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75 APRIL 2005
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Staying alive

We hear a lot in our field about burn-out and I wonder sometimes if talking about burn-out isn’t a simple way of saying “I failed to look after myself”. It seems to me that the people I have known who have burned out are those who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to monitor themselves well. They missed the waning energy, the slowly draining tank, the dwindling of the passion.

Some time ago, on CYC-Net we asked people to identify what it was that kept them going, how they “endured” in the field for long periods of time. As always the responses were generous. So on this occasion of the celebration of International Child and Youth Care Workers Day, we thought it would be appropriate to look at what people had to say. And what we discovered is that there is a difference between “enduring” in the field, and staying alive: staying alive is another. Alive, as in vibrant, energetic, passionate.

So below, coupled with some thoughts of our own, are some ideas about what we might do to “stay alive”. It is worth thinking about because surely the children, youth and their families deserve to work with people who are “alive” with the passion and joy of the field.

Based on a talk given to the Child and Youth Care Association of Newfound and Labrador on the occasion of the celebration of International Child and Youth Care Workers week: April 29, 2004.

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