“Get in the game!” That was the message for young Americans that was communicated during the fifth broadcast of “Facing the Future.”
The latest program featured interviews with three young professionals and Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. The conversations focused on how different generations engage in the nation's fiscal policy issues and push for reform.
Rachel Roberge, a social studies and economics teacher at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., shared how her students (mostly seniors) benefit from participating in Concord’s federal budget exercise, “Principles & Priorities.”
“This is a really nice time for them to do an activity like Principles & Priorities because they are getting a sense of their voice,” Roberge said.
“Anytime you ask students to take on a role, to experience something first-hand, to have to debate with each other about different options and listen to each other’s value systems, they are going to get a lot more benefit out of that than if they are just listening to someone speak at them in a classroom,” she said.
Roberge added that the exercise requires students to use skills that will be needed for the next stage of their lives, whether that is attending college or starting a career.
Bixby, who once served as Concord’s field director and spent a great deal of time engaging citizens in grassroots initiatives, said the budget exercise helps make abstract issues both local and personal.
“People get to make their own choices,” he said. “They are able to get their hands dirty with the federal budget, and bring their own views and values to the table to say what trade-offs they want to make.”
Bixby stressed the importance of all generations making their voices heard, especially those that are younger.
“I think this is kind of a new issue for (Millennials),” he said. “And there's a little bit more of a ‘shock and awe’ issue when they go through the budget exercise and realize, 'Hey, this is a problem and it seems to be heading right at us.’ ”
To Millennials, Bixby said, “Get in the game; this is a problem facing your generation and you have to have a voice in the decisions.”
Some Millennials had a chance to take Bixby up on his advice at a recent budget exercise event with the Concord Young Professionals Network, and a couple of the attendees offered their feedback during the radio show.
I host “Facing the Future” each week on WKXL Concord News Radio (N.H.), which is also available via podcast. We encourage you to subscribe via iTunes and RSS.
Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here.