Youth Work Lab: Late Adolescence

I remember the first time I worked with a young person all the way through: from coming in to the youth group as an excited eleven-year-old, right up until they left the group at 18 to go off on a gap year. It’s a real privilege to support young people throughout their teenage years. In that time we support them to explore their own identity, how they fit in with the world and their understanding of God. Often, at 18, a natural break occurs when young people move on to gap years, university, jobs and apprenticeships. We’ve journeyed with young people out of dependence on parents, friends and even our own support so that they may go off to make their own way in the world. But, with the current insecurity of young people’s futures, sometimes we support them past 18. So, at what point does adolescence finish? When is it that ‘young people’ become just ‘people’?

Adolescence, the bit in-between being a child and an adult, might be longer than we think. For purposes of treating young people, the latest guidance for...

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