If you ask a Millennial what they want to do this summer, most teens and young adults really want to see summer as a time to play the most video games, go to sleep just before the sun is up and possible smoke their brains out.
Can you blame them?
How do we inspire young adults to make wise choices for the summer?
I have always found that when given proper motivation and a true understanding of the benefits, most young people will choose the best things to help themselves grow. “Because I said so” rarely works and never helps in a long-lasting way.
What if it is too late to find a job?
The two places to look are jobs and volunteering in an area that interests them.
If you focus is that summer can become a time that could change your child’s future job prospects in an ever-changing world versus keeping them busy to not get into trouble, you have started on a good path.
Our new summer goal: Widen your child’s horizon.
The more a young adult in today’s world widens their horizons, the richer their lives become and the greater their potential for a good living becoms. Summer is the perfect opportunity for this through the experience of volunteering. Lots of young adults bristled when I use the word “volunteer” seeing it as merely “working for nothing” (i.e. where’s the money?!?!).
Here is a different way to view volunteer work: Try and get a job without experience or training at the zoo and you will probably end up scraping bird-poop off the glass enclosures. Volunteer at the zoo and you may have a chance to be up close and personal with the animals. Learning things few people get a chance to learn.
This is where one of my most favorite books comes into play: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I still read this book once a year and have found it
training Millenials to use the Carnegie principals immensely useful in getting my clients through many a closed doors and getting them the volunteer positions they wanted. Read this book!
Picking the proper area to volunteer in is a fairly easy exercise once you know how.
As Joseph Campbell said: “Follow your bliss”.
First choice should be something you know tons about just because you love it; animals, reptiles, stamp collecting, rock climbing, motorcycle repair, gardening … whatever you love; if you know all about it, take advantage of that knowledge to volunteer with people who do it for a living and see your passion through a professional’s eyes.
Second choice could be something you were always curious about. If you have great people skills or sales skills or are good with your hands, there are all sorts of organizations that can use those skills over the summer in a volunteer position.
Saving the best for last: Work with a local community political cause. We got Brexit and Trump because Millennials were not engaged and felt un-empowered. You are not. You are the future. Consider volunteering also at a pet shelter, a homeless shelter, a food shelter, a summer camp for at-risk youth or one of the many organizations that help third world countries. Your life will never be the same.
Volunteering: Widening your circle of knowledge and people; learning how different people who are passionate about their lives work and making a difference in the world: These “summer experiences” are the beginning of becoming a renaissance person in the 21st century and there is no price that can be put on that.