August 12 – International Youth Day

Posted on August 12, 2015

The theme of this year's International Youth Day is “Youth Civic Engagement.” It's all about getting young people to participate in society – politically, economically, and socially.

Unfortunately, right now many schools and societies generally seem to be set up to keep young people AWAY from participating, except as rather passive consumers. 

Most young people in the world are not allowed to vote, but many young people are discouraged from engaging in politics in any way – possibly because so many parents and teachers are concerned about things such as football wins and test scores. 

Societies in general put roadblocks in the way of kids starting businesses or getting jobs. And schools generally act to limit their students' social lives – keeping kids and teens not only partitioned off from the rest of society, but also keeping kids and teens of different ages away from each other.

Without anyone necessarily trying to limit opportunities for Youth Civic Engagement, the United Nations states that such opportunities are often “low or non-existent.”

And yet most people realize that we want young adults to participate actively in making money, holding down jobs and starting businesses, inventing and discovering new things, voting and otherwise participating in government. We have campaigns to register young voters and then, of course, to actually vote. We wring our hands over young adults who can't or won't move out of their parents' homes and who can't or won't get full-time employment, with benefits. We shake our heads over the fact that many 20-somethings don't seem to respect or even like people who are older or younger than them.

In my opinion, we should encouraging young people to participate in the whole of society all through childhood and adolescence – and then we will surely have young adults who are more engaged and connected!

Having a day to talk about the importance of this can only be a good thing!

Check out this map of International Youth Day events. As sparse as the events are in the United States, I did discover one near me!

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