University of Minnesota Extension
http://www.extension.umn.edu/
612-624-1222
Menu Menu

Extension > Youth Development Research > Youth Development Insight

Stories of refugee youth may be hiding in your program

| 6 Comments


Pamela-Nippolt.jpgIf you are working with youth, you are probably working youth whose families have sought refuge in the U.S. They may not tell you their stories, but you can learn more about the refugee experience -- and you should -- to create more effective learning spaces for them and for all young people in your program.

More than 50 million citizens across the globe were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2014, the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people since 1994. More than half of them were under the age of 18.

How leaders develop trust

| 14 Comments



mark-haugen.jpg
A leader needs to be trusted. Trust is an important element of the work I do with members of the community. But why should they trust me and the organization I represent?

I wish that everyone saw me as I see myself; someone who is worthy of their complete trust. Sadly, I'm not a perfect leader, and like all leaders, have been in situations where people don't trust me fully.

Not one of us is perfect. The truth is that in educational, non-profit and community settings there are people who don't know us or our programs, well enough for them to trust. As full time, part time, paid or volunteer leaders of programs we need to invest our time in developing and maintaining the trust of others.

What can we as leaders do to develop trust?

Prominent misperceptions about social and emotional learning

| No Comments


Dale-Blyth.jpgA New York Times opinion piece published this week is titled, "Can we teach personality?" This is the wrong question in so many ways.

First, it's not about teaching personality but helping to equip youth with the skills they need in life - academic, social and emotional. These skills can be learned and should be -- not as a one size fits all or by forcing everyone into one mold. Rather, they should be taught as tools that can be used in navigating learning and life.

They also are, and need to be, taught by parents and expanded community learning opportunities. Like all skills important in life, we cannot and should not leave it to schools alone to help equip our young people.

The importance of readiness

| 2 Comments


Dale-Blyth.jpgWhat does it mean to be ready? According to the dictionary readiness means "the state of being fully prepared for something". As we approach each day or stage in our development are we in a state of readiness? Are we or the youth we work with ever "fully prepared" for what is going to happen? OK, maybe not fully prepared but at least prepared to take on the challenges ahead and make the most of the opportunities for learning in front of us. Prepared to try, fail, and try again.

We talk often these days about helping our children be ready for kindergarten or maybe ready for college. The Forum for Youth Investment talks about Ready by 21 - ready for work, college and life. But what does it really mean to be ready? And when we say ready do we mean ready in all the ways that matter - ready cognitively but also socially and emotionally?

Why do adult volunteers need cultural competency?

| 1 Comment


molly-frendo.jpg"Our community isn't really that diverse. When there are so many important skills for me to learn, why should I focus on diversity?" I've often heard this question as I've worked with adult volunteers in youth development roles.

So often, diversity is reduced to what we can see: race, gender, age, and perhaps ability. But culture is so much more than what we can see -- it includes the experiences, beliefs, and values that give us membership to a certain group.

Working as a team can be the biggest challenge of all

| 2 Comments


hui-hui-wang.jpgWhat did young people on the Engineering Design Challenge teams this past year learn from the experience? Notably, one main takeaway for youth was that building a team can be as challenging as building a Rube Goldberg design.

At the end of the first season of our engineering design challenge recently, we asked each member of the 22 teams about the experience. What did they learn? What obstacles did they overcome as they built their Rube Goldberg Machine together?

Youth voice requires online access, literacy

| 6 Comments


trudy-dunham.jpg2014 marks both the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of the World Wide Web. It wouldn't have occurred to me to connect these two transformational events, but it occurred to Urs Gasser, and I'm glad it did. He reminds us that that the world wide web is a major tool for young people to access and exercise their rights. And that youth voice, their participation in discussions on the key issues of today, is vital.

Gasser acknowledges that even after 25 years, disparities remain in the well-being of children and youth: their ability to exercise their rights, and in their online access and network literacy. These disparities place our children at risk, as well as the health and well-being of our society overall.

Cross-age teaching has social and emotional benefits

| 3 Comments


amber-shanahan.jpgTeens and younger youth both benefit from cross-age teaching. In fact, it may be the most effective way to provide opportunities for positive youth development and encourage youth to avoid delinquent behaviors. Younger children respond enthusiastically to teen behavior modeling, so rapport is established very quickly.

Our center runs the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program (4-H YTY) in four Minnesota counties. The model includes strong partnerships between county-based 4-H programs and local schools. During the 2013-2014 school year, our staff trained 761 teen teachers, and they in turn taught the 4-H YTY curricula to nearly 10,000 elementary-aged youth in greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area school districts, making it one of the largest 4-H projects in Minnesota.


nancy-hegland.jpgHigh-quality youth development programs rely on staff and volunteers to deliver programs that meet an identified need in the community. To do their work well, youth workers need high-quality professional development. But options are sometimes limited by funding, time and availability. We need to overcome these obstacles to ensure that youth workers get the professional development they need to keep programs valuable to the communities they serve.

Research has shown that it pays off in the form of:

Data injection could be a shot in the arm for your program

| 8 Comments


betsy-olson.jpgEven the strongest youth program can stagnate. The initial energy can wane over time, leaving you as a program leader wondering why. Data about your program may offer some insights and solutions for re-energizing.

Demographic data and the population characteristics often drive initial program design and creation. Updating our understanding of these data can help us to reinvigorate a program by showing the continued relevance of the program to the community we serve, or to adjust the program by seeing the changed landscape.

  • © 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy