National Civic Review
Young people play many roles in public life. They are activists and entrepreneurs, officeholders and voters, taxpayers and consumers, advocates and beneficiaries. They are also, first and foremost, citizens.
In its narrowest, most technical sense, citizenship is something that we are born with. In its richest sense, it is something we can work our entire lives toward making real.
Many of our public roles happen to us. We become taxpayers when we get our first jobs. We are customers when we stand in line at the DMV. But some of our public roles require a little more effort. In order to be voters, we must register and get ourselves to the polls on election day. To be informed voters, we have to learn about the candidates and the issues. If we want to become advocates, we have to know and care about an issue and organize to make government respond.
Bass, Melissa, "Citizenship and Young People's Role in Public Life" (1997). Civic Engagement. 14.