some time ago, i started to read and learn about the phenomena of extended adolescence. the short story is that adolescence, in the united states, is now considered to be close to 20 years in duration, from about 11 on the young end, all the way to about 30 (on average) on the upper end. of course, with the loss of high school graduation and the marker of turning 18 as fairly accepted ending points, the ‘normal distribution’ is very wide — there are young adults who are fully functioning as adults in their early 20s, and others who stay in adolescence into their 30s.
the inertia on this thing is around commodifying this ‘new developmental life stage’ — the upper end commonly referred to as ’emerging adulthood.’ culture at large, as well as businesses and churches, are quickly buying into this as the new normal. some are even saying it’s good.
but there are a few voices (in the minority) who are saying, “what a minute; maybe this isn’t good, and maybe it doesn’t have to be this way.”
i started to dream about an event where we could explore this tension, particularly around it’s implications for youth ministry and the church. i talked about it with my partner in the youth cartel, adam mclane, and he had a bunch of energy around it also.
we put together an A-list of who were would love to have — long shots, really. and we thought about how great it would be to offer it in atlanta the day after the YS national youth workers convention (monday, november 21). with the blessing of YS, i went after our long-shot A-list: Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, the author and academic who coined the term ’emerging adult’; Dr. Robert Epstein, author of Teen 2.0 and a leading dissenting voice; and Dr. Kara Powell, a brilliant youth ministry academic who we felt would rock it as a moderator (and youth ministry interpreter). somewhat to our surprise, they all said they would love to be a part of it!
so the EXTENDED ADOLESCENCE SYMPOSIUM was born… kind of.
the plan is for a one-day event, rich with presentations, dialogue, and moderated debate.
but we still had a significant problem: how to fund the thing. we’ve enjoyed seeing how kickstarter has become a very cool platform for people trying to fund creative ventures. steve taylor’s film adaptation of don miller’s book blue like jazz was, for a period of time, the highest funded project on kickstarter, after the film lost its funding and fans came to the rescue.
we’re not blue like jazz, or don miller, or steve taylor. but then, we don’t need to raise a quarter million dollars either. we only need to raise $6000.
we’re hoping you’ll help us. there are a cool variety of sponsoring levels, each with their own benefit to the donor. you can get an mp3 of the event, an abridged ebook of some highlights, a reduced price ticket, lunch with one of the speakers, a nice steak dinner with me and adam (!), or even become an official sponsor of the event.
but we only have a few weeks to nail down the funding, as the speakers have all graciously agreed to wait until then to see if we can pull it together. so september 17 is our deadline.
click through to our kickstarter page to learn more about the event and the various donation levels. spread the news — please — via your own networks (email, facebook, twitter, G+, etc).
we really think this thing could be significant in helping us all wrestle with this juggernaut of extended adolescence, and its implications for us in the church who care about teenagers and young adults.
will you help us? better yet, will you join us?