The Next Generation

I write in a lot of places. I’m on the Patheos Channel as a contributor on Friendly Atheist. I guest post at The Heresy Club. I’m the other blogger at Ashley Miller’s on FreethoughtBlogs. I’m the Communications & Marketing intern at Foundation Beyond Belief.

I’m not writing this for some sort of bragging rights. In all honesty, I’m doing too much, and in the middle of shifting around my priorities. But the point is, I’m actively involved in the skeptic and secular community.

I’m also 20 years old.

More particularly I’m under 21. In the United States.

This means that in a lot of places, bars aren’t an option.

I’m your target audience, skeptics groups. I’m young, I have free time, I like to talk and argue and listen. I’m at college, so I have access to lots of different research publications without worrying about paywalls. I don’t work full-time, and I’ve lived in an area where many people don’t believe evolution and I think science education is really important.

But here’s the thing. I’m the next generation of skeptics. Which makes me not this generation. But I’d like to be involved. Which means, to some extent, because I have the means and time to, I’d like to go to events. I’d like to learn from everyone else.

Which is hard to do when I’m not allowed in the venue.

Sometimes it’s hard to make every event open to everyone. There’s really nice bars and pubs and sometimes when it’s after a conference, all you want to do is drink. That’s just fine. I’m not attempting to be the Ruiner of Everything Ever.

But when you have dinner with famous speakers, or Skeptics in the Pub, or the event starts after 9 pm, I probably can’t go. Not because I wouldn’t love to. Not because it wouldn’t be fun and a better use of my time than Netflix. But because making the (public transit) commute down to an event, only to find out that I’m to young to get in the door is really unpleasant. It’s true that I might be able to go. But pubs/bars/restaurants rarely give out that sort of information.

So here’s what I’m suggesting:

 List the minimum age for the venue where you’re having your event. 
Sometimes I won’t be able to go and that’s okay. But right now, I’m just forced to assume I can’t. When I do turn 21, there’s still going to be the problem of the people in my secular students group who are younger than me. I don’t want to propose we go to events, only to find out that other, younger, members can’t.
Remember that not everyone drinks.
There’s also people who hate drinking. Or are recovering from alcohol abuse. It’s not just the next generation that could get more involved with events when they’re not always boozy–it’s all those others who decide that it’s just too much to worry about alcohol at their next local gathering.
Young people have lots of energy.
Having more people in your groups means more events. More planners. More people who can bring their friends and pay their dues and advertise your group. Let us plan events when you’re too busy. Let us tell you about the state of science education in local high schools.
Really, we’d like to get involved.

Featured image from here.

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Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan

Kate is an outspoken atheist, feminist, demisexual, stigma-busting student in Chicago studying psychology and human development. She juggles occasionally, would knit you something warm if she knew you, and reads anything she can get her hands on. She was raised believing alternative medicine worked, and now spends her time making skeptical faces at it. You can find her on Twitter at @donovanable


  1. November 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm —

    Wholeheartedly agree!

  2. November 16, 2012 at 10:58 am —

    This is something I’ve been trying to work on with our local CFI chapter. We’re an old group stuck in a bit of a routine.

    I would love to set up events that would attract a younger audience. I will be watching closely to see what events people might suggest here. 🙂

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