Siegen: More action and experience for children and young people

Children and young people have little to catch up on because of Corona: Away from the screen, experience something. The city of Siegen offers.

Children and young people obviously have something to look forward to. To experience something, action, excursions, community – it happened very little in two years. In the corona pandemic, children and young people were primarily perceived as school children, says Yvonne Matzke – and not as children and young people. As leader of the working group for the promotion of children and young people, she is responsible for the children and youth clubs in the city of Siegen – the need for precisely such campaigns, which now take place more resp. less in “normal state”, is enormous, reports Matzke: “Be young, feel a youthful feeling – it was neglected.” The city would like to respond to this.

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Creating suitable offers is one thing – there is also a need to catch up in another area: social learning. Being with many people of the same age in larger groups, dealing with conflicts – this too was inevitably neglected during the pandemic. Some are overwhelmed by all the impressions, more children than before have homesickness in their free time. No wonder that for a long time – and thus a large part of their childhood and youth – they had no choice but to be more at home and do less with others.

To bring some young people from Siegen back to Corona first

After two years, a different job for the employees in child and youth work, which they are in no way dissatisfied with. During the pandemic: Many online offerings, also quite successful, such as the Siegen children’s and youth clubs’ own performances, which young people played a crucial role in shaping and still do. When it worked again: small groups, with distance and mask, but still a lot via video. “The work has not stopped,” says social director Andree Schmidt, “we managed to continue our work under pandemic conditions.” And gradually adapt it. As soon as one was allowed to meet face to face again, hardly anyone wanted to stay in front of the screen, but the parents were still cautious, for example, for several days of free time, according to Matzke’s observation.

>>> Also read: “We burden the children too much in the pandemic” <<

Now you want to get started again – which also means: bring some back first. Yvonne Matzke says that there has hardly been a decline in primary school children, who are nevertheless more closely linked to the children and youth centers in Siegen thanks to the OGS building – but some young people have to visit them first. They were looking for their own space in the regulated Corona public. What was not always well received, the key word summer evenings in the market square in front of the town hall and Nikolaikirche, although the proportion of young people from Siegen there should be quite manageable.

Show more presence in Siegen – where the young people are

“At least we are now going where the young people are,” says Yvonne Matzke, showing more presence in the city, which was not practiced to this extent before. But most employees are also happy to be able to get in touch with the young people personally again, to be able to resume their daily business, which was also greatly delayed for two years. Last weekend alone, a “LandArt” camp for children and a youth bike ride with tents took place in Siegen’s twin town of Katwijk; new graffiti was spray-painted for the Numbach skate park, and in the “Democraft” project, democratic processes were reproduced digitally using the popular classic game “Minecraft”.

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Child and youth work is a proper job in Siegen, says department manager Andree Schmidt with many employees and a lot of money behind him. During the pandemic, the collaboration with other actors within the child and youth work in the city was intensified – and it will of course not be reduced again, but used to create further, new offers. At present, there are still many funds available through funding programs, Schmidt says, so staff will be increased. It benefits the city and thus the target group, especially since it is already well located in comparison. The further development, the needs of the young people will continue to be observed and responded accordingly.

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