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Showing posts from February, 2024

Coaching through change

By Jeremy Freeman As youth development practitioners, managing change is central to our practice. Whether it be with youth, adult volunteers or staff personnel, coaching through change is a foundational skill that helps us leverage the full extent of the potential around us. For example, a volunteer who has maintained overall control of a program is required to change when two or more volunteers are asked to co-lead the program to help its growth and expansion.  The challenge in change is, unsurprisingly, that it requires us to change! We often resist change, especially when it requires us to give up or modify previously held roles, values, actions, ways of being or power. In a recent course I took titled Leading Change, Transitions, and People I found the ADKAR Model to be instrumental in helping me think through a process that builds change through relationships. As we reflect on this model, I invite you to consider the ways it can embed itself in the context of change you are curr

Outdoors for ALL

By Nicole Pokorney In the recent Minnesota DNR newsletter, The Trailblazer , the editors featured stories of people not always represented in the outdoors. As I reflected on the voices and images, I continued to think about the statistics of who is outdoors, and the future of our spaces. According to the 2023 Outdoor Participation Trends Report , 2022 showed record numbers and rates of participation in the outdoors, but a decline in the number of outings. Also, the report showed that participants that were new to the outdoors were more diverse, with increases in several BIPOC communities. However, the total population of outdoor participants still hovers around 70% white, mostly men. The trends report does give us hope: "Although the outdoor participant base isn’t as diverse as the U.S. population, diversity among kids who participate and of new participants (participated for the first time in 2022) strongly indicate that efforts to maximize inclusivity in outdoor recreation are r

Humor - A key ingredient to engagement, meaningful connection, and creativity in youth development

By Amy Sparks Student: Is Thursday crazy legging day or something? Teacher: It is now. The tale you're about to hear is true. Picture a packed tenth grade English classroom, 30 students begrudgingly tackling Shakespeare, and their 38-year-old teacher, freshly licensed and new to the teaching scene, adding excitement by flaunting leggings that had a design of the "Eye of London" ferris wheel on them. Over time, this teacher expanded her collection for each "crazy legging Thursday." That teacher was me, and I still don't take myself too seriously. According to Dr. Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, instructors of "Humor: Serious Business" at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, humor enhances intelligence, fosters meaningful connections, and stimulates innovative thinking. Laughter releases hormones that make us happier, more trusting, less stressed, and even slightly euphoric. Injecting humor into professional interactions can alter brain che