In November we held our annual in-school team training day and were lucky enough to have Kelly Lovell come and speak to our group. As a youth leader herself and someone who actively engages youth in a number of ways, we thought it would be interesting to talk to Kelly about her experiences and what makes her passionate about the work that she does. You can check out the first part of the interview here or read on for Kelly’s answers to more of our questions.
Part two –Kelly on Youth Engagement
Why is it important to engage youth in the work that you do and in the work that communities do?
Youth are our leaders of today and tomorrow; it is our young spirit that can see the world with new lenses and question the status quo. In doing so we can see beyond industry boundaries to discover the simplest solutions to our world’s greatest problems. It is important to engage youth in aspects of your work because if you want to prepare for a better future you must engage those who hold the future in their hands. The mere definition of innovation is to break through industry with novel solutions. There is a saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. So rather than looking to those that already have learned to accept our status quo, I chose to consult with those who have the imagination to see beyond it!
Why do you think it is important for youth to get involved in their communities?
It is important for youth to get involved in their communities for two reasons: for their benefit of their communities and for the benefit of themselves.
I think can openly acknowledge the benefit to the community from engaging youth. You are introduced to a source of innovation, new ideas and fresh perspectives. You are able to prepare your community for an improved tomorrow by engaging future leaders today.
The benefits to the individual youth that get involved, however, are not as openly acknowledged. Yes, it is wonderful for a youth to have a hand in improving the lives of their peers or community and learning to give back. However, there is a lot of self-discovery that comes from community involvement as well. I feel the most important reason for a youth to get involved is to discover their voice and develop experience. Through community involvement, youth are able to freely explore their interests without pressure to excel or judgment from peers. You can try out different roles, new interests/skills and step outside the social box you find yourself entertaining in your peer networks. You get a fresh start; a blank slate to recreate yourself and build your future.
You can follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellyalovell and visit her website here: www.kellyalovell.com