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Monday, October 12, 2015

Negotiate to reach your program goals

By Amber Shanahan

You may cringe when you think about negotiating, but I’m here to tell you that negotiation does not have to inherently apply to conflict or uncomfortable conversations. Negotiation is a powerful tool that can be used to ensure you’re utilizing all of your constituent’s assets to their full potential to best support the youth you serve.

As a youth worker, you are one player on a field consisting of families, funders, policy makers, research experts and of course, youth. The goal of this team is to provide the most effective and appropriate services to your youth members, and each player provides differing levels of expertise and expectations. To navigate this sea of stakeholder expectations, youth work requires planning and negotiation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Youth voice -- how much and when?

By Betsy Olson and Mark Haugen

Each fall, leaders of youth organizations reflect on their successes, celebrate with award ceremonies and begin planning for next year. Injecting youth voice into your annual program planning and goal-setting process is critical as it increases the relevance of those goals or plans. Providing space and time for youth voice also works to engage young people. Once engaged, they are more successful at accomplishing goals and following through on plans.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Finding the sweet spot between volunteer time and program need

As youth development professionals, we work hard to engage adult volunteers in meaningful long-term relationships with young people. Research, particularly from the field of youth mentoring, indicates that youth whose relationship with an adult mentor lasts at least a year have more positive outcomes than those lasting less than a year. Anecdotally, we hear youth in the 4-H program share how their 4-H club leader has been an ongoing source of support for several years as they developed life skills and grew into adulthood.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What draws youth to a program?

Are you trying to reach new communities with your youth programs?

Early in my career, I came to understand that what draws young people to programs is adults that take a genuine interest in them. Building a genuine, positive relationship with a young person takes time and patience. One of the most effective ways to make it happen is through youth-adult partnerships.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Autism: The fastest growing developmental disability impacts youth development

By Darcy Cole

If you have worked in youth development for long, you probably have encountered at least one youth who seems “unique”. You might not know exactly why he or she is different, but you know for some reason she is. That something may be called autism.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How can we overcome gender bias in STEM education?

By Rebecca Meyer

Isis Wenger, creator of the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign
How do we engage women in productive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers when stereotypes run so deep? A recent ad campaign by a company recruiting engineers ignited a social media dialogue about sexism in the tech industry and what people believe engineers should look like. One of the ads featured a female engineer, which elicited sexist comments in social media.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bridging the higher ed aspiration-achievement gap

By Joanna Tzenis

Many young people aspire to go to college, but there’s a gap between aspirations for higher education and actually enrolling. This is an important gap to address because lower levels of educational attainment are associated with higher levels of poverty.

Here are the numbers: In the U.S. in 2011, a higher percentage of young adults without a high school diploma (31 percent) were living in poverty than those who had completed high school (24 percent) and those who had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree (14 percent) (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Video for learning and engagement

By Sara Langworthy

Online video is ubiquitous for watching and sharing content – especially for young people. In fact, many youth are watching more free online video content (11.3 hours per week) than traditional TV (8.3 hours per week). A recent survey by Defy Media suggests that younger viewers find YouTube content more entertaining than traditional TV shows and they are more likely to view YouTube creators as role models than TV stars.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to make impactful summer learning experiences

By Carrie Ann Olson

The summer schedule for young people can be full of adventure, curiosity and exploration. On the other hand, the lack of structure can cause boredom and lack of motivation. Youth practitioners may find it hard to come up with appealing activities non-formal learning environments that foster education and career success, healthy relationships and engaged citizenship.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Online activism, a forum for 21st century giving

By Trudy Dunham

My colleague Jennifer Skuza's new profile photo.
Did you add a rainbow to your Facebook profile photo last week?  Did you think twice before making your decision? Was it a risky choice for you? Did you think of it as a meaningful action?

Following the Supreme Court decision on June 26 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, more than a million Facebook users changed their profile images in celebration.
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