International Youth Day is a great time to celebrate and learn to appreciate the next generation–as well as the future of humankind–by getting on board to celebrate International Youth Day!
History of International Youth Day
Youth Day presents an opportunity for every country to assess their investment in and commitment to youth, as well as general education (both of and to youth).
Endorsed by the United Nations in 1999 after a recommendation was made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, the first International Youth Day took place in the summer of 2000. Although its purpose was certainly meant to inspire and encourage leaders of countries to be aware of issues related to youth, its sentiment can be passed down far away from political leaders and into the culture of each land’s up and coming generations.
That means that International Youth Day should not only be engaged at a global level and national level, but also at a local level. And this can be done by the people who know and love the youth of their communities.
International Youth Day is meant to empower young people to participate in public life so that they are prepared and equipped to contribute to society’s development all around the world.
It’s time to celebrate International Youth Day!
How to Celebrate International Youth Day
Celebrating and enjoying this day has everything to do with the awareness of the difficulties youth face today as well as working to help solve these problems for the leaders of tomorrow. Try these ideas in honor of International Youth Day:
Get Involved and Support Youth Activities
Take the opportunity to find out about local youth culture, activities and education, and to get involved in the wellbeing of the next generation of humanity. Since youth difficulties and challenges can change from town to town or city to city, it’s important to understand what is going on in the local community to understand what needs the youths of today are facing.
This can be done by volunteering in local youth programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, YMCA, Rotary Clubs, the Kiwanis Clubs or other local activities that support young people in the local community.
Show an Interest in Young People
For those who already have youth in their lives, this is an easy day to work a little harder at trying to get to know and understand them. It may take a bit to build trust, but this is a great day to start. Begin by showing an interest in what they are doing or thinking in these ways:
- Ask some questions about their dreams or how they would like the world to be different (and then be sure to listen to the answers!)
- Offer to help them with something they need, or ask them for some help with technology or something they are good at
- Ask them to reveal something about their current favorite music selections and listen with them, which can improve the relationship simply by making time to spend together
- Be intentional! Although they might be skeptical at first if they are suddenly the center of attention, eventually, they will warm to the interest that is paid to them and become more comfortable
Watch a Film About Youth Issues
Getting educated about the issues youth are facing today doesn’t have to be boring! Many different films and shows have been created that offer a glimpse into the struggles associated with today’s teens and children. Whether revolving around racism, poverty, depression abuse, suicide, bullying, drug use, obesity or many others, many films have been put out to grow awareness of and increase empathy for the youth of today. Consider viewing one of these to learn more:
- All the Bright Places (2020). Address the issues of friendship, social struggles, feelings of isolation, dealing with death of a loved one, as well as depression and the impact of suicide.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) A drama about a teen boy who faces bullying and goes through school as an outcast, until he changes his behavior so he can fit in. It deals with teen drama, social isolation, peer pressure and other difficulties youth deal with in today’s world.
- The Spectacular Now (2013). This coming-of-age film follows a teen on a self-discovery journey as a senior in high school. Dealing with issues of complicated family dynamics and underage drinking, this film is a great conversation starter.
- American History (1998). Addressing the issues of modern day racism, this film tells the story of one of a set of young brothers who is incarcerated for murder and undergoes signficant personal growth while in prison. His brother on the “outside”, however, is still functioning under his same white-supremacist views.
Get Involved with an International Youth Day Event
People all over the world can be found putting on events that celebrate this day. Volunteer to help, donate money or support the events in whatever ways might be useful. One resource for getting information about sponsored events in celebration of the day is through the United Nations website.
Some events may be held in person while others can be tapped into virtually, including thematic discussions and information campaigns that take place surrounding International Youth Day. https://www.un.org/en/observances/youth-day
Other events may include sports events, parades, concerts, volunteer projects, and achievement exhibitions. For instance, one event in Texas, USA gathered a group of young people who worked together to clean and decorate a school. Groups in London, England celebrated the day by hosting free story times, craft-making events, quizzes and various other activities for children, while another event in Dublin, Ireland, was an orchestra event featuring talented young musicians from across the country. One New York event included a fashion show, chess tournament and various roundtable discussions.
Host an International Youth Day Event
Those who don’t already have access to a local event to celebrate today’s youth might consider hosting one! Grab some friends with a similar passion to empower youth and create an event to raise awareness and support. It could be something as small as hosting a reading room at a local library, or it could be a full-blown event that draws international attention!
The point is to encourage others to pay more attention to the needs of modern young people as they are equipped for becoming the future leaders of the world.