This placement began with forming a relationship with my advisor, receiving information and observing interactions between the staff team and the youth. Each time I recognized an approach, theory, model or framework being used I became excited to put my knowledge and skill into practice. I asked questions, received feedback, guidance and encouragement. I accepted the challenge to look inside myself to discover my own answers.
The crisis theory tells me that we all have resilience. It is our belief in all of this knowledge and our own resilience, passion, desire, commitment and determination that brings this knowledge to life. Evaluation of this knowledge takes place and we must meet the expectations of others based on their perceptions — but true knowing can only come from within.
I will use my knowledge and skill but it is the youth’s meaning making that will tell me what is; they have the answers, and the power within themselves and their own unique strengths and abilities to gain effective control over their own lives. I now have some tools that I can use that may help them do this. I do not know their meaning making. I do not have the answer. I only know that there is no one right answer.
We must notice that there is an opportunity in what is happening now, and connect their behavior to the context of their situation. My focus, intentions and interactions must be based on their needs not mine. I must, of course, be aware of my needs to know whose needs I am trying to meet. I must be clear on what my intentions are and communicate these intentions. Only to the extent that we are aware, can we apply this knowledge.
Living in the experience, knowing what our own needs are and where these needs are coming from is what allows us to be truly present, to engage, connect and form relationships with the youth.
Through self-exploration one part of me that I brought with me into my interactions with the youth based on my own life experiences was the knowing that no matter how "good" our intentions are, no matter how much we love, care and do, if we are not aware of our own needs we cannot be present or help others meet their needs. We can have a powerful impact or a devastating effect on the children and youth in our care. We can rob them of their sense of freedom, love, belonging, fun, power and survival or we can be proactive and facilitate growth, change and empowerment. This is where I am at in my child and youth care education.
Where I am at
Through the process of self-exploration I will take control of my own learning and help foster the growth, change and empowerment of others. Through following frameworks, approaches and models – the child and youth care approach, effective programs and interventions and doing youth care will become part of who and what I am. Through the guidance and expertise of supervisors, advisors and other team members I will have the opportunity to become an effective child and youth care worker.
My goal is to develop the courage, confidence in self and my own style of doing and being that will increase my ability to lead others toward growth, change and empowerment. To love when it may be difficult to do but when it is needed most. As Thom Garfat says, "the rest is Four Parts Magic".
The Significance of Self-discovery
I thank all of the leaders, authors, instructors, advisors and team members in this field who have offered their guidance and expertise with those like myself who are entering this field. I would especially like to thank the youth for sharing themselves and their own expertise. I have found that my experiences have brought my knowledge to life and created a thirst to develop a confidence in self, and my own style of doing and being. It is my experiences along with the guidance of others that will enable me to take a risk and challenge my abilities so that I can put myself into the position to help lead others toward growth, change and success. What is most significant about all of this is that self- discovery provides an opportunity to create empowerment within ourselves and to live in experiences that we can share with others. Sharing these experiences along with our knowledge and skill is what we can do to help others empower themselves.