YOUTH MATTERS: Helping a generation at risk

Opinion Sep 30, 2016 by Marcel Knot, YFC/Waterdown Youth Centre Flamborough Review

This November marks 12 years since I became the first youth worker for YFC/Youth Unlimited in Waterdown. At the time, I was naively unaware of the deep issues students were facing, or what resources were available for them around town after hours.

I began by volunteering at the local high school, connecting with teachers and getting involved in after-school programs. This allowed me to build relationships with kids in and understand their culture.

Besides serving in the school, I offered after-school programs in my basement. I opened a recording studio for kids to explore their gifts and make recordings. For two years on Friday nights, a coffee house/music night offered alternatives for kids along with several clubs and two annual camps.

My initial illusion of a problem-free Waterdown was soon replaced by first-hand experience and training in youth culture. Besides the kids’physical needs, my heart ached for their deep social, emotional and spiritual needs.

Youth were struggling with their identity and peer pressure. Today, that has evolved into huge social media identity problems. Kids feel they need to upkeep their Facebook “likes” or Instagram status. Their entire value and identity can be equated with the number of “likes” they get from their peers.

We’re encountering a generation connected to the digital community but disconnected from the daily face-to-face interactions with people. Many suffer with addictions, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

And it’s a growing problem in Waterdown. 

These phenomena are symptoms of a generation at risk.

Young people are looking for someone who will listen, support and guide them though the turbulent adolescent years. My hope and prayer is that YFC/Youth Unlimited will continue to play a significant role in supporting youth in our community through the Youth Centre or in the local community. I long to see young people reach their potential and grow emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.

After all, they are the future.

YOUTH MATTERS: Helping a generation at risk

Opinion Sep 30, 2016 by Marcel Knot, YFC/Waterdown Youth Centre Flamborough Review

This November marks 12 years since I became the first youth worker for YFC/Youth Unlimited in Waterdown. At the time, I was naively unaware of the deep issues students were facing, or what resources were available for them around town after hours.

I began by volunteering at the local high school, connecting with teachers and getting involved in after-school programs. This allowed me to build relationships with kids in and understand their culture.

Besides serving in the school, I offered after-school programs in my basement. I opened a recording studio for kids to explore their gifts and make recordings. For two years on Friday nights, a coffee house/music night offered alternatives for kids along with several clubs and two annual camps.

My initial illusion of a problem-free Waterdown was soon replaced by first-hand experience and training in youth culture. Besides the kids’physical needs, my heart ached for their deep social, emotional and spiritual needs.

Youth were struggling with their identity and peer pressure. Today, that has evolved into huge social media identity problems. Kids feel they need to upkeep their Facebook “likes” or Instagram status. Their entire value and identity can be equated with the number of “likes” they get from their peers.

We’re encountering a generation connected to the digital community but disconnected from the daily face-to-face interactions with people. Many suffer with addictions, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

And it’s a growing problem in Waterdown. 

These phenomena are symptoms of a generation at risk.

Young people are looking for someone who will listen, support and guide them though the turbulent adolescent years. My hope and prayer is that YFC/Youth Unlimited will continue to play a significant role in supporting youth in our community through the Youth Centre or in the local community. I long to see young people reach their potential and grow emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.

After all, they are the future.

YOUTH MATTERS: Helping a generation at risk

Opinion Sep 30, 2016 by Marcel Knot, YFC/Waterdown Youth Centre Flamborough Review

This November marks 12 years since I became the first youth worker for YFC/Youth Unlimited in Waterdown. At the time, I was naively unaware of the deep issues students were facing, or what resources were available for them around town after hours.

I began by volunteering at the local high school, connecting with teachers and getting involved in after-school programs. This allowed me to build relationships with kids in and understand their culture.

Besides serving in the school, I offered after-school programs in my basement. I opened a recording studio for kids to explore their gifts and make recordings. For two years on Friday nights, a coffee house/music night offered alternatives for kids along with several clubs and two annual camps.

My initial illusion of a problem-free Waterdown was soon replaced by first-hand experience and training in youth culture. Besides the kids’physical needs, my heart ached for their deep social, emotional and spiritual needs.

Youth were struggling with their identity and peer pressure. Today, that has evolved into huge social media identity problems. Kids feel they need to upkeep their Facebook “likes” or Instagram status. Their entire value and identity can be equated with the number of “likes” they get from their peers.

We’re encountering a generation connected to the digital community but disconnected from the daily face-to-face interactions with people. Many suffer with addictions, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

And it’s a growing problem in Waterdown. 

These phenomena are symptoms of a generation at risk.

Young people are looking for someone who will listen, support and guide them though the turbulent adolescent years. My hope and prayer is that YFC/Youth Unlimited will continue to play a significant role in supporting youth in our community through the Youth Centre or in the local community. I long to see young people reach their potential and grow emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.

After all, they are the future.