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And…Action! Teens Calling the Shots

One of the things I love about our “new urban” town is the effort that community organizers put into engaging and focusing on the needs of all residents, from toddlers to seniors.

Last year I published a post about the dangers of creating age specific or segregated communities, like those 55+ communities scattered across the nation especially in Florida.  That discussion was part of a review I did of Andrew Blechman’s novel Leisureville (to listen to a discussion I had with Andrew on this topic you can listen to the New Urban Podcast).

While sometimes it can be a pain sharing a theater with giggly teenagers or maneuvering through a group of awkward teens at the mall….our “positive” interaction with them does “them” a world of good.  They learn from us and we learn from them.  That’s a good system for preparing good citizens for the future.

Of course it helps when some thought goes into engaging our teens in meaningful ways and that’s what our town has done.  We actually have a teens’ council and this weekend the teens’ council is sponsoring a 24-hour film challenge.

The challenge works like this: Interested teens including my 16 year old son, were invited to gather at our local art gallery on Friday evening to receive some resources and guidelines before setting off to create a short film in 24-hours.  Cameras had to be provided by the teens themselves (well their parents).

Since last night parents, including ourselves, have been driving groups of teens from one destination point to another (based on their scene plan).

At the 24 hr point (9 p.m. tonight) they have to hand in their finished film on VHS tape or DVD.  The really exciting thing is the winner will be announced at a ceremony the kids will be attending in our town hall tomorrow evening.  So there’ll be no long wait to find out who won (a definite sign that kids put this together).

Here we have a youth driven initiative, supported by parents (as chauffeurs and gofers) and the community as a whole to ignite and inspire our youth to do something creative and constructive.  Our local art gallery, town hall and other facilities were all made available for the teens to use for networking, getting information and for ultimately celebrating this great artistic, community based initiative.

I’ll keep you posted on the winner…

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