In my short tenure here at CRC I've learned that there is always something new to learn! As the staff cares for 200 plus acres of land, maintains over a dozen buildings, hosts retreat groups, and prepares for summer programs we are constantly learning and growing. Often times we don't know what we don't know, until what we don't know goes wrong. When something breaks or doesn't happen as planed it is often not the ideal time to learn about that various circumstance. Yet, at camp and in the world, this is what happens to you and me on a regular basis! We learn and grow when crisis and unseen events come our way that we often would not volunteer to experience.
Despite living in a world of uncertainty there are plenty of events we can prepare for! One event, or force, that we need to know, study, and be aware of is Generation Z, also known as iGen. The oldest in this bright generation are heading off to college and the work force. The days of complaining about Millennials should be ceasing or you risk being left behind as another generation creates change and separates from the norms that you grew up with. The eldest in the Millennial Generation are approaching 40 years of life while the youngest are in their mid twenties now.
So who is Generation Z, or iGen? Depending which research center you read will vary the starting point. Often, Generation Z starts between 1996 and 2000. While the closing date for this generation is still being determined it is often said to end between 2012 and 2015. Denise Villa and John Dorsey , co-authors of "The State of Gen Z 2017", from The Center of Generational Kinetics, conclude that
Gen Z will become even more influential than Millennials, but with a more practical mindset grounded in the present. They appear to be a true “throwback generation” that wants to work, save money, and not get stuck or trapped. Basically, as they told us during interviews, “We don’t want to end up like Millennials.” Marketers, managers, leaders, and others who think Gen Z will eventually “grow out of it” or suddenly start acting like previous generations should heed the warning of Blockbuster, Sears, and other legacy businesses that simply became part of the past within a single generation (thanks Millennials!). Gen Z will move faster and with even fewer ties to the way things were in the past because they simply do not remember a time before blazing-fast Internet speed, an African-American president, and being able to have anything you could possibly want delivered to your door with a single click (or not even having to click—just ask Alexa). This means the pressure is on other generations, including Millennials, to step up and pay close attention, begin to adapt swiftly, and do everything possible not to miss this huge Gen Z wave barreling toward them right now— as employees, customers, neighbors, voters, and citizens. All is far from lost, but choosing to delay a response or fail to make smart preparations now will only make the future more challenging for the non-Gen Z incumbent generations to employ, market, lead, educate, and influence this new generation.