How to Celebrate World Youth Skills Day 2019

Five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring July 15th as World Youth Skills Day. The following statement from the UN sums up the need for this international day of recognition:

“Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike.” (UN)

That’s right, even Canadian youth are faced with a challenging future if we don’t do all we can to provide them with tools and foster talents necessary to success and a sustainable future. In order for them to become happy, healthy and contributing members to a blossoming society we must plant a seed that gets them excited about learning valuable skills. This can be accomplished in a fun and engaging way, and the summer season is the perfect time to get started. Let’s take a look at inspirational ways to make it happen.

5 Ways to Recognize World Youth Skills Day with Your Kids While Fostering Their Talents in the Process

1. Volunteer Together at a Community Garden or Urban Farm

This is a persistent theme of the Foundation and for good reason. What better way to ensure a sustainable future than to arm our youth with skills necessary to grow nutritious food? Even if they don’t have a green thumb, there are many valuable skills that they can learn from getting involved at a local garden or farming project. Beyond horticultural, knowledge concepts involved include environmental, economic, health and wellness, social and much more.

2. Help Them Start a Beginner Business

Every young person will benefit from learning entrepreneurial skills. Even if they don’t run their own business one day, they can take what they have learned and apply it to their studies and future vocation. As addressed in our recent article about summer vacation learning activities, something as simple as a lemonade stand or hosting a yard/garage sale is a perfect way to get started in business at an early age. Other “beginner business for youth” ideas may include:

  • Selling their/your artisan works at a local craft fair
  • Helping to sell community garden/farm crops at a local farmers market
  • Baking goodies for sale at local bake sales and markets
  • Dog sitting
  • Baby sitting (11 yrs+ certifications in Canada here)
  • Tutoring
  • Paper route (it’s still a thing!)

3. Help Them Become a Fundraiser

Entrepreneurial talents can also be fostered in the non-profit environment. Pick a cause that your child is passionate about and employ the above business concepts to generate proceeds for a local charity, foundation, shelter, and the like. If your kids are not interested in the business concept but want to focus solely on fundraising, you can look to local charities, foundations, shelters and so forth to see if youth volunteer opportunities for raising funds (i.e. a car wash, etc.) are available. 

4. Volunteer Together to Help Wildlife

Most kids will be very excited about the opportunity to help out wildlife. Doing so teaches them about compassion, teamwork, health and nutrition, and provides them with organizational skills and more. Somewhere near you there is an aquarium, zoo, farm, pollinator garden, or animal hospital/shelter with youth or family volunteer programs. Do some homework together with your child and see what’s available in your community. If none are available at this time of the year, you can be proactive and organize your own related activities, such as a beach cleanup to help keep marine life safe.

5. Self-Publish a Book

Does your child have a knack for drawing, writing short stories, or both? Then why not help them self-publish their very own book!? Creating a self-published book fosters your child’s creative talents, but also teaches them about sentence structure, grammar, and writing in general. Throughout the process they will also learn administrative and organizational skills. They may even be able to sell copies of their self-published book at a local market. If the work turns out even better than expected they (with your help) may try shopping the book out to local and national publishers, which will teach them about professional correspondence and how to accept and apply feedback, if/when received. You’d be surprised to find how may professional editors will take the time to write back to a child or teen who has expressed such passionate interest in the field of writing/publishing.

Does this sound like a great yet daunting idea? Fret not, because your child probably has more talents on the family iPad or tablet than you do. With the help of popular self-publishing apps they can craft their amazing masterpiece with relative ease. From there, search for local bookbinding resource (i.e. STAPLES) or use an online self-publisher that will print and bind the book at a reasonable price.

In the end, even if the publication goes nowhere beyond the household bookshelf it will be something that you and your child look upon with extreme pride – and that is the most priceless “skill” of all.

For more on the work of the Foundation, please visit our Funded Programs page. There are many ways you can get involved with the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation – you can visit our Get Involved page, Help Fundraise, or Donate Now.