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Showing posts from April, 2021

The importance of consent in youth development

By Sarah Odendahl On April 28, you’ll find me wearing denim jeans and a teal shirt. Why have I planned my outfit in advance? To show solidarity with victims of sexual violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. April 28, 2021 is Denim Day , a date that marks protest against a 1999 Italian court ruling in which a rape conviction was overturned due in part to the victim’s clothing choices. Both events seek to raise awareness of what constitutes sexual violence, how common it is, and what consent means. Youth workers have a particular need to understand issues around consent and sexual violence. 1 in 9 girls under the age of 18 experience sexual violence at the hands of an adult, and young adults 18-24 are at particular risk of sexual violence . A 2007 study  on campus sexual assault by the National Institute of Justice found that 35% of victims didn’t report what had happened because “it was unclear that a crime was committed or that harm was intended.” Conversations about sexual

Building trust through cross-generational volunteerism

By Jeremy Freeman Happy National Volunteer Week. Did you know that research has shown that volunteers are one of the most critical resources that community organizations have? This behooves us to pay intentional attention to the way we manage and support our volunteer networks.  Strengthening our communities and creating meaningful change can be advanced through robust and engaged volunteer systems, but this work does not just happen. For our volunteer networks to grow and expand they need to be built upon authentic trust. My UMN Extension colleagues note four ways trust can be built . In a nutshell this work suggests that we do what we say, say what is needed, do the job right, and above all, show care. When we develop volunteer networks that make an impact through open and respectful dialogue, leveraging the skills and experiences of others through caring and intentional relationships, we will enhance trust within our organization.  How do we build trust in youth programs? Why is tr

Gen Z: New employee training

By Samantha Lahman Originally published in the  Dairy Star , as part of a series on youth in agriculture. When hiring someone from a different generation with potentially no farming or agriculture experience, it can feel like we are training someone who can’t speak our language.  What language is that? For the advanced farmer it seems to be a mix of hand signals and mumbles. For most, our introduction to this style of communication comes shortly after we are first able to reach the pedals of the farm truck. My first experience is still clear in my memory. I remember being told to slide over to the driver’s seat while Dad got out to open the barn door and realizing that the time was finally here. It was my job to back up the trailer for the first time. So in the dark, with the truck window cranked down and rain pouring in, I tried to translate in real time as my father made a series of hand signals and motions that would have made any MLB pitching coach proud. I don’t pride myself on be

Using data for program planning

By Samantha Grant It is critically important for youth workers to use data in their decision making. Too often we listen exclusively to the voices of a handful of vocal members rather than looking deeper into our data. Understanding and using data allows us to inform our program planning, identify our strengths, and learn about outreach.  Data can feel overwhelming, so here are a couple of ideas to get you started on your data sense-making journey.   Data can help you understand your community Use data to learn about your community. Are there youth in your community who aren’t served by your program? Chances are the answer is yes. Learn more about your community by visiting data rich sites. My two favorites are by Minnesota Compass and Kids Count . The Minnesota Compass Build Your Own Profile tool allows you to draw the geographic boundaries of your search, which can be helpful for neighborhood or multi-county projects. Also learn about trends for school aged children  - and much mor