‘Kids these days’

Published 10:25 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

Most adults older than 28 or so can recall the first time they started a sentence something like this: “Kids these days….” Whatever words might have been used to end that sentence, the meaning of it was much the same. “I can’t believe how much things have changed since I was young, and I’m worried about the future of society and, perhaps, a little bit intimidated by the trends I no longer follow.”

Maybe it’s a sign of maturity — as opposed to, say, cantankerousness — that most folks eventually find ways to get set in, social mores they won’t violate, lines they won’t cross. The fact that most of us find it hard to accept a younger generation that refuses to recognize those lines, those mores and those ways probably has nearly as much to do with the “adults’” choices as it has to do with the choices made by the younger generation.

There’s a chance coming for Suffolk’s elder generation to put the conflict away for a bit and recognize that the city actually has some fine young people preparing themselves to take leadership roles. In conjunction with the Suffolk Office on Youth, the Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation’s advisory commission is calling for nominations for the 2012 Suffolk Youth Achievement Awards.

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According to a city press release, the awards honor youth who have significantly influenced the lives of local residents and, in the process, have inspired others to make a difference. They will recognize young people in seven different categories: outstanding community service, outstanding youth leadership, outstanding performing arts, outstanding athletic achievement (high school only), outstanding athletic participation (middle school only), the Rising Star award and outstanding group citizenship.

Surely there are youth in Suffolk who give maturing adults reason to shake their heads and mutter, “Kids these days….” But the more important young people to notice are the ones who cause us to shake our heads and say, “Wow.” Those are the ones these awards were designed to honor and recognize.

If you know one of those youth, visit www.suffolkva.us/siy.html for a nomination package. Or for more information, call 514-4503 or 514-7250. The deadline is May 14, and the program will be held June 5 at the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn on East Constance Road.