The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Life of Youth in Britain

Category: Land + People

Young people from all walks of life are united according to their interests by the established youth organizations in Britain. These organizations develop because of the contribution of both full-time and part-time youth workers and a great number of volunteers.

Outdoor pursuits involve anything from pony trekking to rock-climbing or canoeing and help young people go out from the confines of their home or their environment. Such pursuits nourish a spirit of self-reliance and help realize the importance of team-work under a good leadership. All the major youth organizations hold outdoor pursuits either by organizing special residential courses or by sending their members to take part in established courses or seminars in other cities and countries.

Local authorities and a number of multipurpose youth organizations provide the place for such activities as canoeing, sailing, rock-climbing, map reading, orienteering and cooking for survival; all of them encourage initiative and self-discipline.

Among providers of outdoor places are the Sports Council, the Outward-Bound Trust, the Ocean Youth Club, the Sail Training Association, and the Nautical Training Corps.

The Outward-Bound Trust is the longest established and most experienced organization in Britain based on outdoor pursuits, personal development, and training. It has five centres in the English Lake District, Wales, and Scotland. It operates in 38 other countries of the world. It has centres in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. This organization is based on two simple principles: firstly, that everyone is capable of achieving more than he might imagine, and, secondly, that too few people have a real appreciation of what can be achieved by team-work and mutual support.

Young people participate in ‘expedition courses’ lasting 8, 12, or 20 days and involving adventurous journeys by land or sea. There are also ‘specialist courses’ for young people aged 17 and over to become involved in work with such groups as the homeless, the elderly, and the disabled.
For many young people, life is harder now, jobs are difficult to find. Things are more expensive, and it’s hard to find a place to live. Teachers say that students work harder than they used to. They are less interested in politics, and more interested in passing exams. They know that good exam results may get them better jobs.

Most young people worry more about money than their parents did twenty years ago. They try to spend less and save more. They want to be able to get homes of their own one day.

For some, the answer to unemployment is to leave home and look for work in one of Britain’s big cities. Every day hundreds of young people arrive in London from other parts of Britain, looking for jobs. Some find work, and stay.

Others don’t find it, and go home again, or join the many unemployed in London. There used to be one kind of teenage fashion, one style, one top pop group. Then, the girls all wore mini-skirts and everyone danced to the music of “The Beatles” and “The Rolling Stones”. But now an eighteen-year-old might be a punk, with green hair and chains round his legs, or a skin head, with short hair and right wing politics. There’s a lot of different music around too. There’s reggae, the West Indian sound, there’s rock, there’s heavy metal, country and western, and disco. All these kinds of music are played by different groups and listened to by different fans.

When you read the newspapers and watch the news on television, its easy to get the idea that British young people are all unemployed, angry and in trouble. But that’s not true. Three quarters of them do more or less what their parents did. They do their best at school, find some kind of work in the end, and get married in their early twenties. They get on well with their parents, and enjoy family life. They eat fish and chips, watch football on TV, go to the pub, and like reading about pop stars. After all, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be British, would they?

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