By US Daily Review Staff.
A new survey of 10,000 teens shows youth understand the responsibility of voting, believe school is vital to achieving career goals, and have a strong desire to be leaders in their communities. The survey, Teens Speak Up: A National Youth Survey on Civic Engagement and Citizenship, was conducted by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), in partnership with the Case Foundation and Nickelodeon, in an effort to better understand what teens think about issues ranging from character and civic engagement to the value of an education.
The survey builds on BGCA’s long history of character development and citizenship efforts, and is the kick-off to the century-old organization’s new core program, Be Engaged. Be Engaged is designed to help young people develop good character and inspire them to make a difference, while ensuring Club members are active in their communities; recognize the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; and demonstrate concern for others.
The partners will use the survey to ensure youth voice is part of the conversation and to start an ongoing dialogue among those who are involved with engaging America’s youth. The survey findings will be particularly relevant in a U.S. presidential election year, where issues that greatly affect youth, such as job creation, education and civic involvement will dominate local and national discussion. The final report released today includes action steps for parents and caregivers, educators and school administrators, community and business leaders, youth development professionals, youth mentors and teens.
- 80% of teens polled agree that U.S. citizens have a responsibility to vote. They also agree that every vote in an election can make a difference.
- 85% of teens agree that school is important and will help them get a good job and 83% agree that going to college is necessary to achieve career goals.
- Nearly all teens polled believe it is important to make a contribution (58.5%), to serve as leaders in their community as teenagers (57.3%), and to address social and community issues (59.8%).
- 40% would begin their community contributions at school, and more than 31.5% would begin within their own family.
Using the Survey to Encourage Action
“Our goal is to continue to engage teens, civic leaders, community members and Boys & Girls Club staff in important conversations about these issues to ensure that subsequent generations of America’s youth grow to demonstrate greater levels of civic engagement and good character in their communities,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO, Boys & Girls of America.
At BGCA, civic engagement and character building is an essential element in helping youth become responsible, caring, productive citizens. Teaching critical life skills to all members is a cornerstone of BGCA’s mission. Leadership and service groups, such as Keystone Clubs and Torch Clubs, as well as signature recognition programs including Youth of the Year, are just some examples of BGCA’s long-time commitment to serving communities and instilling positive values among America’s youth.
“At the Case Foundation, we believe that citizen-centered approaches to civic engagement, where citizens form solutions and take action together, lead to active, engaged and healthy communities,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “We know from experience that Boys & Girls Clubs of America transforms communities by putting youth first, and we are excited to partner with them to ensure that youth are taking action in their communities today.”
“At Nickelodeon we feel it is our corporate responsibility to provide our audience with information through The Big Help and Kids Pick the President initiatives to empower them to take the lead in making positive changes in their communities,” said Anthony DiCosmo, Vice President, Public Affairs, Nickelodeon Group. “To that end we also connect kids to organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that provide opportunities for young people to take part in extracurricular opportunities, volunteer and become civically engaged.”
Survey Conducted By Teens, With Teens, About Teens
- The partners developed and commissioned the survey, which was conducted in the summer of 2011. Young people ages 13 to 18 participated.
- The survey was created for and – more significantly – conducted by teens in more than 200 communities.
- Boys & Girls Club teen leaders served as ambassadors for the Teens Speak Up national survey by polling teens in their neighborhoods, shopping malls, and schools.
- The survey process not only challenged Club teens to conduct a major survey in their own communities, it also provided them with the opportunity to give a voice to young people across the country, encouraging peers to take an active, civic role in understanding and addressing community needs.
Interested parties can read the survey in its entirety and find more information on conversations and events near them at www.bgca.org/newsevents/TheScoop/Pages/Teen-Survey.asp.