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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why incorporate engineering skills into an environmental program?

By Hui-Hui Wang

When you think about engineering, do you first think of machines and buildings? People rarely associate engineering with the natural world. You may think it’s hard to design a youth program that combines engineering design and environmental or nature components. It is a challenge but it’s worth doing because of the thinking skills that youth can get from these activities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Brief programs can make a lasting impression. How can we measure that?

By Betsy Olson

Searching through childhood pictures of a clowning workshop I attended as an eight-year-old, I have strong, happy memories of our tumbling presentation, with my parents laughing in the audience. These memories resonate with me as I prepare for an upcoming youth leadership presentation, and have me thinking about how to evaluate brief programs.

Measuring impressions from them can be tricky. However, keeping a few considerations in mind can simplify the process of evaluating brief programs – defined as those lasting fewer than eight hours.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

6 critical collaborative leadership practices to engage diverse youth


Collaboration should be the way we do business for young people. We know that no one youth program can support every child’s needs and engage youth from every background. But by working in collaboration with other programs, we can bring our commitment to enriching the lives of young people to even more of them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What do young people think about social and emotional learning?

By Cynthia Matthias

Who do young people confide in? Do they ever talk about setting goals, managing emotions, or understanding other people’s perspectives?

Young people will be most impacted by the policies concerning the teaching and assessment of SEL skills in schools and in out-of-school-time programs, yet their thoughts on the topic have not been heard. The YouthVoice project research team, an intergenerational group convened in collaboration with Youthprise, is working to remedy this situation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paying it forward, with mentoring or mocha

By Joshua Kukowski

I had my first “pay it forward” experience at a coffee shop recently and I was confronted with a choice: should I continue the trend?   I had no scientific evidence that paying it forward to the next coffee drinker would be a good thing to do. I just knew.  I bought the next person a cup of coffee.

Mentoring is like that. There are now 15 years' worth of research proving that mentoring helps young people succeed.  But mentors do it because they just know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ask a beautiful question

By Anne Stevenson

“What’s the most powerful question you know?” Children ask hundreds of questions a day as soon as they can speak. But in grade school, questioning “drops off a cliff,” according to data from the 2009 U.S. Nations Report Card.

Why does this innate skill fall away as we move through school and into careers?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's the connection between social emotional learning and program quality?

By Margo Herman

The simplistic answer to the question is that a high-quality youth program provides an environment conducive to developing social and emotional skills.

Yet simplistic does not reflect the depth of the question. Researchers are immersed in defining the compatibility and the distinction in these two key areas of youth work practice. And practitioners naturally want to know more about how we will measure these outcomes and if measures for both SEL and program quality will be compatible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Agriculture, science and real life

By Joshua Rice

“When am I ever going to use this in real life?” If you're an educator working with youth, you've probably heard this question, usually when they're faced with a complex equation, a problem-solving scenario, or are asked to read, remember, and recall information.

Agriculture educators have an advantage answering this question. They can simply reply, "Every day."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are we doing enough for special needs youth?

By Darcy Cole

Schools work hard to serve special needs students, but can youth programs say that they do the same? In the public school system, formal individualized education plans (IEPs) outline the supports that will ensure the success of special students. But youth programs don’t have IEPs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ways of Being: A social and emotional learning model

kate-walker.jpgTo make sense of the emerging field of social and emotional learning (SEL), we developed a model we call Ways of Being. It paints a picture of the whole social and emotional learner, describing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors that exist within a person who is socially and emotionally competent.

The model describes dynamic, interactive ways of being that exist in three layers -- identity, awareness, and navigation and three dimensions -- ways of feeling, ways of relating to others, and ways of doing.
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