The Toolbox

The Toolbox at YouthWorkersToolbox.com contains support, resources and practical tools that are essential for today’s adults who work with children and teens in various settings. My goal is to offer freely what I have learned in my work with children and teens over the past thirty-something years, and, from running training retreats and workshops for adults who also work with children, etc. Other resources have come to me from colleagues, publications, podcasts and the like. You may have some of your own, and if you do, perhaps you’ll share them for the benefit of others. Thanks!

Essential Tools that every youthworker, group leader and counselor should be aware of are:

Insuring the safety of children

Understanding Boundaries...their’s and yours!

Importance of background checks

Safety at off-site events and field trips

Site Selection for Youth Programs and activities

Essential Tools for Communication

Tools for Your Heart and Spirit

Being Present to Children

Maybe this is why I’ve built an online Youth Workers Toolbox:

In 1984 (I know, before the Internet even!) I was hired by the Town of Dartmouth, MA, USA, as it’s Youth Advocate, a position under the care of the town’s Youth Commission. And while I considered myself very fortunate to have been selected from a wide field of applicants, I will never forget what I walked into on my first day of work. To say that “the toolbox” was missing was an understatement! I walked through the door of an attic-like (and hot) office at the top of stairs to find one desk, one phone and a four-drawer file cabinet full of mostly junk. 

The only thing on my desk was a fine white layer of dust, as I later learned was a result of recent roof work overhead. There were no client files, no records of recent budget expenditures and no nice note welcoming me to the team! Oh wait…there was no team. I was it…team one!

By one PM I learned that I wasn’t totally alone. It apparently took a few hours for the attic area, which was through a door on the inside wall, to warm up enough to wake up the hornets who dropped down like bombers from cracks at the top of the windows. That’s when I started my first to-do list, get rid of these flying menaces.

I eventually found some important files that a committee member had moved to their home for safe keeping until a new youth advocate was hired. But there were absolutely no files or records of procedures, safe practices, or resources of any kind for doing youth work. Maybe that’s why I’ve had the idea of the toolbox, which grew into YouthWorkersToolbox.com (once they invented the Internet!) for so many years now.

Hopefully you will find some of this information, The Toolbox, useful in your work with young people. I know that I could have used it back in the dark ages when I first began.

Kevin Lee

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