“The Youth of Today” a phrase used in a normally exasperated tone. I think it should be in one of wonder.

I am on the train on the way back from a meeting with a group of amazing young people, dedicated to improving not only their lives but also the lives of all other young people. I met with Youth Parliamentarians and Youth Workers to put together a presentation for one of 3, Home Nations youth conferences. Collectively we have came up with nine key areas that need to be addressed and will work on them in the coming weeks on the lead up to the first of our conferences in Dublin.

This is not a niche group of young people though. The reason we are able to come up with these areas is because we interact every day with a plethora of interesting young people involved in hundreds, if not thousands, of projects. Young people working on cures for diseases, assisting the elderly, drafting legislation, working as fundraisers, supporting young people and the list goes on. Young people can be seen to volunteer far more than any other generation. They want to make a positive change to the world they are in.

People criticise young people because the stereotypical image of them is drunk and at parties… I’m not going to lie to you and say that doesn’t happen, but a lot of those same people spend their other free time working their butts off in valuable roles. Not just charity work but in enterprise, journalism and politics. All that and studying, whether in secondary or higher education.

You can see now then why I think it hugely insulting when 16 year olds are said to be not responsible enough for the vote when they are the ones out there on the ground, admitting the real issues in society and doing their best to remedy them. They are not caught up in the petty bureaucracy and bigoted motives of the aged generations.

Maybe the next time you want to look down upon a pair of drunken youths as irresponsible and wasting their lives you will think of this article and remember that despite the fact that young people have fun they also do a great deal of valuable work that should not be overlooked.