Today (Aug 12th) is International Youth Day, and brings to a close the International Year of Youth. There have been many activities over the year in a lot of countries all over the world to celebrate their youth culture and look to the future of the human race.
This year’s International Youth Day is focused on Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, where we as individuals appreciate the value of dialogue with the youth of today and encourage greater understanding across cultures and across generational divides.
I had the privilege of meeting students at Grantham College during the District Election campaign in April, and from what I saw, I believe that the youth of today have an invaluable contribution to make to our society and to our town. However, we as adults and older generations also have an obligation to ensure that they can realise their aspirations, their talents can be rewarded and their futures are secure.
I despair at how our young people can be demonised in the press and by society, and I realise that only a small minority of any group of people can give the majority a poor image. I know there is a significant amount of underage drinking that does occur, and I am aware of the ever-present risk of illegal drugs on our streets. I know the police are working hard to deal with these risks and their efforts should be applauded.
However, I see a much more positive side to the young people of Grantham too. I see community groups coming together to provide activities and entertainment during the school holidays. I see our schools working hard to deliver extra curricular activities that add value to a good education. I regularly see many of our students going off to university to further their education and many of them will go on to make important contributions.
Do I see the whole picture though? I suspect not. I think it is important for the young people of Grantham to speak out about what works well and what doesn’t. I believe then we will go a long way to creating a mutual understanding across the generational divide.
by David Burling