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Showing posts from September, 2015

Youth voice -- how much and when?

By  Betsy Olson  and  Mark Haugen Each fall, leaders of youth organizations reflect on their successes, celebrate with award ceremonies and begin planning for next year. Injecting youth voice into your annual program planning and goal-setting process is critical as it increases the relevance of those goals or plans. Providing space and time for youth voice also works to engage young people. Once engaged, they are more successful at accomplishing goals and following through on plans.

Finding the sweet spot between volunteer time and program need

By Molly Frendo As youth development professionals, we work hard to engage adult volunteers in meaningful long-term relationships with young people.  Research, particularly from the field of youth mentoring, indicates that youth whose relationship with an adult mentor lasts at least a year have more positive outcomes than those lasting less than a year. Anecdotally, we hear youth in the 4-H program share how their 4-H club leader has been an ongoing source of support for several years as they developed life skills and grew into adulthood. We know that strong youth-adult partnerships are essential to positive youth development and that those partnerships take time to nurture and grow. At the same time, in the field of volunteer systems management, the trends are showing that individuals are still volunteering at similar rates; however, they are looking to make shorter commitments and work within flexible schedules. According to experts like Tom McKee and Susan Ellis , cultural

What draws youth to a program?

Are you trying to reach new communities with your youth programs? Early in my career, I came to understand that what draws young people to programs is adults that take a genuine interest in them. Building a genuine, positive relationship with a young person takes time and patience. One of the most effective ways to make it happen is through youth-adult partnerships.