Calling all ‘young voices’

June 8, 2011 | Young Voices
Emily Loewen | Young Voices Editor

Here begins a new adventure: Canadian Mennonite’s Young Voices section. What is this section, you ask? Why is it here?

Upon reflection, the magazine realized that its readership is—how to put this gently—aging. And while this threatens the life and breath of subscriptions, it’s also a problem because many voices in the church aren’t part of the conversation.  

The hope is that Young Voices, along with its accompanying website, provides a forum for “young people” to discuss the issues we find important. Here at the Canadian Mennonite office, located just uptown from Uptown Waterloo, I dream of online interaction, letters to the editor, slideshows and stories from you, our young readers. This is a space for “young” Mennonites, however you define the term, to share your work and find ways to live more faithful lives. I know I dream big, but I think we can do it together.

I believe young people have important ideas to share with our church. But sometimes, whether because of doubt in our own abilities or because people dismiss us as idealists, our ideas don’t lead to anything. Here, those thoughts can be shared, added to and carefully critiqued. Of course, there is irony, in that our voices are in a separate section of the magazine—and yet they are still a part of the greater whole that is Canadian Mennonite.

Now about the name, a challenging endeavour on its own. To start, I first wrote down all the characteristics this section should have, and words that I hope it will grow into. I then cut out each of those words onto a little piece of paper, and then spent a good hour arranging them into different combinations until there were two full pages of possibilities.

After much deliberation I, along with the other Canadian Mennonite staff, settled on Young Voices. As a name, it’s not perfect, but it does some things well. I tried hard to avoid classifying this as either a youth or young adult section, as we focus on neither exclusively. Instead, the word “young” explains how this part of the magazine differs from the rest. I chose “voices” because every reader should have a part in creating it, not just the staff.

Which brings us to the website. Young Voices is not limited to the confines of these pages. It’s accompanied by an online section with extra content, polls and opportunities for contributions. The website also has a slate of young bloggers sharing their ideas and experiences, hoping to spark interest and wider conversations. You’ll have to take a look at the website to find out their names and what they have to say. (Editor's note: that website has been discontinued.)

So now it’s up to you. This project can only succeed if you take part. Check out our website, then send your story ideas, something you’ve written or photographs you’ve taken to me at (editor's note: this address is no longer active). Young Voices is your playground: Explore, learn and enjoy.

Emily Loewen

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