'Generation Z' or 'Snowflake' Kids Define Themselves With Shelter Dogs

High School kids today are not only brighter than previous generations, they appear to be more compassionate. Now termed 'Generation Z,' this is the demographic that follows the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years. There is little consensus regarding ending birth years. Most of them have used the Internet from a very young age making technology and social media second-nature to them. I've shortened their name to Z-ers for this post, but they're also known as 'Generation Snowflake.'

Also known as "Generation Snowflake"

Generation Z is also be referred to as 'Generation Snowflake.' According to a 2016 article by Helen Rumbelow published in The Australian: "The term 'generation snowflake' started in the United States. Parents cherished their offspring as 'precious little snowflakes', each alike but unique, or 'everyone is special'." Claire Fox argues recent parenting philosophy led to parenting methods which "denied resilience-building freedoms that past generations enjoyed," -- hence the term "snowflake generation" was one of th Collins Dictionary's 2016 words of the year.

The term is also applied pejoratively in today's politics . It's a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions. This post hopefully refutes some of those descriptors.

California Z-ers & Shelter Dogs

St. Joseph High School cross-country team in Santa Barbara, California invited more than a dozen shelter dogs to accompany them on their morning training runs. Displaying empathy and support for a good cause indicates there's just as much positive attributes that can be applied to this generation.

Each teammate was paired with a dog from the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter before heading out for a lengthy run.

"I am not sure who was more excited and having the most fun ... the dogs or the kids," coach Luis Escobar said. "Either way, it was a great time and I am sure we will do it again sometime soon."

Florida Z-ers & Shelter Dogs

Z-ers on the eastern seaboard have also volunteered. Five mornings a week, shelter dogs take a run with a Florida high school track team.

They spend about an hour together each day, running a couple of miles, resting in the shade, then "sprinting after squirrels," Bob Ennis, track coach at Steinbrenner High School outside Tampa, told TODAY.

Ennis was pitched the idea by one of his runner's mothers, who'd read about the California program. As someone who values community engagement, Ennis was happy to demonstrate how today's high schoolers are animal advocates too.

In so doing, Ennis reached out to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which also works closely with different groups, including photographers who volunteer to take adoption pictures, and those involved with "yappy hour" fundraisers at area establishments.

Z-ers or Snowflakes?

Since Generation Z is on track [pun intended] to outpace Millennials and become the most liberal demographic in history, I think their actions and behavior will rewrite the definition of snowflake. Growing up in an era of dire climate change, gender-neutral beliefs and unprecedented diversity, I see this demographic addressing the future of America in a very progressive manner. Civic, community and national involvement in diversity and unity will become driving factors for this generation, and they will make their mark much sooner than previous generations who procrastinated careers and involvement with good causes until their later 20's.

Your thoughts readers?

Primary Source: Generation Z