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Page added on January 23, 2017

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Supporting “Youngers” in Transition


I was twenty-five years old when I started working for Transition US almost four years ago, and since then one of my strong desires has been to engage more young people in our movement. I’ve seen the energy and passion young people bring to social change work. And as the ones who are inheriting a planet in distress, we need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the future.

But there are many barriers to young people participating in Transition. To begin, many “youngers” are struggling to meet their basic needs in an era of economic contraction and soaring student debt, and don’t have the extra capacity for volunteer work. Inter-generational cultural differences can present challenges as well. I’ve witnessed personally, and heard about anecdotally, the disappointment that can occur when energized youth show up to a Transition group full of energy and ideas, only to be met with long, less-than-inspiring meetings or existing group leadership that doesn’t want to relinquish control. Of course, we need to find a middle ground. Youthful exuberance can sometimes lack direction or the knowledge and skills needed to successfully implement a project and turn vision into reality.

What I believe is needed—and what was suggested as an outcome of“Young Adults Day” at the 2015 International Transition Network Conference—is a thoughtful approach to integrating young people into the Transition Movement in a way that supports them in meeting their basic needs and pursuing their passions, while providing them with mentorship and professional development opportunities. There are already several great models of youth-oriented Transition programs that provide exactly that, including One Year in Transition in the UK, Portugal, and Sweden; andTransition Lab here in the US. While Transition Lab is currently on “pause,” founder Russell Evans plans to continue the program in the future and has compiled some wonderful resources for more established Transitioners to support young people in this work (check out his provocative blog post“This Changes Everything. So Now What?” and his Transition US teleseminar “Relationships Through Transition”).

I’m excited to be drawing from both of these models to launch my own experiment in supporting youth in Transition: a 3-month Residential Community Resilience Internshipthis summer. This pilot program will teach community organizing and hands-on resilience-building skills to a small number of interns (1-2) who will receive housing, mentorship, and professional development in exchange for approximately 20 hours/week of their time. Participants will learn about and practice include permaculture design and installation, natural building, homesteading, cooking and food processing, community organizing, group dynamics, project planning and management, writing and communications, fundraising, and more.

My hope is that after completing the internship, participants will be an asset to any Transition Initiative or community resilience group and will have the knowledge and direction to move towards creating a resilient lifestyle and livelihood for themselves, and other Transition Initiatives will want to adopt a similar approach to integrating youth participation into their work.

Learn more about the Residential Community Resilience Internship here.

Read “Supporting ‘Youngers’ in Transition – Part 1”

Transition US blogs

9 Comments on "Supporting “Youngers” in Transition"

  1. paulo1 on Mon, 23rd Jan 2017 6:08 pm 

    Gee, when I was 25 I had almost completed my trade certification for carpentry, had been a commercial pilot for 3 years, owned my first house for one year, was married, and had a 1 year old daughter. I paid for everything working construction.

    I had left my parents basement by age 17.

    Internship in a transition movement? This sounds like one of those ‘finding myself’ situations. You know the kind, those professional students you see drinking coffee all day in the student union buildings?

    It is now commonly spoken that today’s adolesence in North America lasts until age 30. In fact, some kids will never leave home. All I know is that despite the hue and cry of how easy it was back then, we still shared apartments, ate K dinner, and shopped the specials just to get by. At age 25 the interest on my mortgage climbed to 18% and I was laid off, thus forced to work away for three month contracts. One year, I worked 100 days straight before I had a day off.

    I scrolled up to the picture and saw a very young lady trying to rock a ‘potato fork’ out of the ground. My God. It made me flash back to a garbage truck I saw in Melaque. The garbage men looked like 15 year old kids and they rode in the back of a flatbed. As the garbage was pitched in they tamped it down with their feet. (wearing runners…not boots).

    That is what transition will look like. Kids working the land so they don’t starve. This article reminds me of a suburban school, and is about as useful.

    If we’re lucky, we’ll have roto-tillers and a little gas to put in them. Hopefully, some of us will have the parts and skills to keep them running. That, is what needs to be taught, imho.


  2. Midnight Oil on Mon, 23rd Jan 2017 9:08 pm 

    Well, that would be easy….get 10 of them together and put them circle and say which 9 of you guys aren’t going to be alive….after that teaching the one shouldn’t be too hard

  3. brough on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 3:42 am 

    This looks like a middle class self-help group. Sorry its too late for you guys. I’ve been in the oil and chemical biz all my working life. My children are in the oil and chemical industry, but my grand-kids will be farmers. My 7 year old g-son already knows by second nature how to raise potatoes, trap, skin and cook rabbit, prepare and spit roast pig. But still has time for proper schooling (mathematics, science, language skills etc). Unfortunately by the time most western kids have been through the high school/college mincing machine they are ill prepared for what the future holds for them.

  4. Cloggie on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 3:57 am 

    Transition in Paris:

    5 shepherds and their flocks reside in… Paris!

    Les Bergers Urbain

    Business model: apart from meat and wool, eating grass in parks and providing educational services to school children.

  5. GregT on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 5:32 am 

    They don’t serve sheep at Burger King restaurants over here cloggie.

    On a more serious note; One really has to wonder how far a dozen or so sheep would last in a city with a population of 2.5 million people. I’m thinking those guys could have chosen a much better location. No?

  6. Cloggie on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 5:57 am 

    Don’t take it too serious myself. More of a joke.

  7. Midnight Oil on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 6:30 am 

    Hunt and fish?…After BAU all them there wild critters will be gonners….like extinct.
    Like the good old boys talk about living off the land when I lived in Charlotte NC…
    Sure you all will just go out and bag a deer or rabbit (like a wild rabbit has much edible meat…or squirrel).
    As far as growing…best stock up on those magic pellets…this ain’t going to be like in that movie Martian growing them in your own poop sht.
    Boy, folks like to live in a Fantasyland.

  8. makati1 on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 6:59 am 

    Midnight, you see reality. The first hard winter will see the end of all edible ‘wild’ animals, fish, birds, etc. Hunting will be useless as there will be nothing to hunt except starving humans. 320,000,000 Americans require 640 billion plus calories per day.

    That boils down to about one million TONS of potatoes DAILY. (no pun intended.) Or 500,000 TONs of beef DAILY. or … Well you can see how long anything would last when the system breaks down. Not long.

    A country with less than 5% farmers (mostly ready to retire) and a system that relies almost exclusively on corporate farming, chemicals and energy, should be careful who they point their finger at. lol

  9. Midnight Oil on Tue, 24th Jan 2017 8:09 pm 

    Makiti…we shall see all that there free eats you talk about rot and putrefy before it gets on your delicate lips….

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