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Showing posts from April, 2019

Fostering a love of discovery

By Karen Beranek Picture this: I’m sitting in an airplane with a bright and energetic 16 year-old 4-H member who is excited and nervous about her very first airplane take off. Her adrenaline is high and her senses are on full alert. And I get to be the adult to experience this with her. Now picture another scene: I’m greeting excited campers as they arrive for their very first time at 4-H camp. The combination of hesitancy and curiosity shines on their faces. And I get to be the adult who introduces them to this amazing experience. As a youth worker, one of the most meaningful and energetic parts of my work is giving young people the chance to try new things. They don't LOVE everything they try, and may not excel at everything. But it does give them a chance to build on their willingness and openness to discovery. A young person's desire to try new things and to enjoy challenges is an indicator that they are on a trajectory to thrive. Mary Arnold , a youth developme

Creative ways to survey youth

By Samantha Grant Put down your smiley face surveys. I mean it. Put them down inside of the garbage can. I know that as youth workers we want to get evaluation feedback from our youngest audiences. So, what do we do? We create cutesy evaluations that make little sense to kids and even less sense for reporting. Check out a video that I hope will make you think twice before using a smiley face evaluation scale in the future.  In the video you will learn why I think this scale shouldn't be used. But it still doesn't answer the question, "How can you collect feedback from really young people?" Youth in grades K-2 are learning to read. By third grade, those who read at grade level are reading to learn. So I typically set the lowest grade level for written surveys at third grade. I expect that some of those third graders will still need a survey read aloud to them to fully participate in the data collection. Keep in mind that in a typical third-grade class, o

Top 3 things to consider when managing teams

By Amber Shanahan Here comes summer! In the youth programs world, that means gearing up for managing lots of people. You're likely hiring summer staff, growing your volunteer support, onboarding teen leaders or joining a team yourself.  What's the best way to organize teams?  Teams make the dream work! But organizing teams can also BE a lot of work. Differing personalities add rich perspectives and expertise. But teams can struggle with getting the most value from and integrating that expertise, to minimize conflicts and to leverage it through all phases of a project. For this reason, University of Minnesota’s Leadership and Talent Development program offers three points to consider when arranging and leading teams. Take a proactive approach by considering them. 1. To team or not to team? Yes, we love to work in teams… but is a team really necessary? Consider the complexity of the work (Can the work realistically be completed by one person?), whether or not there i