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Showing posts from June, 2019

How to help stressed-out youth to cope

By Trisha Sheehan Do you remember what stressed you out as a kid?  I clearly remember worrying a great deal about my school grades and big track or cross country meets. Of course I wanted to do my best, but in my mind, I also had to be the best. That didn't always happen -- which caused me more stress. Like adults, young people have stress. It can come in many shapes and sizes. Maybe it’s due to a test grade, or a friendship, or the perceived expectations of parents. There may be family stress related to finances or farming situations. What can we as youth workers, volunteers and parents do to help young people better manage stress?  It’s important to pay attention to the warning signs of stress : Feeling sad or withdrawn. More irritable or moody than usual. Drastic changes in behavior or sleep patterns. Routinely expressing worries. Clinging more to parents. Sleeping too much or too little. Eating too much or too little. Complaining about school or activities they a

How to talk with youth about violence: Tips for youth workers

By Jennifer Skuza Acts of violence seem to face our youth at every turn. According to CNN , 15 school shootings have occurred already this year, most recently taking the life of 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo of Colorado. While such violence is hard for adults to process, youth look to us for guidance on how to react. We can help them feel safe by establishing a sense of security and talking with them about their fears. Here are some ways to approach these difficult conversations Make time to talk . Let their questions be your guide. Be patient. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you work. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings. Validate their feelings . Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Help children to talk about their feelings, put them into perspective and express their feelings appropriately. Keep you

How your youth program can encourage community

By Rebecca Meyer Summer is a transitional period for youth, parents and families. Young people have finished an academic grade and many are looking ahead to the next. Summers are varied -- youth may take part in camps or other learning activities, travel with family or simply recharge with little day-to-day structure. This time of year is a good time to recognize the changes taking place in young people’s development and design programs that take those changes into account . We establish patterns of behaviors. The start of summer vacation is an excellent opportunity to reflect on these patterns, to identify potential program shifts, and to create summer routines to emphasize program elements. Intentionality in program design is crucial to a program’s success and impact. In 4-H youth development, we ground our programs on four essential elements. These essential elements of positive youth development are belonging, independence, mastery and generosity. My colleague, Mary Arnold