Today delivered what we have all been waiting for. After the official opening by Tin Kampl, Head of the office for youth of Slovenia, the question which stayed with us was: How can political frameworks support innovation in youth work?

Jacob Kornbeck from the European Commission answered the question by presenting the process of the new EU Youth Strategy, co-created with young people. But surprise, surprise, he left us hanging with new questions: How to perceive youth work and its accumulated vision, its tradition to protect and support young people, but at the same time, how to follow and support the new trends? Prevailing vs. counter-veiling trend… How to address all the youth and not exclude anyone by focusing on different trends?

Nevertheless, questions are good, right? The next speaker, Matevž Straus, offered tasty food for thought with a simple vision: The big potential for the future of youth work is connecting the youth with their heritage. And this is what the Heritage lab project in Idrija is doing, and Matevž promises, it can be transferred to other environments. Also, in his opinion, innovation is something that happens, without necessarily thinking that something will be innovative.

Innovation, innovation, innovation, the buzz word of the day. Dr. Theo Gavrielides presented the process of researching the current state of the art in innovation. He says, youth work is not static! It’s an evolving and living concept. It addresses the current needs, so therefore it is innovative.

We had some time to reflect on what drives innovation. And on what issues should covered by the European Youth Work Agenda.

After lunch, enough with the plenary sessions! 🙂 We have all been waiting for the contributions which explore current trends in youth work. Trends, another buzz word of the day/EAYW.  From digital youth work to skateboarding, from activities addressing youth workers, trainers to those addressing the youth directly. Did you know skateboarding is an effective tool for the inclusion of people with migrant and refugee backgrounds? Did you know there are around 500.000 trainers and youth workers in Europe and almost all of us would enjoy more online support in terms of resources? Did you know digital youth work is officially defined (no need to talk about various definitions here, in comparison to the concept of youth work :-)? And did you know that the youth work – research connection is necessary for quality YW but also a lot easier and simpler than we thought? Ufff, our heads are still buzzing from all the valuable inputs and discussions (13 contributions were presented today). And there are two more days to go. Let it buzz and stay with us, so that we can share it and transfer it further, to all those who have not got the chance to participate in the EAYW. Till tomorrow!