Cheer for the youth of today

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For a century, the youth have been accused of being lazier, more entitled, and less adept than their parents’ generations – despite the fact that those parents were once viewed in the same light by their own parents. This is still true today, despite the fact that history proves that attitude preposterous.

Megan WernerIn fact, the current generation of youth are not only ignoring accusations of laziness and entitlement, they are actively disproving them through remarkable actions. From the high school students in America lobbying for changes to gun control laws, to teenage athletes across the world, to young inventors and scientists, many of today’s youth have achieved more than most middle-aged people.

Author Pearl S. Buck once said that the young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation. This certainly seems to be true of the current generation of young people.

Take as an example two South African teenagers who have not yet reached 20 but are both published authors. Megan Werner and Ntando Makwela are now planning a monumental adventure: Building a plane and then flying it from Cape to Cairo.

Ntando MakwelaThe youngsters have chosen 20 teenagers from various Gauteng schools to be their “team”, and together they will build a plane from scratch over the course of about 1000 hours. The plane is a Sling, designed to be easily assembled, and the parts go together in a similar way to a child’s Mechano toy. The Sling is made of a stressed skin semi-monocoque structure, precision punched from sheet aluminium by CNC punch. Punching is so precise that no drilling-out or de-burring is required, according to the company that manufactures the planes.

The duo hopes to inspire millions of people through this trip and to they intend to make a TV series about their adventure. They will be stopping in eight countries, where they will be visiting tourist destinations and villages to meet and interact with the local people. They will also use the experience to provide input for a coffee table book, and are hoping to get local youth leaders to participate in a youth story book series.

These goals may sound too ambitious, but Megan Werner has heard – and ignored – that before. When the 16 year old wrote her book “It’s up to me” with the intention of inspiring other people to make the world a better place, she decided she wanted the foreword to be written by Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich dad, poor dad”, and persevered until she got her wish.

The teenagers aim to fly out of Cape Town on 2 December and be back on Christmas Eve. There’s no doubt the trip will widen their horizons as well as help them achieve their aim of providing inspiration for people to follow their dreams. And there’s no doubt that these two young people are only getting started with doing remarkable things.

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