Defining ‘youth’

imagesOn the surface, defining the term youth appears to be a very straight straightforward endeavor.

A ‘youth’ is a young person, right?

A while back, I had the opportunity to attend a Critical Youth Work course, a professional development certificate offered to Ontario youth workers with the space to engage in critical dialogue and learn about the political, social and economic realities that characterize youth work.

When the topic of defining youth and what age group youth constituted came up, there were varying opinions and some uncertainty amongst the participants. In a room full of about twenty youth workers, we could not come up with, or agree on, a concise definition of ‘youth.’

A term that often appears to be straightforward, and a label we frequently use carelessly, left us puzzled when it was presented to us through a critical lens. Continue reading “Defining ‘youth’”