Reflecting on 2013

Adam Fletcher in Seattle

This last year has been a spectacular journey in my professional life. Throughout the year, I’ve discovered new heights of learning and opportunities, while remembering the roots I’ve grown from more deeply.

I spent a lot of 2013 in a writing cycle, alternately working on manuscripts for 7 publications, 3 of which are now in print. That’s been an exciting path, working diligently on finishing my biggest writing yet, Ending Discrimination Against Young People. I’m really proud of that work. Within the next week, I’ll also be launching a new publication, An Introduction to Holistic Youth Development. I’m pretty excited about that, too.

Starting in September, I began coordinating the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council youth services, including $1,000,000 in grants and a youth council. I’d been working with their Youth Alliance through 2012 and 2013, and now I’m co-coordinating that with the awesome Todd Johnson from ESD 113. That professional collaboration, along with many others, is greatly increasing my depth of knowledge of youth as economic agents, including youth entrepreneurship, youth workforce education, and many more areas. Its exciting.

Throughout the late fall, I’ve had excited opportunities to reconnect with my longtime colleagues Heather Manchester and Sadie Schnitzler. We’d all worked together, along with Mishaela Duran and a few others, in the highly-selective Youth Ambassadors program operated by the Points of Light Foundation back in 2000-01. Its been exciting reconnecting with both of them, Heather after living in Northern Ireland for 6 years, and Sadie after living in Tibet for a decade. They’re both awesome people, and good for my brain.

My partnerships this last year were interesting, especially working deeply with Lois Brewer at Seattle Public Schools and Kyla Lackie, formerly of SOAR. I really miss Kyla now that she’s moved on to work with Highline Public Schools, but I know she’s doing good work there, and I’m definitely happy for her. Lois and I continue to work together to promote service learning and youth engagement at Cleveland High School and throughout the district. Collaborating with me extensively on that work has been the awesome Teddy Wright. Teddy and I continue finding new ways to partner, adding to more than 5 years of our collaboration. I’m also still drawn to my friend Mike Beebe’s work, who partnered with me in southeast Washington this year as we launched a SoundOut Student Voice Program there.

I continue to admire and talk with many of North America’s leaders in this work, as well as stay connected to the international field. Its been my privilege to contribute to Roger Holdsworth’s Connect magazine in Australia throughout the year, and to find a new outlet in Hazel Owen’s Ethos Consultancy blog out of New Zealand.

The year has taught me patience, and has encouraged me to gather my forces for the near future. The efforts out there to distract young people from their true engagements throughout life are mighty, and only getting stronger. I want to work to re-engage them, and all of society, in what matters. 2014 will be an exciting, exhilarating path towards that mission.

I’m taking a blogging break for the rest of the year, and will launch my writing fresh again in the New Year. I am coming back with a new style focused on quick, easy news and views. STAY ENGAGED, and have great holidays!

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