We of a certain generation often look at the news or read about the dismal state of American youth and wonder where in the world is our country headed? Will today’s youth ever be prepared to take up the reigns and lead the country?
Then we immediately feel guilty. Didn’t we hear the same things said about us? America was doomed. It would never produce sufficient leaders from the array of unruly haired, free-spirited, rock n roll loving youth. And we were naive enough to believe we could bring about real change with a petition, a march, a protest, a concert. All you need is love — well, turns out, not quite true.
Last night, I attended an event at Space 301 in downtown Mobile that gave me hope for the future.
20/20 Vision was directed by Randy Kennedy of AL.com to recognize excellence in leadership in our city. (Full disclosure, I am related to Mr. Kennedy by marriage.) The group was chosen from solicited nominees from around the community and included a variety of talented twenty-somethings. From making films to opening businesses to running non-profit agencies to creating music festivals for show-casing local talent, each had in his/her own right become successful leaders in the Mobile community, and each had given back in meaningful ways to that community.
They were a fun,energetic bunch who were as excited to learn about their fellow recipients as they were to talk about their own endeavors. This, I think, is the secret to their success. They are passionate! Passionate about what they are doing in their lives, and about what others are doing. Time and again, I heard plans being made to get together to collaborate on a project or to help out with an upcoming event.
These young leaders are tirelessly and fearlessly changing the face of Mobile for the better. They are tackling social issues — feeding the hungry, advancing the arts, creating programs for a greener city — not just talking about problems, but becoming solutions to problems.
I was in awe of their talent and passion. It left me believing if the energy and passion represented by these twenty young people could be so inspiring, surely there is hope for the future.
Would that we all would catch their fervor and passion for life.
So I’ve made a vow. The next time the conversation goes to how bad the city is or how sad it is that something is or is not happening or how things never change, I’m going to pull up this picture of the first group of 20/20 Vision recipients and watch the video and get off my rear-end and help solve that problem.
I hope you will join me.
But be forewarned: That pounding in your ears isn’t your blood pressure rising, it’s the rush you get when you become inspired by these creative visionaries.