I was a bit of a troubled youth myself for a while so I am drawing from my own experiences.
I remember starting a lot of trouble/doing dangerous things simply because I was bored. There are various factors for various people such as out of control emotions, lack of supervision, role models etc. but in my case my friends and I were sick of watching TV, playing video games, reading books, riding bikes to the store etc. None in my crowd were interested in sports. This was the big thing we noticed. Community programs aimed at youth tended to be sports oriented, which alienated us. We didn't care about that stuff. There were so many things that DID interest us that were so hard to find access to. So, we either snuck booze or did some very insane things while learning about chemistry. Some smashing of things we could get away with breaking. Basically we did things that were exciting, ambitious, creative and usually destructive. Had we not felt so frustrated with the various challenges that people of that age face, our activities probably would have been more constructive than destructive.
What would have kept us from doing stupid things was actually pretty straightforward in my eyes. Mentors in things that interested us. I think we put too much emphasis, or perhaps I should say 'expectation' on the education system. There are so many people in a community that have fascinating knowledge about all manner of things and there are always some young people who want to know more abut that and experience it. I think that even if a youth only has a few months to interact with the right mentor (who has an accepting attitude towards them as a person but not necessarily their actions) it makes a huge difference in setting them on the right llife path. Maybe they don't pursue much of an interest in that field, but the human connection that is made contains a certain wisdom of life that cannot be attained from a book or a classroom or even the most tweaked of social programs.
One of my own turning points was when I started doing martial arts about the same time I finished high school (after a long series of events that made me fear for my safety) and it was the beginning of me becoming centred. What started as dealing with threats to my safety became something that had some kind of connection with every other interest I had like cooking, music, cultures, art and so on. These are also things that I would have benefitted greatly from mentorship in but through the starting point of martial arts I found that there is common ground among all of these things in terms of learning the basics and then building upon them and eventually forgetting about the basics and just doing what you do. I also eventually, could see that there is a martial art to business too and now here I am. That is my own story. Everyone has a variety of possible positive paths but I think that connecting with good people who act as mentors at the right time is key. So is sharing the positive experiences with peers.
Thank you RyanCoffey, I agree 100% that there is a huge emphasis in using sports and athletics in general as a deterrant - not that I think sports and recreation is not a useful tool, I completely support the programs, but like you said, not everyone is pulled towards sports. There interests lie elsewhere and that elsewhere is different for everyone. I myself was never really into sports, I was you could say a loner. I had my group of friends who were like me but for the most part I stuck out like a sore thumb and was critisez and alienated for that. I like your idea of mentorship because of the attachment that it creates. It acknolwedges many levels of the human experience and provides an outlet and a response to those in need. I will look into utilizing mentors with my program design.
I also like how all the outlets you have noted (martial art, cooking, music, art...) all require you to draw from within you, find that place in you that is your starting point, your foundation and put aside all the outside negative influences and put your focus into learning the task...and you are right, when doing that there is a time when you will no longer be learning the task as it will just come naturally and in doing so you have created a sense of solice and inner peace and of course finding that avenue that keeps you engaged and interested!
I just want to help. Thanks for taking interest. If you end up getting involved in the community in such a way and you need connections to this or that I might be able to help you. My line of work means meeting all manner of people and I might be able to connect you with someone you need. I might even volunteer in some capacity myself although I am extremely busy with life, work and etc. Also teaching martial arts.
Thank you for the offer...I just moved to Naniamo in December so still trying to get a handle on the situation. Once I find where I can best be utilized I will move forward. I will most likely contact you for some connections a little later
Our youth are our future so I dont want to rush into something to find I went in the wrong direction!
I wish someone had told me how important education was and thinking and planning for the future at a young age. Although I agree that kids should be kids if they do not understand the importance that a good education means a good job with good income to pay the bills and do the things you want to do IN THE FUTURE...too many kids are just in the now. For many different reasons: they were kicked out of home/school, unplanned teenage pregnancies, juvy....there needs to be more programs in place for the most vunerable. And they need to KNOW the programs are there...so more awareness.
Definatley agree with you on the awareness, the best programs in the world do absolutely no good if people do not know they exist! I get your point, and agree with it, that kids live in the now and but they should know what is in store for them..I think the trick with that is (and only my opinion) would be to bring in success stories - kind of along the same lines as RyanCoffey had said - introduce them to real life people who have traveled down the wrong path, made wrong choices, ended up in Juvy or on the streets and have them see that its not the end..that someone survived and made it out of that life...some one they can relate too and possibly look up to. I may of babbled there and lost my point but I think kids need the interactive approach and need more then just being told that the future holds responsiblities and consequences - because they only know the now. BUT, if you bring in real people with real world experiences I think they could internalize something from that.
Thanks for your input! I will take note of this as well
Youth gangs are probably totally nonexistent here. I've never seen any.
The gangs you don't see are the most dangerous. They are out there.
Originally Posted by alvinchip
We have a 14 year old daughter who is involved in sports.... school and community. She is a typical teen, but has recently started asking to attend some "bush" parties that are planned most weekends. The locations are "secret" and not disclosed of until the evening of the get together. With Facebook, Twitter and texting this is easy to plan. Reluctantly we agreed to let her attend a gathering (after much discussion re: safety, drugs, alcohol, sex). We dropped her and a group of friends off at the "secret" location and without her knowledge, her father and I, crept around in the bushes and observed. There were about 30 teens there (from a variety of highschools), all standing around a fire, laughting, talking and socializing. There were a few with alcohol, and some were smoking cigarettes, but overall we were very impressed with the situation, and realized that the majority of teens now-a-days are much more aware of the dangers of drugs, etc. than my generation was.
My daughter has often asked if they could go to a beach (in the nanaimo area) and have a bonfire. We haven't found a "legaL' place for this yet.
I truly believe that we need to recognize that teens do need some "unorganized" social gatherings and that we should provide them with this space. I would much prefer knowing that EG: there was a bonfire at Departure Bay, then a "bush party" in a secret location.
Originally Posted by justducky
It's a pity. Because I really miss the smell of burning ocean wood (beach wood) over the city. Has a smell all it's own and brings back so many good memories.