SSN Commentary

Engage Our Youth Because They Will Soon Be Our Leaders

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University of Maine

Originally published in Bangor Daily News on August 28, 2023.

Regardless of age, we all have a stake in our communities. Yet we often neglect to engage teens and young adults in civic processes. Although they receive many protections, government services and resources, many have little opportunity to contribute their ideas, perspectives or civic services to communities. Without youth input, leaders have less feedback about community assets that foster positive youth development or situations that limit youths’ opportunities to live and grow in safe and healthy environments.

Furthermore, a surprising number of adults are losing faith in our country’s institutions and feel their perspectives are not regarded by civic officials. This decline in trust may continue if our upcoming generations don’t have the interest or opportunity to engage in civic leadership.