In 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!
Never before has there been a greater need for competent and skilled youth workers to prepare our youth for citizenship and careers. Youth workers must be flexible and transformative to access global challenges, such as meeting the needs of the growing youth population, addressing economic realities and developing vocational opportunities. In her recent Youth Development Insight blog post, Occupy Youth Programs, my colleague Deborah Moore stresses the need for educators to take the lead in engaging youth into global citizenship with social media.
We know what we need to do. But how do we do it?
In a recent post on his own blog, Tim Elmore pleads for adults to also gain the skills to become effective global citizens in order to lead the generation that lies in front of us, "I am asking that adults wake up to the need to lead. We must re-establish our moral authority. For many adolescents, we have no credibility. Many of our kids around the world are a part of a 'leader-less generation.' We didn't stick to the values we claimed to live by, we haven't been transparent about our mistakes and we haven't offered a clear compass for our kids".
What skills do you believe youth lack to become effective global citizens? How can youth workers partner with youth to help them acquire these skills?
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