Eckehard Kiesewetter Ebern- Mathilda (14), Lena (eleven) and Adelina (14) think it’s cool here “because you can arrange to meet friends and always meet people”. The trio has also discovered the fun of cooking together. Marcel (14) and Dominik (16) like to use the youth center as a meeting place “also to move on afterwards”. Devin (14) thinks it’s chill and plops down on the leather couch. Emilie also enjoys meeting people here and hanging out cool.
Some girls, who prefer not to reveal their names, giggle among themselves: “They come for the boys. And some of the boys, if they”re honest, don”t feel a bit different from the girls. Jessica (14) likes the fact that she can really turn up the music here, and Sebastian (14) says the people here at the youth center run by the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Awo) are just “okay.
The store is running
“There were usually 15 to 20 boys and girls there during the vacations, sometimes less on rainy days, says meeting leader Manfred Jung. These are “sensational numbers” for the summer, at least in comparison with other youth clubs in the district. This is what he knows from a leaders” meeting at the Kreisjugendring in Knetzgau. Other meetings complain that not even a handful of young people go there anymore.
Mostly it”s groups of people who come to Ebern to chat or play with their cell phones in the recreation room, to play in the basement or – especially in the summer – outside at the barbecue. At the moment, X-box games are the order of the day, and offers such as “Let’s dance” are the order of the day. But also at work for their “Treff” the young people do not hold back.
Some stay for hours, others only stay for a short time, or they spend the time until the bus arrives.
New home and fresh wind
Since the Kujath House no longer exists, Ebern’s youth meets here in the annex of the middle school, formerly the official residence of janitor Hans Schott. A concrete building, much more sober and nowhere near as homey as the old villa on Anlagenring used to be. But the youth like to come here. Especially since the new management has brought in a breath of fresh air.
Before that, there was a lack of suitable staff for some time, the association for the promotion of open children’s and youth work had dissolved, there were problems in the house from time to time; on some days the young people were faced with closed doors. "Everything is more on the back burner, finds Manfred Jung.
In the meantime, however, things are going really well, especially since the children, as the director calls them, have been networking via Instagram. "Suddenly 600 people know at once when one of their friends is in the ‘Treff’", says Jung: "Snowball system – and of course this has an effect on the number of visitors.
Now that school has started again, it’s even busier. On weekends, according to the information, 25, 30 or more young people come together. It gets cramped on the sofas in the group room and sometimes really noisy in the house!
The lateral entrant
Jung, who runs the meeting place as part of a team with Johannes Freibott, Timo Hohnhausen and Jonas Meister, came to youth work more by chance than anything else. Originally, he studied art history, historic preservation and history, and graduated with a master’s degree in art. With the doctorate it became then however nothing and thus also not with the hoped for place at the national office in lock Seehof. Instead, the stone restorer from Bamberg became.
The recreational handball player discovered his connection to youth through sports, as a youth trainer and coach in Hallstadt, Bamberg and Lichtenfels – and then, of course, as a father.
The young family moved to Ebern, the home of his wife Gerlinde, in 2010. When his second daughter was born, Jung became a househusband. Later he tried his hand as a cleaner at FTE and then at the EAL youth welfare service in Gemund, where he later became a kind of janitor became.
There in the mill, where young people who are difficult to bring up are cared for, it became clear to him how much adolescents appreciate a contact person who deals with them normally and from whom they know that nothing here is evaluated pedagogically or goes into any kind of file. Jung speaks of his "freedom to give uneducational advice if necessary". That went down well with the young people.
This "knack for young people was probably also recognized by Awo managing director Toni Michels when he put Manfred Jung in charge of the "Treff" requested. In the meantime, the latter had left the Gemunder Muhle and joined the Awo. First as a driver, later also at the lunchtime supervision. He brings his manual skills and his life experience to the table, as well as organizational talent, openness, and a friendly approach – gifts that no degree in social pedagogy could impart.
"That does not happen here at all!"
Sure there’s in the "Treff Problems too. Initially also with alcohol, says Jung. "The kids smuggled in liqueur, but I quickly noticed and threw the stuff away in front of everyone. Then it was clear to everyone: "It’s not working here at all". According to Manfred Jung, everything can be clarified in conversation and in a moderate tone.
Today, after one year in office, he is completely satisfied with his task. And a lot has happened in the meeting place since then. The meeting leader also proudly reported on this to the main committee of the city council before the summer break. The board wants to be informed, because the municipality is the "Treff" co-financed.
Jung told of extensive work assignments in which the girls and boys lent a helping hand. Worn-out mattresses, sofas and other furniture were cleared out and exchanged for second-hand furnishings in better condition. An apprentice from a painting company in Ebern helped the young people with their "professional" work, according to Jung Renovating and painting the first floor.
Packers at work
The basement rooms have been equipped with dart boards and a Carrera track, and the foosball table has been repaired. In another room the floor had to be knocked out by hand. The director paid tribute to the hands-on work of the young people: "Every blister on the hand was honestly worked out. Here in the cellar the billiard table from the Kujathhaus will soon be installed. The "children" also brought the garden The Bruins also lost their home-ice advantage in the series: According to Jung, the "faction of the bedding plants has prevailed against the cricket corner builders". The young people want to plant something that benefits the insects and from which they can also eat themselves. The two cherry trees on the site, in any case, are already being used with pleasure.
Social worker on site
At the beginning of the school year in the "Treff" there were Open house. "The place was packed", tells the meeting leader. For the future, the team and the kids have pizza afternoons, music video and disco nights in mind. The music system is intact again and two disco balls have already been purchased. Whereby music, as heard by the youth, is "rather loud chanting" from the point of view of the 60-year-old young man.
The club is a "time-out away from parents, teachers or instructors" He feels that the "faction of the flower bed builders" has won out over the "faction of the cricket corner builders." He feels that the "faction of the flower bed builders" has won out over the cricket corner builders, and that it has a right to exist alongside all the clubs that do valuable youth work in Ebern. The future looks good!"