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Rodney's Ramblings: A Dog's Life

Rodney Gascoyne tries to prevent giving a dog a bad name.

The youth club was formed and controlled by the local police authority. This was unusual and the only such instance I met. I did wonder whether such an obvious association was counter productive to getting some kids involved and might have liked to drop the word Police from the club's name. My fears did partly become realized on one occasion. The chairman of the management committee was the local senior officer of the Force and he and I talked often about our aims and ambitions for the club. We did disagree on one occasion involving a 16 year old young man, a member who took part in the County Clubs Association's athletics meeting.

The Force and Chairman were concerned about the club being represented by someone they saw as a troublemaker, who they had arrested and charged on many past occasions. I had my usual argument that his earlier activities or antagonism with the Force should not be the issue while he behaved himself at the club and obeyed our rules. None of his past offences had involved the club in any way, nor was he an active member during those times.

I saw a change in him when he did well at those games. He suddenly became enthusiastic, happy and talked of his accomplishments with pride, something I believe he did not previously think himself capable of. He was overflowing with sheer joy at his newfound abilities and interest in long distance running. He won a race that day and did well in others, and could not stop talking about it. It was one of those great moments, to see such a transformation and to witness someone finding himself, and was the very embodiment of all the reasons why youth work was so necessary, essential, rewarding and worthwhile.

The Chairman and I talked about this situation and I relayed what I saw as the effects on the young man. I was also concerned, as with teachers in the past, on the apparent need of adults dealing with kids to have to totally control their charges. I saw his membership as a great opportunity, if we could help him find his talents, and would be lost if past conduct elsewhere was constantly held against him. To his credit, the Chairman saw my point of view and, I believe, concurred with them on the personal level. He and I had very few differences of opinion. He decided to ignore his official interest and we both let the matter drop.

I always hoped that the discovery of a real ability, and purpose to his making an effort, would become a life changing force in this young man as he matured. I did not hear of any further trouble he had with Police beyond that time.


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