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Showing posts from November, 2014

Professional development is money in the bank for youth-serving organizations

High-quality youth development programs rely on staff and volunteers to deliver programs that meet an identified need in the community. To do their work well, youth workers need high-quality professional development. But options are sometimes limited by funding, time and availability. We need to overcome these obstacles to ensure that youth workers get the professional development they need to keep programs valuable to the communities they serve.

Research has shown that it pays off in the form of:
staff retentionimproved health and safetyreduced stressleadership successionimproved program qualityreduced hiring and orientation costsimproved job satisfactionfaster more successful organizational change
Professional development also tends to improve teamwork, increase networks and improve work outcomes. As the need for professional development has increased, delivery methods have changed dramatically. There are traditional conferences, workshops, and coaching/mentoring that work well for ce…

Data injection could be a shot in the arm for your program

Even the strongest youth program can stagnate. The initial energy can wane over time, leaving you as a program leader wondering why. Data about your program may offer some insights and solutions for re-energizing.

Demographic data and the population characteristics often drive initial program design and creation. Updating our understanding of these data can help us to reinvigorate a program by showing the continued relevance of the program to the community we serve, or to adjust the program by seeing the changed landscape.

Inquiry-based learning for volunteer-led youth programs

Do you learn and remember better when somebody tells you the answer, or when you work through the problem yourself? Chances are you will say "when I figure it out myself". This is the crux of inquiry-based learning, and it's one of the things that 4-H does best.

From the time a 4-H member selects a project area until its completion, 4-H youth are immersed in solving problems hands-on. As you may know, the 4-H program is delivered primarily by volunteers using the resources of a land-grant institution. It's up to us as program leaders to make it possible for volunteers to help young people do hands-on learning in an effective way.

Slow down and see cultural resilience

By Margo Herman

"Cultural resiliency is what we call the competencies acquired through diverse life experiences, which then become the foundation from which students can develop essential 21st century skills: innovation, adaptability, critical analysis, cross-cultural communication, and teamwork." -- E3 - Education, Excellence, Equity

This quote set the context for our Oct. 2 public symposium on social and emotional learning Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz of E3 spent two days with us challenging our thinking about SEL, sharing his talent and his research that bridges academic assessment with culturally responsive teaching.

The cultural resilience content he presented refined my thinking about integrating social emotional learning into my youth development work. One nugget that still has me pondering is defining youth engagement strategies that reflect cultural resilience.

JuanCarlos suggests that to best support young people, we need to slow down to understand and assess a youth's…