Teenagers get a lot of heat, whether it be speculation about their sexting escapades or some other veiled jealous crack about their technological prowess. But hang out at Warehouse 21 a few times and realize the kids aren't so bad. Perhaps it's just Santa Fe, but today's youth actually seems quite well-adjusted.
I stopped by the tail end (a dance party!) of the March 27 All Colors Youth Summit—a day of lectures/workshops for students around northern New Mexico who are part of the Gay-Straight Alliance—to check on some friends/chaperons who work for one of the event's sponsors, the Santa Fe Mountain Center.
The kids were dancing, opinionated, confident and sociable (no wallflowers, just kids making out by the walls). After all, they had just finished such progressive workshops as "Gender Identity Discussion," "Art and Social Change," and "Protect Yourself! What you need to know about STIs and HIV." This year's was the most highly attended summit yet.
I'm not too much older than these kids, but I'm certain such dialogue never even occurred at my community center, let alone was sponsored by it. In fact, much of what made these kids great—vocalization of queer/ally status, progressive stances on gender, phenomenal dancing and clothes—would have probably gotten me banned or at least gotten my parents a call from the old Jamesport Community Center.
But Warehouse 21 is a venue that at least ostensibly fosters openness and creativity ("Please do not write on the mirrors. Use the walls" !!!). So these kids seem to be doing OK, if not better than generations prior. They are engaging in important social dialogues as they're shaping their world views, meaning: I don't think I have to worry that this generation will spend all my social security, at least not without asking.