There are countless ways youth and young adults can be engaged throughout their lives. Organizations that want to engage young people shouldn’t treat them at blank slates; instead, they should acknowledge that they live complex lives that are full of different opportunities to become engaged. When adults ask youth and young adults to become engaged in something they are asking them to disengage from something else.
Young people can be engaged throughout their lives. To say that they might be engaged in their homes, at school, and with friends and family are obvious. However, children and youth can also be engaged in recreational activities like video gaming, texting, or hanging out with friends. Adults want young people to be engaged in sports, work, church, and sometimes, politics.
No matter what the age is, whatever people engage in is a reflection of what adults value most. Because of this, it is easy to assume that young people have different values than adults. However, for many young people that isn’t the case. Instead, they simply don’t know that there are other things they can be engaging in that are more valuable for them than what they’re currently engaged in.
Some of the places that young people can be engaged throughout their lives include their homes, schools, sports, and work. The following chart shows some of the different places youth and young adults can become engaged. What are the percentages of time young people in your community spend in each area?