Message From Ryll Burgin, Founder stepUP Foundation
3rd May 2007
Shifting the Future of Humanity in a Single Generation.How? Consider two key aspects …
A teen, even a Coach, a business person like you who invests to be at stepUP, has a "probable future", the way the future is likely to go. For some of our teens that probable future is not very bright, in fact for many it comes with danger, risks, low income, loss and struggle. At stepUP we have them see there is also a "possible future" out there. One where they can create a life they love no matter the hand they've been dealt so far and we give them the tools to get started. (98% of our teens report they are more encouraged, excited and inspired about their own lives after attending stepUP.)Right there …
In that moment, when a teen actually chooses becoming the author of what's possible for their life – we've shifted the future for them, their families, friends, communities, society – in fact, for all of us.
Next, a key aspect of stepUP is bringing disparate groups of people together. Rich teens and poor teens, East and West, black and white, every religion and creed, even old and young and many more opposites are in the mix – all put into the same group. Then, working with their Coaches, they become a team in just 2 days.
As that process evolves they move from hating the person on their team who looks the least like them – economics and geography instantly separately them – to the radical discovery that even though that person might have different circumstances, they're fundamentally not that different after all. Teens have the shocking experience of going from prejudices to peace and partnership, from the individual to team, community and contribution.
I say that teens who've actually had that experience as a young person are never the same. They grow into adults who stand for what's possible really being possible. Rightly or wrongly, I say this generation will be the one to say "that's enough now – we are no longer willing to resort to violence, we are no longer willing to see resources not shared." Imagine raising thousands, even millions of teens who actually get that someone different from them in circumstance is not so different in humanity … What would they take on? What would that make available to all of us? They could stop wars. They could negotiate peace. They could provide for everyone. They could create a booming new economy.
Isn't it our job then to make sure they've got what they need to do just that? For me the answer is a resounding yes. I hope you'll think so too.
Ryll Burgin, Founder