Outdoor Workshop Delivering Positive Youth Development

Written by Paul Hopkins, UoG

As part of the UK initiative, on September 15th 2021, Play Rangers from Play Gloucestershire took part in an open-air workshop by Kelly Conibere and Paul Hopkins from the University of Gloucestershire and Play Gloucestershire Team Leader Katie Spencer-Jefferies, to explore play activities developed by the PAClife consortium.

PYD discussions in a fab outdoor workshop space at Play Gloucestershire

The play activities use a methodology called Positive Youth Development – or PYD; PYD is used to develop a young person’s strengths, concentrating on what they are good at and in doing so helps to  build mental resilience.  

After an introduction to PYD, exploring and discussing PYD’s 5Cs framework in relation to play work (building Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character & Caring), the play rangers then had the chance to take part in play activities and gauge their usefulness in relation to the work that they do and the young people they work with  – and to make suggestions as to how activities might be enhanced and ideas for further use.  

  • The activities explored included: 
    • Expectation Tree – an introductory exercise exploring training expectations  
    • Ball of Steve – an activity that considers how we relate to and co-operate with others  
    • Effective Cooperation –  leadership and working together to provide solutions 
    • Encounter of Cultures – considering conflict resolution skills; examining problems from multiple perspectives; developing an understanding of communication and cultural barriers 
    • Leading in Pairs –  reflecting on leadership skills and attitudes; exploring leading and being led.  
    • Privilege Walk –  exploring what privilege is and how it works in society; looking at social and civic competences 
    • Trust Game; rocking blankets – appreciation of the importance of feeling empowered as a volunteer working with children and youth; an understanding of the importance of having supportive peers 
Charley, feeling relaxed and supported by her team mates during the Trust Game

The emphasis was very much on having fun whilst taking part in the activities – with serious consideration of  each ‘C’ of the 5Cs of PYD each activity is aligned with. Play ranger participants responded enthusiastically to the interactive workshop: 

‘There are some brilliant activities in there, especially as group bonding exercises. I will use them in future training and any ‘ice breaking’ moments when required.’  

‘…it was great. I came away with plenty of ideas and confidence.’ 

Following the workshop, the play rangers will go into their working settings to cascade the training course  and activities to the young people they work with, with the intention that the young people  will also use the activities and participate in placements in a number of community settings including sports, dance, drama and play settings, while also helping to signpost young people to further opportunities.  

For further information on the PAClife initiative please contact: 

Colin Baker – cmbaker@glos.ac.uk  

Kelly Conibere – kconbiere@glos.ac.uk  

Paul Hopkins – phopkins1@glos.ac.uk  

Pip Levett – info@playgloucestershire.org.uk 

Katie Spencer-Jefferies – katie@playgloucestershire.org.uk 

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