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February 2012 Archives

Can citizenship programs help to solve the bullying problem?


Jessica-Russo.jpgBullying is in the news again. It may have contributed to yet another school shooting in Chardon, Ohio this week. Bullying is not a product of a modern age, but has been increasingly scrutinized in the past decade. After the Columbine High School massacre U.S. Secret Service officials found that bullying "in terms that approached torment," played a part in two-thirds of the 37 premeditated school shootings they analyzed.

The effects and causes of bullying are complex. According to Limber, individual, familial, societal and community factors play roles, and the impacts can be physical, emotional and psychological for victims, perpetrators, and witnesses.

Intentionality means more than just paying attention to youth

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Dale-Blyth.jpgFor years I have talked about becoming more intentional about how we think about and work with youth. Too much of our efforts often go to trying to get attention for youth and the issues that impact their lives, and not enough goes into being intentional about our work on their behalf.

Paying attention means selectively narrowing or focusing consciousness to sort out what is important. Paying more attention to youth may help us spend more time thinking about them but it does not help us act more effectively without a clearer purpose or goal in mind. Paying attention to our children is helpful, it is not enough.

Creating global citizens out of generation Y - are we prepared?


Nicole-Pokorney.jpgIn 2009, the youth population was recorded at nearly 3 billion strong, almost half of the world's population! Generation Y is technologically savvy, generous, diverse, and global. However, in his book, Generation iY, Tim Elmore takes a reality check on youth. Through interviews, literature and many other methods, his research describes youth as overwhelmed, overly connected, overprotected and overserved. Tim writes, "These kids really do desire to change the world; they just don't have what it takes to accomplish their lofty dreams". His bottom line? Adults are not prepared to lead youth into the future!

What would you ask young people?


Beki-Saito.jpgIf we created a regular poll of young people in Minnesota, what would we ask? What would they want to be asked?

During the late 1970's and early 80's, Diane Hedin and I and a few others did something called the Minnesota Youth Polls out of the Center for Youth Development and Research which existed at the time at the University of Minnesota. The (sometimes) annual polls collected data from young people around the state about various topics that were relevant to them, such things as:

Is youth work a career?


Thumbnail image for nextgen-main-logo.jpgIs youth work something you do while you figure out what you really want to do, or is it a career? Most definitions of career include three elements: a defined occupation that is taken on over time with progressive achievement.

While many other things may also make up a career, the issues of time and progress are most distinct. In other fields, there is no push to leave direct work to join administration without a path of promotion, clear expectations of and preparation for management. Further, there is credibility in remaining in your chosen position. Is youth work somehow different from other fields? If it is, why is it?

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