Youth Segregation

Youth segregation rages across western society. Moving young people into full-time schools, part time afterschool programs for children and youth, youth-exclusive work environments, youth-isolated commercial spaces, and excluding them from public, democratic duties and spaces is creating a crisis of purpose, possibilities, and hope in our times, right now. Youth segregation is terrible for ourContinue reading “Youth Segregation”

Youth On A Pedestal

There’s a special place where young people are placed in stark contrast to their roles in our daily lives. Typically, young people are segregated from adults, compelled to follow rules and laws they didn’t make, and shown what to do with themselves through advertising, education, family life, and community norms. Nowhere along the way areContinue reading “Youth On A Pedestal”

Equality, Self-Led, or Equity? The 6-7-8 Debate

Somewhere in the realm of youth participation there’s a geeky, but important, argument that’s been raging for almost 20 years. Its the 6, 7, 8 Debate, and following is my response. Roger Hart, then a research sociologist with UNESCO, studied several hundred organizations that involved children in decision-making in the early 1990s. In his 1994Continue reading “Equality, Self-Led, or Equity? The 6-7-8 Debate”

Student Engagement in School Protests

“Student engagement” isn’t all time-on-task and observable behaviors that are favorable to teacher perceptions on student performance. Instead, student engagement happens anytime students have a sustained connection to learning. Many educators would like student engagement to reflect the values and objectives of adults in schools. They want students to singularly focus on classroom learning orContinue reading “Student Engagement in School Protests”

10 Ways To Promote Youth Engagement

Adam Fletcher facilitating a youth engagement workshop in 2012. Here’s 10 things you can do to promote youth engagement right now. These don’t require you to graduate high school, get a college degree, or change the whole entire world right now. Instead they are things you can do right now!  Learn about Youth Engagement. DidContinue reading “10 Ways To Promote Youth Engagement”

“Youth Voice” Isn’t Enough to Stop Youth Disengagement

Youth voice is not enough. Adults working to build communities with young people have learned that it is important to engage youth as self-advocates and peer teachers, community culture monitors, and youth organization cheerleaders. As youth organizations become more savvy, more youth are being effectively taught to challenge themselves, working with their peers to createContinue reading ““Youth Voice” Isn’t Enough to Stop Youth Disengagement”

The REAL Youth Revolution

Ten years ago I began an international campaign to revolutionize the roles of young people throughout society. The Freechild Project was born in the steely fires of my career in local and national youth work, and I was ready to fight. For more than a decade I crisscrossed the country and traveled the world promotingContinue reading “The REAL Youth Revolution”

Youth Kicking Butt in 2012 (for Brad)

Across the United States there are a number of innovative youth leadership programs that excite me. I get to interact with them sometimes, and other times I merely study them, read about them, or just hear about them from my friends and colleagues in the field. For just over a decade, I’ve been working toContinue reading “Youth Kicking Butt in 2012 (for Brad)”

Service Learning versus “Activist Learning”

From the late 90s through the 2000s, I participated in a number of service learning programs across the U.S. Some were hyper-local, such as the program in Taos, New Mexico, focused on building cultural and social connections between the Taos Pueblo and youth in the neighboring town. I worked at the state level in Washington,Continue reading “Service Learning versus “Activist Learning””