The Importance Of Engaging Youth In Civic Activities

Civic activities are impacting society in more ways than you think. They shape one’s immediate surroundings and impact lives in a more direct way than even some of the biggest legislatures ever could. Still, the interest in civic activities is substantially lower. Why? Well, they’re not as glamorous as these major issues and courses.

At the same time, this doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, here are the top four reasons why the importance of engaging youth in civic activities cannot be stressed out enough.

Civic activities, also known as civic engagement, are actions that individuals or groups take to improve the lives of their communities. These activities can be political or non-political and can range from volunteering at a local soup kitchen to attending city council meetings.

Importance Of Engaging Youth In Civic Activities

1. Participation in society

One of the biggest struggles that young people have with modern society is the idea that they somehow don’t have a stake in it.

On the one hand, home ownership and stock ownership are incredibly low. The modern workplace culture is such that an average person changes so many jobs by the time they retire, which prevents them from feeling that the place they work at is “theirs.”

On top of this, there’s this disheartening narrative going on about how their vote is not really worth that much. The way the Electoral College works is maliciously interpreted to present to a voter that their vote doesn’t even matter (even if they’re in a swing state), let alone in a state that traditionally votes red or blue, which makes them forsake their right to vote altogether.

So, what you have is an entire generation of people who are developing this feeling that they don’t own anything in society.

Engagement in civic activities can change this.

First off, they can see the immediate effects of their work on the local community. They can see it every day in matters that surround and affect them. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and allows them to see that they do have worth and that their impact on society is real.

This will help them care more about their own surroundings and finally embrace the idea that they can be active participants in society if they only choose to be so. There are many civic engagement examples that you could try out, such as volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a park cleanup, or running for student government.

2. Preparing to take on the mantle

The next thing worth mentioning is that no generation, no matter how promising or strong can live forever. Even the Greatest Generation, the one that won the greatest armed conflict in human history, liberated the world and built one of the greatest economies the world has ever seen, had to pass on the torch.

This is the nature of time and human existence.

However, you can’t just expect the next generation to know how to rule intuitively. They have to be taught and slowly introduced to the levers of power in the world that they live in. This is why it’s so important that the youth engages in civic activities.

The problem with civic activities is that they’re not nearly as glamorous as federal institutions or international organizations. A young person has the vigor and the resolve to change the world, so it often seems too trivial to engage in local affairs. You’ll sooner see a young person invest a massive amount of personal energy to protest a global issue but seldom have the time or interest in trying to solve local issues.

With the right guidance and motivation, these things can be turned around. You start small. If you decide to start boxing, you would start with people in your own gym, and your first sparring session would never be against a world champion. Why would partaking in government or governance be any different?

Starting slow and working your way up is the way to go.

3. Personal growth

The next thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of civic engagement in these young people’s personal growth and development.

First of all, civic engagement is never an individual effort. It’s always about teamwork, collaboration, and compromise. Each of these traits is essential to one’s functioning in tomorrow’s society (or just the workplace that they’ll be in).

Next, taking responsibility for your actions is the key part when it comes to partaking in these activities. You’ll have your responsibilities, and fulfilling your tasks will be on you. Whether you succeed or not will depend on your own dedication and effort. Also, since they’re just doing a part in a larger project, they’ll develop a feeling of what it’s like to have other people depend on them.

Ultimately, not every civic activity results in success. While a lot of people avoid this topic like the plague, it’s important for young people to understand that massive projects can fail despite them doing the best they can. Sometimes, external opposing forces are just too strong, and, on some occasions, the people on your team do not pull their own weight. It’s even more important to teach them that this doesn’t mean that the effort is not worth it.

4. Diversity

Lastly, you need different perspectives in order to get the best ideas. Sure, the elderly won’t be able to lead forever; however, this doesn’t mean that their voices should be dismissed. The young may still not be ready to assume leadership roles or make calls on their own; however, this doesn’t mean that they have nothing to contribute to the public discourse.

The truth is that you need as many different people as you can get on your team to chip into the conversation, and yes, this means people of different age groups. When we speak of diversity, we usually talk about ethnicity or background, but one’s age group might be just as important as a discerning factor.

People growing up in the age of the internet and molded by the gaming culture have a unique, fresh perspective to offer to this conversation, and this shouldn’t be dismissed as easily.

In the previous segments, it may have seemed like this public engagement could do good for these young participants. After all, they learn, grow, and increase their interest in public affairs. However, they also have so much to contribute, and ignoring them can be seen as a massive loss of potential.

Wrap up

Ultimately, engagement in civic activities will dispel some of the largest misconceptions about one’s participation in these large projects. The biggest one is that you can’t make a difference. It will also prepare you for future positions of leadership and help you grow. Most importantly, everyone has something to contribute to the struggle and dismissing one’s help due to their youth is both unwise and counterproductive.

Get Involved!

There are many ways for young people to get involved in their communities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at a local organization that you care about.
  • Run for student government or join a club at school.
  • Attend city council meetings or school board meetings.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Organize a community service project.

No matter how you choose to get involved, your participation makes a difference. By working together, we can create a better future for all.

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