Powderhouse's Kindling Fellowship is designed to support teens and young adults as they take their next steps into adult life. In its third year, Kindling might be right for you if you're looking to finish high school, get into college, break into an industry, or just figure out your interests and what's next.
Applications for the 2024 Kindling Fellowship are now open. Register interest by applying below.
Today, youth are excluded from the most important conversations of their lives because we place them in School, a place whose day-to-day is largely removed from issues which matter (to either youth or the world). This disenfranchises youth by denying them both the chance to learn through real work and the opportunity for meaningful involvement in public discourse and civic life.
We do this under the rubric of “developing productive members of society” and “creating good citizens”, claiming that preparing people for effective participation in society requires isolating them from it for more than a decade.
At Powderhouse, we believe this is not only wrong, it doesn’t work.
Alexander Hamilton was barely nineteen when he started his political career. Malala Yousafzai was just seventeen when she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Louis Braille was only fifteen when he invented the Braille alphabet. However unusual or extraordinary you believe these people were, their greatness did not come after a long period of preparation, but grew out of constant and engaged action and reflection doing real work.
We believe young people can do far more than our culture gives them credit for. But realizing this potential requires acknowledging that people grow best when they’re learning, learn best when they’re creating, and create best when they’re creating something which matters to them—and sharing it with a real audience.
The research and design challenge for those who care about youth is clear: We need to advance the art and science of meshing the abstract knowledge and skills today’s society requires with the concrete culture and concerns of youth. To many people, this problem will appear impossible because they believe abstract knowledge and skills are dreary and the culture and concerns of youth fun.
More than a decade prototyping radically different approaches to learning have convinced us this is a mistake borne of most people’s experiences in School, a place where disciplines are atomized into lonely, impersonal subjects, trivia far-removed from everyday life.
After trying to tackle this from the inside, we are setting out ourselves to build an equitable educational institution free to the public which embodies this vision of learning