Friday, September 4, 2009

Youth and Adults in Serious Work

Just reading a journal article by L.A. Camino that frames an idea that has resonance with our work in PC. The driving premise behind the article is that strong, flourishing communities thrive on collaboration. One form of collaboration involves youth and adults engaged together in community work. Importantly, the idea of youth contributions includes opportunities for youth to "to develop and exercise decision-making power in program activities and community initiatives."

Sounds good although the article leads with the idea that these types of authentic and true partnerships are rare. The lead quote to the article positions adolescents outside the center of normal community engagement.

Adolescents operate on the fringes of adult community life. Only occasionally do they regularly interact with adults other than family or kin outside of an educational or occupational setting. When they are intensively involved with adults, it is within rather strictly prescribed limits. (Schlegel & Barry, 1991, p 67)
This is an interesting empirical question: what is the character of adult interaction that the youth in PC have? How can a program like PC invite youth into more substantive, interactive, connected relationships with adults?

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