Imagining the Future


(Rihkee Strapp) #1

Youth are already shaping our future.

“Gen-Z will surpass Millennials in 2019 as the most populous generation, comprising roughly 32 percent of the population… not only is it mounting in numbers, but it’s also already shifting trends on communication and consumption. From the rise of ephemeral platforms to the fall of cookie-cutter social media.” (Gen-Z is about to outnumber Millennials.)

This means today’s youth are focusing more on the quality of their relationships instead the quantity of their friends list. Organizations and foundations, who have not already, will have to shift the way they look at youth engagement.

To get to the future we want, youth engagement is not the only thing that will need to change. This week at the knowledge centre we are imagining the future.

What do you see at the most crucial pivot point in how the youth sector operates?

  • Reconciling the origins of foundational wealth. Changing the foundations relationship to community is crucial when considering the origins of their wealth being “twice stolen.”
  • Inspiring better communication. Creating open data that is accessible to interface with. Improving the understanding and usefulness of evaluation for the organization not just the funder, including incorporating Indigenous evaluation methodology. Mitigating optimism bias, and intentionally shifting the power dynamic between funder and funded organization to create more honest reporting.
  • Embracing diversity from the community to the foundational level. To create equal opportunities for youth in Ontario, special investment must be made to vulnerable populations. Investing in youth in remote Indigenous communities requires the insight of remote Indigenous staff and creates a higher sense of accountability to community.

0 voters

Have something else in mind? Join the conversation by adding your own answers in the comment section below.

(Konrad Glogowski) #2


One more thing that your post brings to mind is that we need to engage youth in program development, measurement, and evaluation. With the technology we have available today, we have an opportunity to get real-time data / insights from program participants, including those whose voices are rarely heard in research and evaluation efforts or at management or board levels. It is no longer difficult or very expensive to incorporate apps into our work that offer young people the opportunity to share what’s on their mind, how they enjoyed that workshop last night, or what program staff could be doing to more effectively support their needs. Young people also need to be involved in survey design, data collection, data analysis, etc.

I think the mindset of delivering programming to students and for students still persists. The school system continues, for the most part, to see young people are empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. This also happens in the youth sector, where programs are still often done to students/youth. We need a stronger shift to learning with and from young people in all aspects of our work.