The Jasper Declaration articulated a philosophy to underpin youth work. This statement was accepted at the first National Youth Workers Conference in 1977. It was originally put together by a group of 8 people over dinner (at Jaspers Restaurant).
The Jasper Declaration
We confess that as youth workers we fail to act as initiators of social change and in effect we are just reactors to circumstances dealing with ‘bandaid’ situations that often just help in preserving the status quo structures.
We confess that we are content to deal solely with the casualties rather than delving deeply into the cause of those casualties.
We confess that we disregard the enormous limitations imposed on youth and often attempt to make youth content with their basic life situation, ignoring the conflicts which clearly exist by distracting them with some well-chosen structured spare time activities.
We seek a commitment to a new direction in the philosophy of youth work. We will no longer be content to offer programs which merely gratify immediate wants. We are concerned for the fulfilment of individuals over a total life span. We recognise that our commitment to this philosophy will operate within a local context. This localised process will involve facilitating:
The implications of this are:
What we have experienced through this conference is this process in operation.