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The August 2006 edition of our newsletter, Youth Field Xpress, is now online.

ACYS calendar of events in the youth field

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ACYS books include titles such as Researching youth; Ethnic minority youth, Youth, crime and the media, and others on youth subcultures, and young people and work.

Definitions

Defining "youth"

ACYS defines the period of youth as spanning the ages from 10 to 24. This definition is also used by the Australian Medical Association and the World Health Organisation.? However, the definition used by other organisations and other countries varies a great deal:

"The by-laws of the Youth Development Association in the Federated States of Micronesia, for example, define youth as between the ages of six and 35 (or more than 70% of their population). The Southern African Zonal Youth Forum recently extended their 18?26 youth age range to 18?30 years, reasoning that all their existing youth organisations had an upper age limit of 30 or 35 and the school-leaving age was 20.

"Concepts of age in regard to legal rights and responsibilities is another area open to anomaly. The various states of the United States exemplify this, such as Oklahoma where the law allows a 16-year-old to be sentenced to death but not to buy alcohol until the age of 21".

(Source: Sheila Allison, Editor of Youth Studies Australia, in an editorial, Youth Studies Australia, September 1999.)

For more on the concept of youth, see Chapter 1 in Rethinking Youth
by Johanna Wyn and Rob White (Allen & Unwin, 1997).

'How do we define "youth", what age group are we talking about?'

'This question is often posed to us at the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies. In the case of ACYS, we use a broad definition: those aged 10 to 24 - in order to be as inclusive as possible in covering not only adolescence but also the overlapping issues that lead to and follow adolescence.

'The same question was posed to the YARN list* and turned up some interesting definitions which show that ours is not as broad as we thought.

'While our span of 10?24 is also used by the Australian Medical Association and the World Health Organisation, that of other organisations and other countries varies a great deal. The by-laws of the Youth Development Association in the Federated States of Micronesia, for example, define youth as between the ages of six and 35 (or more than 70% of their population). The Southern African Zonal Youth Forum recently extended their 18?26 youth age range to 18?30 years, reasoning that all their existing youth organisations had an upper age limit of 30 or 35 and the school-leaving age was 20.

'The discussion also turned up an unexptected anomaly in the usage of another term - teenage ? which I would have thought was self-defining but apparently that too is open to interpretation. A 1996 Canadian report defined youth in three categories - young teens, teens, and young adults - and described 'young teens' as aged 10 to 14 (no doubt pleasing countless 10- to 12-year-olds.)

'Concepts of age in regard to legal rights and responsibilities is another area open to anomaly. The various states of the United States exemplify this, such as Oklahoma where the law allows a 16-year-od to be sentenced to death but not to buy alcohol until the age of 21. '

Source: Sheila Allison (1999) Youth Studies Australia, Septemper 1999 'Editorial'.