For many working parents in France, as schools are closed on Wednesday afternoons, many of them drop their children off at a youth center. These organizations, which welcome minors during the week, and especially during vacations, are indispensable today. They are run by heroes without capes: the youth workers. Let’s discover this vocation with Dylan.
Toombow Kids: Hello, can you introduce yourself?
Dylan: Hi Toombow Kids! I’m Dylan Artuso, I’m 29 years old and I’m a full-time youth worker at a youth center. I take care of children from 3 to 13 years old.
Toombow Kids: Why did you choose to become a youth worker?
Dylan: After I left my junior high school in the last year, I tried several vocational training programs, but nothing appealed to me. One day, I met a very nice youth worker who told me about his job. As I was very comfortable with children and I had a good memory of when I went to small youth centers, I said to myself that I should give it a try. So I got my BAFA (youth work diploma) and now I love what I do!
Toombow Kids: What is your favorite age group to work with?
Dylan: I love taking care of everyone, but if I really had to choose, I would say 8-10 year olds. Since they’re more independent, we can do more advanced and interesting activities.
Toombow Kids: What do you think is the most important quality to have to take care of 8-10 year olds?
Dylan: To be very attentive to the children. At that age, they start talking about their problems a lot more. I’ve often had kids talk to me about their problems at school, for example, so you have to be there for them. I have a game that is very good for this that I play with children from the age of 6, called « a word, a picture. » The kids have to explain what they see in a picture and how it makes them feel. It helps bring out their emotions!
Toombow Kids: What’s the best part about being a youth worker?
Dylan: For me, it’s when a child leaves with a smile. When I’ve done everything I can to make sure they have the best day possible and they tell their parents that they had a great time, then I’ve done my job well!
Toombow Kids: And the worst part?
Dylan: There is little recognition of our profession. A lot of people think it’s « fun, » when in fact we work at least 11 hours a day, we work on teaching, we plan a variety of activities, and we are responsible for the children.
Toombow Kids: In your opinion, what makes a good youth worker?
Dylan: Someone with imagination, a lot of patience and who always has a wide range of activities in his bag of tricks. You also have to lead by example, because the kids imitate us a lot!
Toombow Kids: Thank you Dylan for an insightful look at your job! See you next time on Toombow Kids!