Looking through the youth development lens
Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust Manager John Harrington has worked in the youth sector for more than 40 years, and has been involved in the professional development of youth work in Canterbury. He led the establishment of Te Ora Hou in Christchurch, Cross Over Trust and the Hoon Hay Youth Centre, and formed National Youth Workers Network Aotearoa.
John started his career as a youth worker as a volunteer and has experienced first-hand how the sector has grown and shifted from predominantly community and volunteer-led youth services, to having specially-trained and paid youth workers dedicated to understanding the ever-changing needs of youths.
Rātā Foundation speaks to John about his work in managing the Scope Review tool – a tool which works with youth organisations to identify their strengths and note areas for improvement in youth development. John managed the Scope Review Tool under the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective for six years before he founded Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded so that Scope Reviews could be owned and delivered by an organisation which has a national identity, so it could be rolled out across the country.
Looking at organisations through a youth development lens is the key to creating an environment where youth can thrive.
Some organisations in the community sector don’t have the capacity to do this, and that’s where the Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust comes in.
The Trust has developed the Scope Review tool - a programme which works with youth organisations to identify their strengths, and note areas for improvement in youth development.
Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust Manager John Harrington says as the vast majority of youth organisations are not-for-profit, they can sometimes struggle to build their capacity.
"A Scope Review supports organisations to build capacity by evaluating and carrying out research on what positive youth development outcomes they meet through their programme," he says.
“By having these reviews, evaluation and carrying out research on what positive youth development outcomes they meet through their programme should support an organisation to build its capacity.”
Youth organisations and services are able to volunteer to participate in a comprehensive youth development Scope Review.
The first stage of the year-long process is a peer review, which identifies key strengths and areas which an organisation can improve on.
The Scope Review looks at five areas of an organisation: safe practice, youth development, program design, community connections and governance management.
At the end of the process, the organisation gets a report with grades for each area, and recommendations for any areas they can develop.
Mr Harrington managed the Scope Review Tool under the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective for six years before he founded Scope Aotearoa Charitable Trust.
He says the Trust works to support organisations throughout this journey, providing solutions and setting achievable goals.
“An example of the support we give would be if young people don't get to fully participate in the organisation, the recommendation from the review would include ways they can achieve this,” he says.
“Some organisations have reported that they started work on areas which they identified as needing improvement before the review, as they wanted to meet all the standards in the process. This is great, as the fact they are having a review has got them started on the journey to improvement early.”
Mr Harrington says 37 Canterbury organisations will have been reviewed by the end of the year.
He hopes as many organisations as possible will gain the capacity to carry out their own reviews down track.
For more information on the Scope Review tool, visit the Trust’s website: https://scopeaotearoa.org.nz/
05 December 2019