Choose Your Own Adventure

There are a lot of reasons people get into youth work. It’s often pragmatic: people need jobs, and youth-serving orgs get funding from government agencies and foundations that support hiring people. It can also be opportunistic: youth work can be a convenient bridge into nonprofit careers for people who want to spend their lives helping people, and only need a place to start.

For me and many others I’ve had the privelege of knowing over the years, different from or in combination with the above reasons, this work is deeply personal. Our motivation stems from experiences we had as young people, shaping our practice, informing our politics and driving our actions as we teach, mentor, train, tutor, counsel or otherwise assist young people.

I believe it’s vital for anyone who does this work to explore their motivations for their jobs. With that understanding clearly on the table we can each individually better “choose our own adventure”, and when we’re clear with the orgs and individuals we work with we can better serve them, too!

— This is Adam Fletcher’s blog originally posted at For more see

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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