One of both the most liberating and constricting components of designing curriculum is the process of trying to decide what is actually worth writing about and discussing with our youth. On one hand, the beauty of words is that they are used to describe literally everything. Every feeling, every shape, every color, every taste, all ultimately must pass through a filter of language before we can adequately describe, or even fully comprehend, our experiences with them. This, in turn, means that we at Podium could, in theory, discuss virtually anything with our youth, as long as the endgame of the discussion surrounds the ways choose to express our perceptions to various audiences. Imagine you recently visited a hospital; depending on to whom you are speaking about that experience, there will be different focal points of your anecdote. You will use different descriptions with various connotations that are dependent on the relationships you maintain with your audience. Because there are essentially no limitations on the range of human imagination, there is almost nothing (obviously within appropriate reason) toward which we couldn’t direct the attention of our youth and have them contemplate.
The downside of this liberty, however, is not only the intimidation of approaching a boundless vision of subject matter but also how to make some of these topics seem valuable to youth. We all remember being in high school. Some of us may even vividly remember middle school. It is an extraordinarily stressful time in which we learning to develop our own philosophies, relationships, and holds over responsibilities. And while there is undeniably an invaluable skill in being able to consider the many, many perspectives from which we may choose to comment on an experience, the diversity of interest shared by Podium youth is so broad it can sometimes be challenging to approach discussion of these concepts in a way that is within grasp and of interest to such a diverse audience.
I don’t especially have any tips or tricks on how to cope with these challenges, rather I hope to offer that, for those in any related field who may encounter this blog, there is solace to be found in that developing youth programs is a daunting task, particularly when greater organizations depend on the success of those programs.