Standing in the projection booth, Sekai stood still and simply scanned around the audience, ease and grace filling her expression. In the meantime, Young hustled and Sun wasn’t there. I was standing mid-audience and Austin was talking to the crowd gathered. Despite the apparent chaos, in that instant it all made sense and everything was awesome.
Understanding Why Youth Media Matters
Last Friday evening was the wrap of the first-ever Seattle Youth Media Camp, a partnership between Seattle Public Schools’s Service Learning Seattle program, Social Moguls, and CommonAction’s The Freechild Project that was funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service Seattle Youth Engagement Zone grant. A meeting of minds and priorities, it was a rarefied space where a convergence of the agendas of service learning, media literacy, STEM, CTE, film making, amounted to social change led by and with young people. You can read my earlier account here.
At the end of two weeks of hustling, bustling learning and production, the students premiered a short film they created from the ground up, including conception, acting, directing, supporting, gaffing, laughing, critiquing, scoring, editing, and presenting. These students- who Seattle has grumbled at for more than 15 years- were powerhouses of hope, glaring their brightness into the hot summer evening above I-5.
Their film was witty and deft, making its point and moving on rapidly. Its presentation was relatively smooth, as I subbed in to take the audience taken through my usual paces of humor and progressive learning until I had them exactly where I wanted them. Nobody knew the depths of what was amiss behind the scenes until the very end, and that was okay. It turned out that despite my facilitators’ best intentions, we weren’t fully prepared to show the film in the auditorium where the 50+ audience members were comfortably seated! So we gracefully ushered them into the classroom where the camp edited the film and everything turned out excellently.
So much of our time- each of us, right now- is taken up worrying and waiting, wondering and hoping. In the meantime the fierce urgency of now is calling for our attention. The Seattle Youth Media Camp presentation reminded me that young people, those who are struggling with the future meeting the present right now, they don’t have the luxury of waiting. Now is their time. Honestly, that’s true for each of us right now, no matter what your age is.