[FoRK] Mandatory Public Service for Tweenager Real Life Exposure

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Jun 28 03:57:34 PDT 2008

One key thing that I think feeds into the "mandatory public service" is 
the need to adjust the adolescent / high school period in some strong 
way.  As we've discussed in the past, there is a huge need to get kids 
away from the critical-mass of too many other teenagers, too few adults, 
and all of those adults being either parents or educators.  If kids had 
to take a year for mandatory public service or equivalent internship, 
which could be at 14-16 or it could be just after graduating HS, this 
would go a long way to provide much needed understanding of the real 
world and motivation to pursue advanced education.  This service might 
be run with the strictness of the military, but with jobs being strictly 
non-combat and pointedly with a low percentage of other teenagers.  At 
the very least would be pairing with a mentor.  Better would be being a 
junior member of a team accomplishing something.

This might only be optional for those at the very top of their class who 
strongly want to skip it.  Perhaps they might have an option to avoid it 
altogether or perhaps they just have a choice for something more 
advanced but similar later.  In any case, for all classes, they start 
out at some matched starting point and have to graduate out, which might 
happen quickly to allow for new bootcampers.  A nice side effect is that 
everyone would get a little time in a variety of jobs.

This could also be an option for people who are unemployed, on 
probation, or other less-than-fully-employed situations.  They could 
either be "students" or in some cases "mentors" / team members.  The 
work could range from purely public service to actually working for 
companies or government agencies or public schools.

Peace Corp, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, and many others could 

A key part of this might be living and working away from home for an 
extended period.  I've recently understood a bit more about how certain 
cultures, Australia and New Zealand in particular, have a common 
practice of sending kids abroad, to ski / mountain bike or other tourist 
areas for instance, to work a year (or longer sometimes if they're 
having fun) between high school and college.  Does anyone have details 
on this kind of things for various cultures?  I know about rumspringa 
and of course there are many who travel to become au pairs.


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