When we are still unfinished . . .

Last night Milt and I were talking about why we love the youth radio project so much.  Last summer, it did not exist.  Now, just 8 months later, The North Country Youth Radio Connection team is going on the air for the first time on February 16.  After stumbling forward, finding our way, hosting producer’s camps, we finally have a team, a show, a debut program.

We both agreed that there are youthful parts of us still stuck in the sixties and seventies who badly wanted a voice and the ability to know how to use it.  Milt and I have often talked of our youth—how we both felt a bit like strangers in a strange land.  Back then the urge to speak and create and feel like we had something to say mattered so much.  I know that we are completing a part of our own development by working with these kids to bring their talents and creativity and concerns to our communities.  Wow.

It is not always a bad thing to complete your own development through others.  In fact, we do it all the time but just may not be conscious about it.  I remember wanting so badly to help my daughter overcome her shyness—because of my own shyness.  I remember wanting my son to learn to speak up for himself when it was needed—because of my own inability to speak up.  In fact, I remember wanting to help my older daughter to pull back some of her leadership (ie. bossy) energy because some part of me was afraid of that kind of energy.

We all have under developed parts of ourselves and we choose our relationships, guide our children, and even pick careers often based not on our strengths but on what is yet unfinished in us.  I rather like that.

Back to Youth Radio.

We had a producer’s camp last Saturday.  We told the kids to bring their instruments because many of them have musical talents.  At one point during the day we stuck the musicians in the music library at the KBXE station and told them to come up with some nice musical stuff that we could use for transitions and sound beds.  We left them alone to play.

Later I went back in to listen to what they were doing.  I sat on the floor because the chairs were taken (it is a very small room).  There were two students on their guitars and a girl on her cello.  In less than half an hour they were not just playing together but composing the music bed to go under our Poetry Out Loud feature.  It brought tears to my eyes to hear the beautiful tones coming from their young hands.  Later, we had students editing, practicing their on-air skills, writing script . . . none of them had done any of this before and yet they stepped right up to take it on.

By the time we got home that night, Milt and I were so excited—high really.  Here we are doing something on a completely volunteer basis, no dollars coming in, students coming from towns here and about, and we are completely in love with the project.

We are also coming into clear view of current reality and what it will really take to produce a regular weekly—or even monthly—show. Last night we had an editing learning session with several of the team and they worked for 2 hours nonstop on editing. It takes a lot to put this all together!

But who cares—we just want to do it, and eventually these young people will become the “senior” editors and hosts and scriptwriters who are showing other kids how to produce a regular show.

I don’t know.  I just wanted to take a minute to celebrate this project, those kids, all kids and the unquenchable thirst for learning that they have. Maybe I’m also celebrating that young person in me who still has some things to get off her chest.

I’m going to attempt to post an audio clip of one of the poems Maddie, one of our team, recited during the Poetry Out Loud Competition at Trek North in Bemidji.  The Poem is a Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes.  It says it better than I can.


As always, subscribe below and share.  Also, go and “like” the project North Country Youth Radio on FB.  And be sure to check out my book on human development, The Lonely Place–Revisioning Adolescence and the Rite of Passage on my books page here.  I put my heart into this book.


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