Starting June 30th, 2019, I am traveling to the United Kingdom for two weeks! Over 15 days, I’ll my work with more than 500 youth and adults from 20 communities across the country, visit with government and education officials, and help support the youth engagement transformation underway in the UK.
The sponsoring organization for my trip is called Community Organisers, and they are working in conjunction with the Community Development Journal for the first activity on my itinerary. Its called a “Thinkery,” and its focused on community development. My role at this gathering in London is as a provocateur, and I’ll give a keynote focused on my most radical vision for youth engagement today.
Next, I’ll be joining Community Organisers for a young organisers residential weekend. This three-day event will be held at a beautiful-looking facility on the outskirts of London called Woodrow High House. With 50 youth from around the UK coming, over the course of the weekend I’ll facilitate a few activities, including a workshop for adult chaperones who are attending.
While I’m in London, I’ve been invited to connect with my friend Annie Blackledge from Seattle, who will be on an international exchange with youth from the nonprofit she leads called the Mockingbird Society. Its a great coincidence that we’ll be there at the same time, and I’m excited to spend time with them.
One of the most exciting connections I’ll be making on this trip is with my longtime colleague Clare Hanbury-Leu. Years ago, we connected while she was brainstorming developing an international NGO. Today, she’s the leader of Children for Health, which engages young people in learning and teaching around public health issues throughout developing countries. She and I will be meeting in person for the first time. Given all the excitement of our Skype calling over the years and our maintenance of knowing each other, this will be a great conversation!
After London, I will be heading north to the city of Preston, near Liverpool. There, I will be hosted by longtime youth worker and advocate Terry Mattinson. Terry’s enthusiasm and commitment has inspired me for a decade, as he’s been an avid reader of my books, follower on social media and communicator with me in many ways. Over the course of several days, out of the kindness of his heart Terry has arranged an intensive schedule of visits, conversations, hangouts and learning for me. I am absolutely excited for this leg of the trip, and look forward to experiencing the wonders of Preston’s youth movement in the order Terry shares it.
When I return to the States in the middle of July, I’ll be a richer person because of this experience. I’m humbled that people around the world value what I have to share and bring me to their homes, cities, communities and schools. I know this trip will change my worldview yet again, as so many others have.
Stay tuned for more blogs over the next few weeks!