Ten years ago when I was the teen director at a local Boys & Girls Club I had an experience that altered the way I view and engage with teens. One day I greeted a 14 year-old boy name Julio as he was arriving to the program after school. As he approached, with excitement on his face, he asked me, “Dave did you see that game last night?” I looked at him puzzled and responded, “What game?” With utter disgust, he put his hand on his face, shook his head and walked right by me to the next staff member and repeated the same question. That staff member immediately responded with excitement as he knew which game Julio was referring to. Before long there were 10-15 teen boys gathered around them talking passionately about the game.
In that moment I realized I missed an opportunity to connect with and strengthen a relationship with Julio because I was not familiar with something he, and apparently other teens, were interested in. On that day I vowed to do a better job understanding what was going on in the world of teens in order to better connect with and serve them.
I am an advocate of teens and created this blog to help parents/youth workers/educators gain an understanding of who teens are today in order to build relationships geared toward helping them successfully navigate this great stage of life called adolescents.
A little bit about me: I am a Husband and father of three amazing kids living in west Michigan. I have been working with youth and teens my whole life, spending several years as an adventure guide for at-risk youth and the last 12 years working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in various capacities serving and developing programs and opportunities for teens. I volunteer with my church’s high school youth group, enjoy reading, the outdoors, exercising and recently took up triathlons and have a goal of completing a 70.3 Ironman in the summer of 2015.
Here is a sample of what I write about: my top 6 most viewed posts of all time:
- Are Teens Leaving Facebook?
- Semicolon Project 416
- Straight From Teens: What’s Popular
- Positive Teen Trends in 2014
- Teens, Fitting Rooms and Social Media
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