We hear so much about how hard it is to engage teenagers, so much negativity about how teenagers aren’t interested in anything apart from the latest phones or fashion. Recently, best selling children’s author Patrick Ness used his acceptance speech at the Carnegie Children’s book award to lambast the government for their negative attitude to teens. Well, Patrick probably meets more teens than most, and he knows how many amazing, creative things young people are involved in. From Live Magazine, written and produced by young people in London to young people volunteering their time to help their communities through Vinspired, and Media Trust engaging hard to reach young people through working with media mentors to make films, there’s a lot going on out there.
I was lucky enough to have a small involvement this week in a hugely ambitious project called The Challenge which will be giving 10,000 teens the chance to connect with their communities this summer through photography, sport, enterprise, drama or media.
Through film, the young people will get to interact with groups of people that they may not have felt comfortable talking to, older people, homeless people, those with disabilities. Barriers will be broken down, new experiences had and most importantly the young people will build a new connection to their community.
I think it’s a brilliant and ambitious project and I was honoured to play a small part in it working with Media Trust to devise the training for the media challenge. Through media, the young people can allow their creativity to thrive, and through the cameras, barriers can be broken down allowing them to talk more comfortably to those different to themselves.
The Challenge dreams big, and in doing so it inspires young people to dream big, to show us what they can do and to allow their voices to be heard. Hear their stories and listen to what they are saying.