Young Peoples Place in Society: an answer to the question I’ve been asked most during ICS.

Youth Power-Steve Woodgate
Children from Ndapo and surrounding area, standing up for environmental protection on World Volunteering day at the end of 2015.


For the last couple of months I’ve received many emails reminding me that I needed to fill in my ICS Action at Home report. Yesterday I gave a speech about my time volunteering in Tanzania, and although I’m still working on a lot of the projects I’ve branded as Action at Home, with five days to go I thought I’d get round to filling it out.

As I got to the end of the report I came across a question, that I’m fairly sure I’ve been asked at every stage of the ICS process:

Q: ‘Young people are sometimes accused of not contributing to society. Following your ICS experience, how would you respond to this statement?’

Having answered the question at least three times already I can only assume that the purpose of the question is to monitor the progression of ICS volunteers views on the matter.

I’m currently chewing through some of the writings of Gerrard Winstanley, a member of ‘the diggers’, who in 1649 took to St.Georges Hill in Sussex, to work common and waste land for the good of their community;

‘For Freedom is the man that will turn the world upside downe, therefore no wonder he hath enemies’- Gerrard Winstanley, August 26.1649.

Written in beautifully archaic language, with talk of  Iustice, Murther and a lot about what one should doe, I’ve been enjoying it as a voyage into proto-British-Anarcho-Communism, although I think I might have picked the written style a little to well in my final ICS version of this answer.


Our society is, for the most part, not interested in youth for anything other than profits supplied by cheap labour and socially pressurized markets, that capitalise of the fears of being an outsider.

The short of it is that we do not trust our young people to contribute to our society. When they speak or act out we accuse them of not knowing the full extent of situation, or taking up means that threaten an established system, with what are deemed unorthodox actions.

If we really want young people to contribute to our society we have to approach them with meaningful gestures. I have, and will always support lowering the franchise age. It is really appalling that after 18 years of education young people are so disengaged and uneducated in our most fundamental value that they can not engage with the system.

It is the responsibility of our society to push past the current stagnation with in the national curriculum, to educate our young people with the skills to contribute to society in a meaningful way, other than creating wealth to consume and pay taxes. Until we create a transparent system that gives opportunities all alike then young people will forever be accused of shirking from society.


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