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Tackling some depressing research on the views of adults towards young people

According to research undertaken by YouGov for the youth charity, Jack Petchey Foundation (www.jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk) almost one in four adults (24%) aged 26 or over say they feel uneasy when they see young people (those aged 11 to 25) on the street and cross the road to avoid them. Furthermore, a third of adults (34%) believe young people have no respect for others.

In Scouting, we know that simply isn't true but clearly we are not getting the message across that there is a very different side to today's young people, not least for the million or more Scouts and Guides across the UK who demonstrate so many more positive attributes every week. So what more should we be doing?

Perhaps its a topic to discuss with your Scouts, Explorers and for you Network members to consider - what, if anything, would they like to see us doing about it, or indeed what support would they like to get the message across themselves locally?

Please let me know what you think, and the ideas they come up with.





By Duncan Hill
on 14/12/2009 00:54

It was actually some negative comments about "kids today" that brought me back to Scouting. I was at a party when someone made some throwaway dispariging comment about young people. Another person at the party would have none of it - he has three sons, all Scouts, and he told the first guy in no uncertain terms about his pride in them and all they had achieved, and how much more pressure they were under at school than we ever were. I was inspired by his enthusiasm and got in touch with my local district and back in the movement.
So - let's stick up for our youth, challenge negative stereotypes, and hopefully we can change minds and inspire others.

By David Allton
on 14/12/2009 14:49

I am about to complete an 18-month Heritage Lottery funded project, New Neighbours: Crossing The Divide, which has addressed this very problem of a lack of understanding and communication between age groups. As well as working with local school children and some young people outside the education system, I also worked with eight members of 41st Coventry Scouts. The project was begun by Nuneaton & Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association who aimed to tackle a problem highlighted by older members of the community in the former mining village of Keresley, Warwickshire - "We used to know everybody on the village, but now we don't know the young people who are our neighbours."
Working in partnership with Warwickshire County Council's Positive about Young People programme, I offered young and older people the chance to think about their community, their place in it, and the place of those around them. I then trained them to carry out oral history interviews of older people from their community, focusing on ideas of community and neighbourliness. They then had the chance to reflect on their findings.
I can say that the attitude from the young people was superb - willing to involve themselves, interested in the lives of their older neighbours, thoughtful and reflective. The sadness was that so few older people were prepared to give up their time to meet and spend time with the young people. Sadly, more than one said that they had so much trouble from young people, why would they want to sit in a room with them - they won't change...
Where both young and older neighbours came forward with a positive attitude and an open mind, friendships were formed - when someone has a name, they are no longer just a 'hoody' or a 'wrinkly': they are a person and potentially a friend.
One thing which has become clear while running this project is that opportunities for younger and older neighbours to mix socially have declined drastically. Both parents (usually) have to work, the walk to school has been replaced by the school run, local shopping has been replaced by massive supermarkets and online shopping, church and sunday school attendance has declined, carnivals and other community events have become a major job and expensive to organise, and there is a strong feelign that many people come home from work, shut the door and don't emerge again until the next morning.
I have only worked in this field for 18 months, but Scouting and other youth organisations have had this agenda for many years.
It is sad that the media have only one agenda, to show young people in a negative light. If they were more open to sharing good news, it would do society a great deal of good - so many of these fears about young people come from their routine portrayal as negative characters in the news, in films and on television rather than any actual bad experience.

By Eddie Ward
on 15/12/2009 08:34

Our Explorer Scouts are very focused on trying to change the public perception of Scouting and in a wider way also of young people. We make use of the media to do this. In 2010 we plan to do something much bigger in organising a Scout Day in Carlisle City Centre to promote the Adventure, Fun & Challenge of modern Scouting and dispel out dated steriotypes. It is amazing the number of people who don't know about the Scouting that is happening in their communities and furthermore what it can offer to their communities. Hopefully this will engage more people and go some way to changing adults attitudes to young people.

By Steve Altria
on 15/12/2009 22:54

Our Scout Group has einsured we have had an article in our local newpaper featuring something on our Scout Group and an action picture for every week for ten years.

No one does not know what we are doing.

Steve Altria GSL 1st Wellington Somerset

By Moz
on 16/12/2009 16:26

I think it's in our interest to persuade society that your average hoodie is nothing to be scared of if we want to recruit more Scout and Explorer Scout Leaders!

I've had personal experience that Scouts aren't the only worthwhile young people. Recently I was struggling to get some camping equipment down from our Scout hut loft on my own.

As I'd arrived at the hut I'd noticed a gang of teenagers hanging around outside. So I went outside and asked if they'd give me a hand. They almost fell over each other to help out!

By Nigel Speakman
on 21/12/2009 15:09

The kids that come into Scouting are volunteers. Most have parents that care otherwise they would not be there. The big problem is the large majority that don't walk through our doors.

I watched miracle on 34th Street and Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus put all the kids on his knee. We don't do that anymore. We are terrified as adults of being accussed of inappropiate behaviour.

It is this fear and all the laws we have passed that is creating this gulf between young and old. The break down of morals in society and the outlawing of being able to correct children for miscreant behaviour is at the root of all this.

The law has swung too much in favour of childrens rights and not enough on the responsibilities of being a good citizen.

Our Insurance Industry is also highly to blame by drafting contracts to limit their losses. Day by Day they crack down on our freedom. Rules are introduced constantly increasing the sense of fear stoked by the media keen to sell newsprint and advertising space.

Add into this toxic mix the virtualisation of personal relationships. The lack of sheer actual physical contact between human beings and our problems just keep growing.

Persnally I think Scouting has the answer to this decline. Scouting for Boys in Ian Hislops programme shouts it out. The book 102 years ago produced the blue print for uniting the world and for making the world a much better place. We all know it.

We need to get this message out to the rest of the world. Tell people what is really in the book Scouting for Boys not what they perceive. The message is still relevant today. Also we have the most balanced well bred children in our midst.

What message to the outside world does that broadcast. The politicians need to take note.

If we had the money we should send a copy of Scouting for Boys to every Politician in local and National Government and include with it a copy of Ian Hislop's Scouting for Boys programme.

Finally the No win no fee legislation needs repealing to limit insurance claims and get all this red tape and bureacracy off our backs. This constant drip drip effect of rules and regulations is what is increasing the fear between children and adults.

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