Our planning discussion on Tuesday focused significantly on one young person who, since we started doing the sessions on the valley, has struggled to focus and be part of the group. When we are in the allotment it doesn’t matter that he has a tendency to wonder off and do his own thing, as it’s a safe and contained space. The agreement we made with the young people, including him, clearly didn’t have the affect with him that we wanted it to. When we discussed the agreement with him at the end of the session on Thursday, he suggested that he couldn’t remember what we had said when we made it and that maybe he should stop coming altogether. When we explained the agreement again to him, he told us that he didn’t think he would be able to remember that for the following week. He told him that if he wanted to be involved in the valley sessions, and we really wanted him to be, he needed to agree to the agreement we had made. He needed to commit to not going out of staff sight without an adult present. Given he couldn’t commit to this; we had a bit of a dilemma.
We wanted him to continue attending the sessions on the valley, but equally felt it was a risk if he wasn’t going to stick with the group. At the same time, a significant part of being on the valley is to be freer and to explore. And, the session is not meant to governed by rules. The fact that he wants to explore is a positive thing and what was the worst that could happen. The valley was directly behind his house and he probably knows the area better than us. However, we need him to be safe and HPS is responsible if something happens to him on the valley. We do not have the resources to give him a one-on-one nor do we want to make him the focus of the sessions.
We eventually agreed that we would have a chat with him at the start of the Thursday session and see if he would then agree to stick with the group. This was made possible as we started by sowing seeds on the allotment. During that, we spoke both to him and the group as a whole. At this point, he agreed to stay with the group which he kept to when we went onto the valley. The only minor issue occurred when we were on our way back and he wanted to take a detour, which we did not have time for. He started working in that direction anyway, but when he saw that we weren’t going to follow him, he rejoined the group. We had wanted to talk to him at the end, but he still seemed hung up on us not taking his detour and he left abruptly, again claiming that he might not come back next week.