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Showing posts from October, 2015

A 'stone soup' approach to programming can work pretty well

By Joshua Kukowski The White Earth Science and Math Academy day camp has been going on since 1999 and has had measurable success in both outcomes and in process. This year’s camp had a lack of centralized funding, creating a need for multiple groups to work together to put it on. This stimulated each partner to really identify their strengths and contribute what they could.

Me, biased? Implicit bias in youth work

By Kathryn Sharpe What do these situations have in common: a youth worker addressing challenging behavior, a judge deciding on ribbons at the state fair and a hiring committee interviewing candidates? Answer: In each of these situations, people are making decisions based on both conscious and unconscious factors.  Neurosocial research is revealing that human beings are influenced constantly by both positive and negative subconscious associations about others, based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, weight, accents and many other aspects of our identity. This phenomenon is known as implicit bias and has significant implications in our behavior and judgments.

Responsible decision making, a social and emotional skill

By Carrie Ann Olson Bombarded by advertisements of what to buy, media messages of how to look and peer pressure of what to do, responsible decision making can be tough stuff. Every day, youth are tasked with promoting their own health, avoiding risky behaviors and dealing honestly and fairly with others. That’s decision making – a social and emotional skill. Decision making can be defined as the process of making choices among possible alternatives . How can you help youth to have the skills for mastering this skill? There are many guides for you to use – including a new online course. The ability to make decisions and solve problems on the basis of accurately defining decisions to be made, generating alternative solutions, anticipating the consequences of each and evaluating and learning from one’s decision are skills that are considered important to effective decision making. Our youth programs should be learning labs of safe opportunities for youth to learn decision-making ski

Negotiate to reach your program goals

By Amber Shanahan You may cringe when you think about negotiating, but I’m here to tell you that negotiation does not have to inherently apply to conflict or uncomfortable conversations. Negotiation is a powerful tool that can be used to ensure you’re utilizing all of your constituent’s assets to their full potential to best support the youth you serve. As a youth worker, you are one player on a field consisting of families, funders, policy makers, research experts and of course, youth. The goal of this team is to provide the most effective and appropriate services to your youth members, and each player provides differing levels of expertise and expectations. To navigate this sea of stakeholder expectations, youth work requires planning and negotiation. Negotiation is an interpersonal decision-making process necessary whenever we cannot achieve our objectives single handedly. Negotiation must happen in board meetings, with committees, with youth groups and with colleagues. So