I believe in the untapped potential of the youth and that the key to most of the problems we are facing today lies in the minds (and hearts) of the youth. In my several years of serving my fellow countrymen as a youth leader, it has always been a challenge for me to get people, especially the youth, to take part in an integrative decision–making process and thereby take a role in the suggested participative and collective action. My experiences as a youth leader continuously teach me how to enable, engage, and empower other people.
As one of today’s youth, I am able to understand the ways by which other boys and girls (and also young men and women) deal everyday circumstances, even occasional problems, issues and crises. This focal point serves as a breaking ground wherein one can introduce a problem/issue that needs to be addressed. Raising issues nowadays is not as hard as it used to be. The advent of technology paved the way for easier and more accessible means of communicating with other people. The utilization of social networking sites is but one way of spreading awareness to countless number of people. It is in the identification and recognition of the problem/issue that we get to have a chance to “enable” the youth.
Once a problem/issue is recognized the next step, usually, is the identification of possible solutions. However, it is important to set the boundaries between what has been done, what is not yet done, and what else can be done. Encouraging the youth to join meetings, gatherings, and other activities that aim to come up with solutions to our country’s overflowing problems is a way to “engage” the youth. We should always aim to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Calling out other teenagers and young men and women alike to join activities like this is one way of engaging them to be part of the solution.
We should not always end up boasting ourselves as having part of the solution. A true youth leader trains the next generation of leaders. In this way, the campaigns and programs laid out will have continuity under the care of the new leaders. An enabled individual who is actively engaged in several activities that aim to spark change is said to be empowered. But the challenge to this empowered individual is to empower other people by enabling and engaging them. Empowering the youth has a very simple equation. We always go back to the first step: we identify and recognize then everything should follow.
Essay submitted to PH-LEAD for YouthLEAD PH Leadership Camp Application