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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to make impactful summer learning experiences

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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Youth programs need bricoleurs (that’s you)

By Pamela Larson Nippolt

Today, youth workers are expected to be social innovators. Francis Westley teaches us about the place for bricolage in designing innovative programs that address critical issues facing youth. Bricolage is the “DIY” of program design or, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, “construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also something constructed in this way.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Indignities and insults: Racial microaggressions

By Trish Olson, Extension Center for Family Development

This post first appeared in Family Matters, the newsletter of the Extension Center for Family Development.

Hot Buttons from Cultures Connecting.
Have you ever attended a conference where, when someone asks you afterward “What did you learn?” you drew a blank? Such was not the case with the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) conference I attended in Washington, D.C. last week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Making curiosity happen

By Jessica Pierson Russo

I’ve been thinking about curiosity and how to spark it. My colleague Anne Stevenson recently asked why the innate skill of asking questions tends to drop off as we move through school and into careers. This prompted me to look a bit more deeply into how we can more intentionally develop curiosity as a skill in our youth programs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Put it in writing: Why you should get published

By Jennifer Skuza

There is something so rewarding about seeing your name in print as an author. You may think about youth continuously, do the work every day, hone your practice and even conduct applied research but even so, when you publish, you receive validation from peers that shows your work contributes to the field of youth development.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Planting the seeds for higher education

By Nancy Hegland

“What do you want to study after high school?” “What career do you want to pursue?” As a junior high student, I clearly remember being asked to write a paper on these questions and researching the details of being a dental hygienist, which seemed very interesting at the time. That idea eventually faded, and in the years that followed, many mentors guided me, even though I wasn’t sure where I was headed and whether I could make it in college.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ways to make youth programs more inclusive

By Kathryn Sharpe

“I have a group of Muslim youth who won trips to the state fair—what kind of religious accommodations will they need?”  This is a question that I asked myself last summer. It’s an example of the kind of question all youth workers must ask themselves if they want to make their programs more welcoming to non-traditional audiences.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reframing the politics of youth work

By Amber Shanahan

A passion for youth work is often what drives us to join this profession. We love young people and feel enriched by the rewards of helping them to become the best person they can be.

But our passions can get derailed by politics. It might be a power struggle between passionate volunteers, or the meddling of an influentially connected parent, or the fickleness of a funder attracted to another cause.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Youth programs: Powerful settings for social-emotional learning

By Kate Walker

How exactly does learning unfold in youth programs? They are a particularly rich context for young people to learn and practice social and emotional learning skills. It is critical that we understand how learning happens there, and how we as adults can support that process.

Youth in our programs often engage in real-world activities and projects, work in teams, take on meaningful roles, face challenges and experience the accompanying up and downs.
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