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Showing posts from August, 2021

Youth development lessons from Ted Lasso

By Kate Walker Have you seen the streaming Apple TV series Ted Lasso ? It’s a beloved comedy about an American football coach who gets hired to lead a struggling professional soccer team in England. Mostly it’s about how Ted leads his team, on and off the field. I am a huge fan of this unexpectedly heartwarming show, and in it I find lessons for effective youth development practice and for supporting social emotional learning with young people. “Be a goldfish.” According to Ted, a goldfish is the happiest animal in the world because it has a 10-second memory. He encourages his players not to dwell on their mistakes, but to learn from them and move on. Scholars in our field call this a growth mindset . “Believe!” Ted mounted a sign with this motto in the locker room. It represents his optimistic, can-do attitude. When asked if he believes in ghosts Ted quipped, “I do. But more importantly, I believe they need to believe in themselves.” Youth programs can help young people d

How to explain the youth development profession

By Jessica Pierson Russo I’m not very fond of small talk. It’s not because I don’t like getting to know people; it’s just that it doesn’t always lend itself too well to being honest, and I’m the kind of person who, while maybe not 100% truthful, is at least honest about who I am. And there is no small talk question I hate more than, “So what do you do?” As a youth development professional, I am filled with a mild feeling of panic by this innocent question. Should I answer it honestly? Because if I do, I’ll be breaking the #1 rule of small talk: never get too long-winded or deep. Why does telling people I am a youth development professional fill me with such dread? Because they generally have no idea what I’m talking about. If I tell them I do after school programming, they smile and nod but then think I’m just playing around with kids all day. They can kind of picture it, but they have no idea why I would do it. I should, after 17 years, have my elevator pitch ready to go. It’s just th