Efforts to engage local youth through a community-wide forum deserve applause next month, but also underscore the deficiencies facing youth in Summerland.
The forum scheduled for Oct. 25 confirms on one hand that the community now possesses the institutions through which it can organize a dialogue that should touch on a wide range of issues relevant to this segment of the population.
On the other hand, the need for such a forum acknowledges that local youth find themselves and their issues towards the bottom end of public priorities.
While politicians often claim to act in the best long-term interest of youth, their short-term electoral fortunes depend on rather more ‘adult’ calculations. This disconnect between political messaging and reality will only intensify in coming years as demographics tilt towards the upper end of the age pyramid.
But none of us will ultimately be able to afford political leadership that can safely ignore the concerns of younger people, whose level of political sensibilities might not be as finely developed as those of their parents or grandparents, for the stakes high.
Rural communities that fail to give their youth reasons to re-invest their talents at home risk perhaps nothing less than extinction.
True, youths and youth adult themselves must one day wake up to the fact that somebody else will continue to make decisions for them, until they choose to be active political participant, with all the rights and responsibilities that accompany this status.
This said, they deserve advocates for their causes, such as the Summerland Asset Development Initiative, which is organizing next month’s forum. In fact, a similar meeting led to the emergence of SADI. But forums are exactly just that — forums.
What matters are results and on that score, Summerland lags behind.