When I tell people what I do for a living, many of them reply with something like "Wow, teens. That must be really hard!" Others say something like "How can you work with teens? They're so disrespectful/loud/obnoxious/fill in your preferred derogatory term here."
I wish those people could have been at my library today. We closed the library for the day to have a 7-hour program dedicated only to serving teens. We had workshops on interesting topics such as film making, college preparation, jewelry making, and others, as well as a career festival, a presentation by a YA author, raffle prizes, and a band performance. We had students from 9 different high schools (half of the districts in our County). The reviews from the participants have been great; the students had a chance to experience something they probably wouldn't have gotten to do without their library.
Even more important than the good feelings from participants, this program was a showcase of the dedication and leadership of our Teen Advisory Board. TAB members planned this entire event. The planning process started over 6 months ago. Members of TAB created the budget, planned the workshop, contacted performers, dealt with all of the pre-event publicity, talked to schools to get their students to come, and took care of all of the myriad issues that need to be handled to pull off a major event.
Last night, TAB members came in after the library closed to help set up for the event (we had workshops in every meeting room and several public spaces). Today, they served as hosts and emcees, helped out in the workshops, served as guides to their fellow students, and generally made the event run. Everyone on TAB did a truly remarkable and amazing job. I was truly awe-inspired by the leadership ability and dedication showed by the members of our TAB.
I'll be back with the snark later. Right now, I just want to think about how amazing all of the teens I know are, and how thrilled and grateful I am to have the opportunity to help guide them to things like today.