Demographic change is on everyone’s lips. Society is getting older, the young are getting fewer. Gets it thus also already the youth work to traces? "No, we don’t see the demographic shift", says simone kuffner. The social pedagogue has been responsible for community youth work in stegaurach for almost seven years. During this time, she has seen children become adolescents and young people become adults. "It is a constant process. Some go, some come", kuffner notes and emphasizes that there is no problem with new recruits in stegaurach. With ten to 25 children, the children’s club is regularly well attended, he said. "In winter it is a little more, in summer a little less."
Nevertheless, the forsthaus, the stegaurach youth center, is facing a major generational change. The girls’ group, which has been meeting regularly at the forestry office since 2007, has become an indispensable part of youth work in stegaurach. It’s just great how they volunteer, says kuffner. For example at the christmas market. Or at the volleyball tournament of the authorities. Actually, the previous year’s winner had to host this every year. But it has always taken place in stegaurach for the last four years. Why? "Because the madels organize the sale so well", leads the youth worker.
Now "her girls gradually 18, graduate from high school, think about studying or going abroad. "Of course they want to keep in touch. But you just have to see how it develops", says kuffner. At least she has two girls who, at 13, have already outgrown the children’s club for six to twelve year olds, but still feel too young for the youth club, who are already showing such commitment. It is also "working on another group of 13- to 14-year-olds". "Let’s see if we can form a group there again.
No worries about continuity
as far as the continuity of youth work in stegaurach is concerned, there is nothing to worry about. When she recently presented her annual report to the town council, there were a few question marks in the council’s eyes when kuffner reported on the girls’ growing up and the fact that another group, the so-called playground group, which had not long found its way to the forestry center, had already more or less dissolved again. "Because they have gone their separate ways, started their education or because of personal reasons between them."
Yet kuffner’s work within the framework of the youth work model (jam) for the innovative social work association (iso) and the community in stegaurach is now widely recognized. Especially since it is not limited to the forsthaus youth center. Kuffner is also looking for cooperation with the school – which is now experiencing a breath of fresh air after a change of principal – and contact with the associations – which is sometimes still a bit hesitant due to a lack of fixed contact persons.
She also organizes various excursions, trips and the summer vacation program, with which she also reaches many children and young people who don’t come to the forestry office. Of course it is also outdoors. And when groups form, she also addresses them directly. "Most of the time i know one or the other of them from school or the vacation program. Then it is not difficult at all", kuffner explains how she works as a street worker gets in touch.
And there, they report, things have already changed in recent years. "Earlier it hit: the young people just hang out on the street. Today, many just sit at home. This is the generation of facebook and console games", she states. It’s not so easy to get involved in the youth work anymore. "But we try to pick them up where they are. For example with our facebook fanpage."
More time for school
another phenomenon is that schools have to spend more and more time on school. "We already see signs of this in the fourth-graders when it comes to starting school. Many no longer come to the children’s meeting due to lack of time." Or the middle school students who no longer go to school in stegaurach, for example if their class is located in priesendorf.
And then there is still a rough competition there. "The proximity to the city is also noticeable in the youth work." But this is not a new development, it has always been like this. "Young people go to school in bamberg, they can easily get there by bus or scooter – and of course that’s for them already." Stegaurach is nevertheless in the fortunate situation that there are also many committed children, young people and parents who want to make their community worth living in.