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Showing posts from November, 2021

Being youth-centered means listening to understand who they are

By Jessica Pierson Russo The intent of positive youth development is to place young people at the heart of what we do. But what does this look like? Being youth-centered starts with thinking of young people in terms of their uniqueness and humanity. How we think about the youth we interact with is reflected in our actions. For instance, if we think about them as damaged, we are likely to treat them that way. If we think about them as privileged, we are likely to treat them that way too. Our natural tendency as human beings may be to categorize others based on their circumstances. So, if a young person is in foster care, or their experiences are influenced by historical trauma, we may be tempted to view them through the lens of those circumstances. Likewise, if they have two well-paid, able-bodied parents at home, we may also view them through the lens of a certain type of experience we envision them having. This type of assumptive thinking can prevent us from really seeing and unders

Finding success through failure

By Nicole Kudrle Each year I have the opportunity to work with some amazing teen leaders through the Minnesota 4-H county ambassador program . Ambassadors use their skills in leadership, communication and teamwork to create opportunities to make meaningful contributions to their communities and act as role models for younger 4-H youth.  Three years ago, I had 24 youth participate in the north St. Louis County 4-H county ambassador program. Each year the ambassadors have sponsored a Project Fun Day to promote 4-H in the county.  In 2019, the group decided to organize a new event called 4-H Winter Outdoor Survival Skills . In February of 2019, the group planned and promoted their event. The ambassadors worked closely with adult volunteers who provided knowledge and leadership to the sessions as the ambassadors recognized they were not content experts in the topics they planned to offer. The group planned sessions on shelter building, ice fishing, snaring and trapping, and staying warm i