University of Minnesota Extension
www.extension.umn.edu
612-624-1222
Menu Menu

Extension > Youth Development Insight

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Running respectful youth programs during controversy

By Kyra Paitrick

This summer the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has taken a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which when built would convey thousands of gallons of crude oil across the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois, across sovereign Indian nations. Standing Rock is a sovereign nation and argues that they should have been consulted prior to any approval of the pipeline. According to the National Congress of American Indians, “Self-government is essential if tribal communities are to continue to protect their unique cultures and identities. Tribes have the inherent power to govern all matters involving their members, as well as a range of issues in Indian Country.” The current issues with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline are a good example of how the tribe can exercise their sovereign rights and why these rights are so important to the tribes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to fail at storytelling

By Samantha Grant 

I will admit that I’m a data nerd. Even so, I might skim through an evaluation journal and read only the articles that are relevant to my work. But recently, I got the summer 2016 issue of New Directions for Evaluation and read it from cover to cover. I was completely sucked in. I have never before read an entire issue.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why youth programs matter for Somali American youth

By Joanna Tzenis 

The benefits youth reap in youth programs are well understood. High-quality programs provide enriching experiences that broaden their perspectives, improve their socialization, enhance their skills and support healthy identity development -- especially during adolescence. The specific benefit to Somali American youth is less well understood, because they are less likely than their peers to participate in organized youth programs. I would argue that it's important to engage them in youth programs, particularly here in Minnesota, home to the largest Somali population in the U.S.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Context means everything in youth work

By Joshua Kukowski 

I recently attended a 21st Century Community Learning Center summer conference in which the keynote speaker spoke about how context means everything in youth work, and yet we frequently overlook it when working with young people. The speaker's own context was amazing, inspiring, and tough to hear, yet compelling. It affirmed my own conviction that a young person's context is powerful, and that out-of-school-time programs have the power to tilt young people in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Considering Historical Trauma When Working with Native American Children and Families

By Mina Blyly-Strauss, Research assistant - Children, Youth & Family Consortium, Extension Center for Family Development

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

Image: Mina Blyly-Strauss
I came to my CYFC graduate assistant position as an educational professional whose early work was with Native American teenagers. This is a demographic group often noted for some of the largest educational and health disparities in the state of Minnesota. More recently, I have focused on early childhood as a critical time to interrupt cycles of recurring disparities and to start healthy developmental trajectories.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Is there a leadership gap?

By Brian McNeill

When I'm out working with community organizations, I hear this complaint from many local leaders: "There are no young people stepping forward to replace me on this committee!" They seem frustrated that they can't leave a community committee because there's no one to replace them. This made me wonder, is there really a leadership gap, and if so, why?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Youth: I think we all need a 'thank-you' speech


Do we pay enough attention to youth voice? During the busy summer months and as we wrap up our program year, youth voice is easy to neglect. I'd like to give voice in this blog to a young person - my daughter, Kati - as she reflects on the completion of high school, her involvement in youth programs, and the role of caring non-parental adults  in her success. She's a recent graduate of Fridley High School and the Minnesota 4-H program. She will soon be attending the University of Missouri and majoring in journalism.

I think we all need a 'Thank You' speech


The end of any major life commitment creates a moment to look back at past months or years and ask, "What have I done that has made me a better person than I was yesterday?  Even more importantly, what influenced how and why I did those things?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GROW your coaching skills

By Nancy Hegland

During this past year, I have watched my three kids being coached by adults in a variety of settings. Whether it was sports, music or showing livestock, these coaches invested their knowledge in my children’s growth and development. This summer, I’m paying more attention to my children’s coaching than most mothers do because I’ve recently taken a course called Coaching for Excellence.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Talking with youth about terrorism

By Sara Langworthy

Newtown. San Bernardino. Charleston. And now Orlando.

In the wake of intense tragedies, these places have stopped being just cities. Their names have become grief-laden synonyms for terror and loss.

So, how should we talk to youth about terrorism and mass shootings?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's a refugee? Who are the Karen?

By Jennifer Skuza

"Imagine being forced to flee your country in order to escape to safety. If you were lucky you had time to pack a bag. If not, you simply dropped everything and ran. Life as a refugee can be difficult to imagine. But, for nearly 20 million people around the world, it is a terrifying reality." (United Nations Refugee Agency).

World Refugee Day just happened on June 20, 2016.

I have have had opportunities to work with refugee communities throughout my career. Over the past few years I have been working with Karen communities in Minnesota. Many people aren't familiar with the Karen or how people come to be refugees. Here is some background.
  • Copyright 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy