We caught up with youth worker Gary Clayton to ask him about his experience of Global Youth Work and how this has supported his work with young people at his local YMCA.
Can you describe how you got involved with the YMCA and what your role is there?
About two years ago, I moved in as a resident YMCA Black Country (formerly West Bromwich & District YMCA). It was here I discovered my passion for working with young people and wanted to pursue a career in youth work, and eventually became a peer mentor for YMCA Black Country. Since then I’ve supported young people there explore several issues through Global Youth Work. Like the Y HOOD project which looked at gangs in the UK and the links to and gangs around the world and the reasons why people join them. I also took part in workshops about the Millennium Development Goals and joined the G8 Rally at Hyde Park as part of the IF Campaign.
Gary having his say on young people’s issues during the Post 2015 consultation weekend.
How have your experiences with Global Youth Work helped your work with young people?
I’m actually designing a workshop now for the young people in our YMCA about poverty in the UK and I’ve been able to use a lot of the information and what I’ve learnt from Global Youth Work to help design it. I’ve now got lots of different resources to use when I do that workshop. It’s also helped me to educate other people about the different issues that Y Care International deal with around the world.
And what about you, have you personally learnt anything from Global Youth Work?
A lot more about global issues, definitely. It’s opened my eyes. Even before, I didn’t know much about poverty. But projects like the post 2015 consultation about the Millennium Development Goals has encouraged me to educate myself more on UK poverty and different issues.
What have been your highlights?
I would say when I represented YMCA Black Country at the Hyde Park demonstration for the Enough Food For Everybody IF campaign. We were spreading the word and taking part in workshops about the Campaign and what we wanted the G8 to do this year. I think the biggest thing that I learnt there was about land grabs and how families are thrown out of their home because of big businesses and sometimes their governments don’t help them and I think that’s terrible. My message to the G8 nations that day was that they should keep to their promise to give aid to poorer countries.