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A Vision For Our Local Youth

7:04 PM · May 5, 2021

An article came out today by the AP talking about how birth rates have dropped to their lowest rates ever. The implications are significant, but they should serve as a reminder to us all about our stewardship of the local youth in our community. (You can view the article from the AP here: https://www.oregonlive.com/nation/2021/05/not-just-the-pandemic-to-blame-for-lowest-us-birth-rate-in-a-century.html Our youth are one of the most valuable resources we have in this community, and our stewardship of them is going to become more important as we move into the future. With birthrates continuing their historic decline, I believe it's going to be more important than ever that we address a few things. Here are a few of my thoughts. (in no particular order) First, we need to make our community as family-friendly as possible to make this area desirable for families to live in. Like it or not, communities are now finding themselves in competition for young families. Take sports facilities for example. We currently have no public turf soccer fields for the 800-1000 kids that play soccer in our area. This greatly limits the feasibility of year-round soccer and puts us far behind other communities in Southern Oregon. Grants Pass is finishing up a new 10-turf field soccer complex in their community. Medford has five fields. These facilities enable them to host tournaments that draw families from all over Oregon and Northern California and contribute significantly to their local economy. Not to mention making them more attractive to sports-minded families. Second, we need to find more ways to retain our youth in this area after high school and enable them to thrive. This has to be addressed in multiple areas. Parents need to believe that their children can thrive in this community and want them to live here. We all need to believe that ultimate success isn't graduating from high school in Douglas County and then moving away. We need to help kids learn skills to enable them to fill jobs at local companies. We need to encourage the entrepreneurial youth in our community to start ventures at a younger age so they can begin to see success earlier so they truly believe they have career options outside of the one path fits all. We need to celebrate the trades more so that our youth look up at the trades and see them as an incredible career choice. Want great pay and job security for the rest of your child's life? Trade workers are going to be in short supply for the rest of our lives. Third, we need to find any way possible to build more housing. We need to become the most builder-friendly community in the state. Our supply of houses is too low and the cost of new ones is too high. Whoever is able to build more houses that are somewhat affordable in the future is going to get the most families living in their community. Fourth, people want more things like shopping options for clothing and shoes. People want more entertainment options in our area. The demand is there, it seems fairly obvious, but I believe we are still operating under the hope and pray for outside companies to come to save the day and open up locations to serve these needs in our community. Let’s build these things ourselves! Not enough shoe options? Someone from here should open up a new shoe store. Same with clothing stores. Entertainment, are we not able to build our own mini-golf course, go-cart track, or retro arcade? Anyway, start off with our ultimate end goal and work backward. Do we want our youth to be able to stay here and thrive? If so, work things backward and figure out ways we can change and make it a reality. If we don't change, we cannot expect different results than we are currently seeing. We have to solve our own problems by doing things differently. Training up our local youth for 18 years, pouring into them, and investing in them without a plan or vision to keep them here is devastating to the health of our community. We end up playing the role of an educational farm team for other cities. Let's change that.

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We have said the same thing in our family and circle of friends for a long time! And what a better time than now if you have lost your job or are no longer working full time. Start a new business!

May 6, 2021

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Absolutely, and technology has reduced the costs to start many businesses significantly!

May 6, 2021

Very well said. Roseburg is amazing for so many reasons, but the changes you described are paramount to its future success. Things have got to change for the better. We need younger voices, speaking for our city.

May 13, 2021

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