So, I can at least forget about the quarantine a little bit
Clemens is a 13 year old young person from Lana in South Tyrol (Italy). He often spends his free time in the youth centre Jux in Lana. In March 2020, pause was pressed. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic not only schools, but also youth centers were temporarily closed. For regular visitors of youth centres an important part of their social life just vanished and youth workers had to pose themselves the question how to accompany young people through those times and still do youth work. Alternatives had to be developed and thus a digital meeting point was created. Three times a week the virtual meeting point opens its doors in the form of a video group chat and offers space for talks, answers and spending time together.
Is the current offer a satisfactory alternative to the youth center for you?
I think the current offer is a very good alternative as it offers communication and entertainment. I think the implementation is suitable and sufficient. But it is of course not a comparison to the youth center itself. Since there are many more possible activities in the youth center and you can chill there in peace. The difference is big. I personally think that the online meeting point turned out quite well.
Does it need an online youth center at all, in the current situation in which we find ourselves?
I don’t think it is needed as such, but it is a welcome diversion in the current situation. So, I can at least forget about the quarantine a little bit and settle down in one place and chill.
Are you personally using the offers of the online youth center?
Yes, I like to use it, because it is a relaxation from homeschooling for me. I can play any game on the board game arena or do something on other websites. I am thinking for example of the Watten (a card game, that is immensely popular in South Tyrol, western Austria, Switzerland and Bavaria) tournaments via Watten.org. For me that is a great variety in everyday life!
What do you expect from youth workers?
I have no expectations of the youth workers because it is not to be taken for granted that there is an online meeting point at all. So I personally think it’s great that there is one. Of course, one could do more targeted activities, such as the Watten tournament of the youth center Jux in Lana and the youth service Lana Tisens.
In summer we will start our work in the youth center again with some criteria. How exactly that will look is still unclear. How do you imagine summer in “Jux”?
I don’t imagine it to be much different from usual, I think we will go outdoors a lot – climbing, archery and such activities. I think we will make up for what was forbidden during the quarantine. A lot will likely happen in smaller groups. I’m already looking forward to summer and the time after quarantine
by Tobias Garber (2020)
Tobias Garber started his voluntary state civil service in October 2019 in the youth center Jux and thus gained insight in open youth work.
Translated into English by Alexandra Beweis
Photos: Portraits © Tobias Garber/Clemens