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Showing posts from February, 2018

How to stay relevant

By Brian McNeill

When developing a lesson, event or program for youth, it can be hard to think about what will appeal to encourage youth to register and attend your program. Will it be the food, the activity, the time of day or the lesson that will really get their attention? Fireworks before, during and after? How can we compete for their time and attention?

Planning can be a real challenge and it can make a youth worker wonder, “Is my program is relevant to youth today?”

Those of us who have been in the field for a while see patterns. We can identify what will interest families and what programs to avoid. But for a young professional, it can be hard to know what will grab a young person’s attention and keep them coming back. Another challenge is that we must also prove to our stakeholders that our programming is valuable for youth and benefits the community.

Daniel Perkins and Lynne Borden did some research on this. In Community Youth Development: Programs, Policies and Practices, th…

How to make sure your programs are equipped to reach youth who most need them

By Daniel Cooper

We are not adequately preparing all youth for future success. Nearly 20% percent of U.S. students do not graduate high school within four years. Of the 1.5 million students who took the ACT in 2009, only 23% were considered ready to enroll in college without support.

Educational disparities are another big issue. Black-White education gaps are about the same now as they were in 1965. Latinxs are 2x less likely to have a college degree than European-American students. There is a need for programs that support youth of all backgrounds to achieve their educational and career goals.

What's the big deal with pronouns?

By Joseph Rand

The kids at school call me Rand. Not Mr. Rand. Just, Rand. With colleagues, I tend to go by Joseph or Joe. My family has given me nicknames like Joey, Joe-Joe, Josephine, Joe-Bo, and probably the most memorable, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. At this point in my life I have racked up a lot of nicknames. And, as you can imagine, some evoke a stronger reaction than others.

Names and labels can either build trust or break it down. While my Grandfather didn’t mean any harm in calling me Josephine, it was never a name I liked. At 36 years old, I can still remember the negative reaction I had each time he used it. I associated that name with girls and female characteristics that I didn’t have, or at least didn’t think I had. I was a boy. Male. Even though it was a small thing, and the way my family showed love - through picking on each other - being called Josephine was like a tiny punch to my gut. Every single time.

Similar to nicknames, the pronouns we use can have a significant e…

The importance of being 'youth-centric in real life

Guest blogger Torie Weiston-Serdon will co-present our Feb. 19 youth work symposium, "Re-imagining youth work through an equity lens".

In the past year, I have traveled around the country speaking to organizations about critical mentoring. I'm passionate about youth work. I center much of my discussion in the concept of youth centrism, and it turns out to be the concept that people are most attracted to. While I'm elated at the fact that people want to center youth in their work, I'm not sure that people recognize the significance of this concept. Critical mentoring, and critical youth work in general, is rooted in a liberatory framework concerned with ensuring that the most marginalized youth have the opportunity and the tools required to "get free".