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Showing posts from November, 2017

The importance of imagination and play

By Brian McNeill Taking a break from our technology-driven society has given me new opportunity to think about my growing up years. It was a time of very few school opportunities and of family financial struggles. It was also a time where I developed creativity and imagination. "If you can dream it, you can do it!”  - Walt Disney I grew up in the 1970s and 80s on a small dairy farm. The closest town was more than 10 miles away. As a young person it seemed like we lived on an island. I remember my excitement when the Sears catalog would arrive at our home. I’d thumb through each page, encountering toys of every shape, color and design. I would never be able to own those toys, but the pictures inspired me to play. I used boxes, markers and anything I could find to replicate the toys in those catalogs. My imagination helped me create items I couldn't buy. In his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul , Stuart Brown says: “By

Getting back to youth work basics

By Kari Robideau Recently I have been reviewing our Youth Work Matters curriculum with a team of colleagues. This process has caused me to review the basics of the positive youth development approach to youth work. It's reminding me why we do what we do - and why we do it the way we do it. Positive youth development focuses on promoting young people’s strengths and giving them opportunities to grow.  Youth workers do their work with three basic ideas in mind:  the field of youth development,  supporting youth needs and the youth worker him or herself. Field of youth development The foundational research and theory that support the field of youth development grounds everything we do! An early influencer of the positive youth development approach was the University of Minnesota’s own Gisela Knopka. She introduced the concept of basic youth needs for healthy development. Our premise is that every young person seeks to meet these needs and youth programs help them to do that

Clean up your charts in five easy steps

By Samantha Grant Evaluators spend a lot of time creating reports and presentations to share data with stakeholders. In the last decade, we've become much more aware of the way in which we package our data to get audiences to pay attention. We know that dense reports with no charts or pictures get filed in the "will read someday" pile, so evaluators focus on making reports that people will actually read. One way to do that is to add charts for variety, color and emphasis. You've probably created a report or presentation with a chart. Chances are that when you did, you inserted the default Excel chart. But the Excel default doesn't make well designed charts. I have created the following video with five easy steps to help you to clean up your charts and to make your reports and presentations more readable.

The power of storytelling to foster understanding

By Jessica Pierson Russo We all want to feel a sense of harmony, but when prejudice and intolerance prevails within a group, harmony can seem impossible. The reasons for intercultural conflict are complex, and the task of working on solutions is daunting. But … do they have to be? What if we spent more time listening to others’ stories? What if we spent more time learning to tell our own? Would we then care more about each other’s well being?