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Showing posts from May, 2016

The key to quality youth development that keeps a kid coming back

By Karen Beranek

Recently families have been questioning the value of youth activities, as seen on the parent blogs and social media sites starting with "Why I don't pay for" and ending with: gymnastics, volleyball, band, basketball. Blogger Shad Martin has a good example with "Why I Don't Pay for Dance Anymore!"

Martin lists many good reasons why parents should involve their children in these learning experiences. But in my opinion, he has missed an important one - program quality.

Getting beyond graduation

By Amber Shanahan

Graduation is a joyous and proud occasion filled with anticipation of what's to come. But emotionally, it's a mixed bag -- anxiety, apprehension, grief, fear or sadness may live alongside relief, joy and delight.

One graduate's next steps and outlook can look quite different from another's and so can their attitudes about their future. Some may be thrilled to say goodbye to the comforts of home to explore parts unknown, but others may feel apprehensive about their new found freedom, and a few may have no plan in place at all -- causing feelings of unease, pressure and confusion.

No matter the emotion, we as youth workers and caring adults can both acknowledge the spectrum of feelings and help youth prepare to step into the big wide world. The experiential learning model is a tried and true way to guide discussion by focusing on what has been done, what skills have been gained and how these skills can be applied to future endeavors.

Experience
Graduatin…

5 tips for continuous youth program improvement

By Betsy Olson

Continuous improvement seems to be the new normal. Each year, funders, stakeholders and youth participants expect our programs to grow and strengthen, not to mention our own high expectations as youth workers. One tool in our tool box to help our programs continue to build and improve is interactive evaluation or feedback mechanisms.