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Everyone wants to know how to best reach our youth…

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | November 15, 2016
The old model of working with youth was based on segmentation.  A more established group of individuals would tell younger folks what to do, and as they earned their stripes, they worked themselves into the established group.  Older folks would give directions and younger people would take them.  The thought was that youth had little to teach, but a lot of energy to give.
We know that the current state of learning and knowledge production is moving so fast that we are doubling all information ever learned on planet earth in under a year.  Youth are intersecting with this newly obtained knowledge in ways we never thought of, so it’s important that they become equal partners in discussion about how to improve our community.
The Business Enhancement Team has a long history of inclusion for Future Business Leaders of America students from Emporia High School as valued committee members.  In a recent meeting, committee members talked about how to best reach high school students through various media conduits.  The students went back to class after the meeting and decided to put together a survey of their peers.  Over seven hundred students responded to the survey.
Modern marketing messages rely on repetition across multiple media platforms.  Social media, when coupled with print, radio, direct mail and experience based marketing mechanisms can resonate with youth.  By adjusting marketing channels and concentrating on content, we can more effectively reach younger members of our community.
We understand that incorporating something like “Snapchat” into your marketing platform may be difficult for those unfamiliar with the social media application.  That’s why we are working with local high school students to create a seminar on how to reach out to students for local businesses, complete with some individualized training on newer media platforms.  Look for the seminar in the first quarter of 2017.
Sometimes we can overthink how to approach problems.  A bunch of people that are 50+ years of age can sit around a room for hours and guess how to better reach out to our youth, or we can just ask them…  Let’s be willing to make some changes in order to communicate with an important part of our community, and let’s congratulate students that show initiative (like our local FBLA students) to communicate with local businesses.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.