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Helping Idaho Teens Take the Future into Their Hands

Director’s Corner | Roger Quarles

Executive Director, J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation

In the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation’s ongoing effort to make the needs and voice of students Idaho’s top priority, I’m especially proud of our latest initiative Buck The Quo.

In Idaho, the status quo is that fewer than half our high school grads will pursue learning or training after their senior year.  In fact, Idaho has one of the lowest “go on” rates in the nation.

Buck The Quo (as in Buck the “status” Quo) set out to completely re-frame the outlook for life after high school. The goal is to instill a belief in the ability for all Idaho teens to maximize their unique potential and create the life they want.

How do we help teens and their parents understand and embrace all options of post-high school learning? How can we foster an environment in which teens feel supported to pursue whichever post-secondary path is best for them?

Buck The Quo is the teen-centered answer.

The fact is there are more options than ever for continued learning and training after high school. Whether it’s a trade school, one-year certificate, two-year degree, appreBTQnticeship, four-year degree, or the military—there are great ways for Idaho high school graduates to create a brighter future.

We launched a statewide television, radio and digital awareness campaign for Buck The Quo two weeks ago. But the campaign really began last year with a pop-up, peer-to-peer experience called The More In Store. The More In Store pop-up experience created a place where teens could speak their truth and be encouraged to explore their options. It continued with a YouTube video series that uses a combination of truth-telling, humor and real-life first-person examples from young Idahoans. Guest segments focus on speaking with Idahoans who talk about success, failure, challenges, the importance of grit, persistence, sacrifice and continuous learning.

We also tackle key questions such as “is college worth the cost?” and “what is FAFSA?” while we breakdown topics from hacking the SAT to building a future.  Two-dozen teen ambassadors from across Idaho also fuel the video series. They review programs, provide feedback, generate content, and share their personal journeys.

My favorite moments are when Idaho teens courageously open up to discuss their dreams and fears for the future directly to the camera.

Tens of thousands of Idaho teens are watching the videos. Thousands more will see the 2016 More In Store summer tour from July to September. Now it is time to share this movement with adults, especially parents. We want young Idahoans and their parents to understand the great opportunities to learn and lead a successful life.

Idaho teens can’t do it alone. They need our help. They need straightforward, honest talk.

Start a conversation with an Idaho teen in your life. Ask them about their dreams and what they want for their future, not what they want to be when they grow up.  Ask them what they can do today, starting right now, to get the future they want. Ask them how you can help them buck the quo.

We hope you will take the time to visit BuckTheQuo.com to learn more.