The Importance of Youth Summits

By - Gabrielle Jordan On Mar 15, 2014

The Importance of Youth Summits

I recently spoke at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators’ 43rd Annual Conference. The topic, Reclaiming our Sons and Daughters, was a youth summit that brought bright, young minds together with mature adults and political leaders to discuss ways to empower and uplift children.

This got me thinking…

Why aren’t kids a part of more conferences? We may be young, but we’ve got a fresh perspective on things and lots of energy to use. Many of us discuss our ideas with our teachers, friends and family because we rarely have the chance to share our thoughts in bigger settings, such as conferences and summits. It would be great to include kids in conferences because we can learn from successful adults, but they can also learn from us.

Of course, some of the topics that adults discuss during these conferences may not be that interesting or relevant to us. Still, we can see how professional people behave and interact. We can learn what it takes to become successful and even find mentors who are willing to help us along our journeys. I believe Neil Postman said it best, "Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see". So adults should put more consideration into inviting us in into their discussions. If adults want to send more positive messages into the future, they should start by having meaningful conversations with kids now.

If adults incorporate us into their professional conferences, perhaps developing a youth summit like the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators did, they can hear our perspectives and input on topics such as the future of the youth. They’ll be able to talk with us, ask questions and receive direct feedback on steps they can take to ensure brighter futures for us. There’s no better way for an adult to prepare for a child’s future than to involve the child in their decisions.

Everything that adults are learning about is good for kids to know. It help us grow and make responsible decisions.

Adults: Take the time to involve the kids in your journeys so that you contribute to a glorious future for the world.

Kids: Be willing to share your opinions about your own future and the future of youth in general with adults you admire. You never know about all of the doors they can open for us and how our opinions shape the way adults think about us.

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