The National Youth Agency defines Youth Work as having three distinct features;

The purpose of the work must be predominantly to support young people’s personal and social development as distinct from say, academic or vocational learning

The methods of the work include the extensive use of experiential learning and of small groups; and

The values of the work include the voluntary engagement of young people in the process and adherence by youth workers to a statement of ethical conduct.

NYA, Spotlight, 2006

Youth Work values, key objectives and
key principles Youth Work Core Values.

The intention is for Sports Alive services to help young people achieve a strong sense of belonging through;

Supportive relationships
Young people need supportive relationships with people they trust to help them develop their values and judgement, learn from experience, take responsibility, and manage pressures. All parts of society will promote this by:

Building strong communities
That have a strong stake in the lives of their young people and in which young people feel a strong sense of belonging, can socialise safely with their peers, enjoy social mixing, experience spending time with older people, and develop relationships with adults  they trust;

Providing early help
To inspire, support and protect those young people, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, who need more help than their families or communities are able to provide, or whose family situation puts them at risk

Strong ambitions Young people have energy and enthusiasm to shape and change the world  in innovative and exciting ways. Young people will form their own ambitious and pragmatic goals to:

– Succeed in learning and work – understanding the value of education and committed to developing their skills for employment

– Live safe and healthy lives – having the confidence and resilience to make informed decisions and manage risk; and

– Be active in society – taking the initiative and demonstrating leadership to make a positive contribution to local communities and the wider world, with public and media recognition of their achievements

These three themes evident in Positive for Youth complement the underpinning four core youth work values; Education, Empowerment, Participation and providing Equality of Opportunity.

Educative
Youth work at Sports Alive helps young people to learn about themselves, others and society, through informal educational opportunities which combine enjoyment, challenge and learning.

Empowering
Young people are supported to make choices about their life from a position of knowledge.

Participative
Youth work is unique in that young people can and must be involved in the design and delivery of the services they are offered and have opportunities to become involved in their local communities and wider society.

Equality of Opportunity
Youth workers at Sports Alive are committed to ensuring that all young people, regardless of their race, gender, cultural background, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or disability have equal access to good quality youth work. 

These four core values are reinforced by other universally accepted principles of youth work;

– Focus on young people

– Relationships between young people and youth workers are voluntary

– Promote partnerships with others to support young people’s development

– Continue to challenge society’s negative perception of young people

– Accountable and cost effective

– Staff and volunteers are recognised as the key resource