Some sun broke through the clouds to greet us on the second morning of the third European Academy of Youth Work (unfortunately it did not stay with us for the continuation of the day). But if you missed the refreshing morning activities provided as a part of the programme: gentle wake up call for your whole body with stretching exercises facilitated by Ana Kersnik Žvab or with sound bathing by Blaž Kavčić, the weather was perfect for a gentle wake up walk by lake Jasna for the beginning of the day.


And, what a day it was…


After Clearview opening the topic yesterday, today was the day to go deeper into conversations about the future. We talked about the feelings that appear and might cause resistance when we discuss the future: fear, stress, optimism, excitement, hope, anxiety, even anger (looks like someone did miss the morning wellbeing activities). To help cope with those feelings, our dear facilitators Anita and Darko introduced the emotional support animal, which symbolically for this Academy is a turtle – who gets to see many futures. As the turtles filled the room, we discussed some insights we can take from them and transfer to youth work when thinking about the future: to think strategically, move slowly but steadily, and keep our youth work practice resilient and open (hard shell, soft core).


Our keynote speaker for today was foresight practitioner Adanna Shallowe, who to this author’s great delight opened the presentation with a Dune reference (although I must admit, there are many things I am more passionate about than Timothée Chalamet, but a Dune reference is a Dune reference, let’s not be picky).


Adanna gave important inputs and engaged us more deeply in understanding future foresight – what it is, how it is being used, why it is important to discuss future scenarios. One of the preblisks from today’s keynote session (if you are wondering what a preblisk is, we are wondering why you missed our Day 1 blog. Go back and check it out now and we won’t hold it against you):


The purpose of thinking about the future is to disturb the present – Gaston Berger, futurist.


We discussed why predictions of the future can be biased and dangerous, and recognized how our educational systems frame us to view the future as very linear, certain, and predictable (is it though?). We became more aware of the differences in perceiving the future: there is not one future for all humanity, somebody’s gain is somebody else’s loss.


The discussion led us to question what influenced youth work in the past 10 years, and what will influence youth work in the following 10 (any thoughts? Share with us in the comments). A few more preblisks worth sharing from Day 2:

  • Youth work will be influenced by whatever is happening in the world.
  • Youth work has never been in charge of its own destiny.


With full understanding how difficult it is to take action about the future when the present is very challenging, we proceeded to the task of choosing which of the parallel forums to attend. The day continued with many “I am happy with what I learned, but did I make the right choice” feelings. Happily, there are coffee breaks to further share about the amazing new things you learned and hear more about the forums you missed.


Until our next daily blog, I leave you with an appropriate Dune quote (just because there are so few opportunities where it just fits perfectly, so please let me have this one)


Any path that narrows future possibilities may become a lethal trap. Humans are not threading their way through a maze; they scan a vast horizon filled with unique opportunities. The narrowing viewpoint of the maze should appeal only to creatures with their noses buried in the sand”


Author: Author: Ana Pecarski, EAYW participant