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Showing posts from April, 2024

Reed Larson’s research on youth development

By Kate Walker I recently attended the annual meeting for the Society for Research on Adolescence where my mentor Reed Larson was invited to reflect on his influential research career in youth development. Reed first got interested in adolescence because he saw it as a critical period of awakening. Yet he noticed that most research focused on problems more than development, and he discovered that youth programs were powerful spaces for this awakening and development to occur. These insights propelled an impressive body of research that has tremendous implications for our work with and on behalf of young people.  Young people’s daily experiences and emotions With his mentor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , Reed began by studying adolescents’ daily experiences and emotions, pioneering the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) where young people were prompted (with beepers back then!) to report on their feelings and the dynamics of their experiences in different domains in their daily lives. He exp

The value of art in youth programming

By Allison Hansen When you think of "art," what comes to mind? Maybe it's the timeless beauty of classical paintings and sculptures, or the profound messages conveyed through art installations like the statue, Dignity: of Earth and Sky . Or perhaps you envision the playful creativity showcased in youth exhibitions. The reality is, art encompasses all these aspects—beauty, power, playfulness—and much more. Art includes drawing, painting, sculpture, creative writing, dance, music, theater, fashion, makeup, interior design, and numerous other disciplines. The National Core Arts Standards assert that engaging with the arts doesn't just develop artistic skills; it fosters collaboration, critical thinking, social competence, brain development, creative problem-solving, innovation, emotional regulation, creativity, and curiosity—qualities often categorized as "21st century skills," "social emotional skills," or "soft skills." Ultimately, arts i

Challenges and success in engaging youth virtually

By Nicole Kudrle During the Covid-19 pandemic, program staff were challenged to develop innovative programming that would not be just a temporary solution, but an alternative method of engaging youth. The Northeast 4-H Cloverbud Project Days is an example of a unique learning opportunity that I co-developed to engage and build connections with youth in grades K-2 during the pandemic. This program has evolved over the last four years to become a permanent opportunity to engage this young audience.  A project day is an opportunity for youth to explore their passions through completing hands-on learning experiences. When working with youth in kindergarten through 2nd grade it is important to engage them with activities that are developmentally appropriate. You want to ensure that the program you are offering is specifically designed for them, creates a safe and welcoming environment that allows youth in K-2 to learn leadership skills, public speaking skills, and build friendships.  The m

Showing appreciation builds a positive environment

By Karyn Santl "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou I work in a youth serving organization where we use volunteers to achieve our mission of delivering high-quality, culturally responsive, experiential learning opportunities for youth. We have over 7,500 volunteers placed in formal roles and just as many in informal roles. We consider volunteers to be part of our workforce or team. April is Global Volunteer Month , and within the month of April is National Volunteer Week . These designations give us the opportunity to recognize the impact volunteer service has on our youth programs and the communities we serve. Ensuring volunteers are recognized and shown appreciation is one of the components of a successful volunteer delivery system. A resource that I have used to build my skills in this area is the book  The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace