had, assuming I would be tasked with the mundane activities no one else cared to do. Leaving MYS I couldn’t wait to come back, hopefully, and be involved with one of their programs.
Thank you so much to everyone at Monash Youth Services – Siobhan, Bill, Emily, Emma, Sammy, Tim, Ben, Karen, Katie, Tanya and Amey – who made my week so engaging and enjoyable. Hearing about your work, paths and inspiration that led you all to where you are today fostered a newfound love for youth work, and after this week I don’t think I could imagine doing anything else. All of you made my week so much better, welcoming me, talking to me and making me laugh and I hope to be able to see some of you soon.
Thank you for an amazing work experience.