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March 2011 Archives

Beki-Saito.jpgAt our latest public symposium, Priscilla Little talked about research on engaging and retaining older youth participation in youth programs. During that event, there were a couple of times when I could almost physically feel, even hear, pieces of the youth engagement puzzle fall into a place; a kind of "ka-ching" sound.

In a landmark study on engaging older youth, Little and her colleagues at the Harvard Family Research Project identified two program variables that were significantly related to high-retention programs. These important variables were: multiple levels and kinds of leadership opportunities, and staff got to know youth outside the program.

Learning environments are key to engaging youth


Nicole-Pokorney.jpgYouth engagement is the essence of deep, enriching learning in any experience. The physical environment in which that engagement happens does not necessarily matter; but the atmosphere matters very much. In fact, it is a key factor.

How do we, as educators, create environments where informal learning is supported, encouraged and fostered? What are the characteristics of educators who cultivate fertile learning environments?

How can we support youth who are "suddenly military"?


Kate-Walker.jpgUS military families are facing unprecedented times of complexity and stress due to overseas deployment. Young people in these families have unique concerns and challenges, and often feel upset, distracted and scared as loved ones are deployed, sometimes multiple times. Many feel unable to tell anyone about it.

Youth program staff may be working with these "suddenly military" youth and not be aware of it, particularly when the deployed family member is in the US National Guard and Reserve. How can we better equip those working with youth in civilian settings to recognize and meet the needs of military youth?

Fight childhood obesity with media literacy


Carrie-Ann-Olson.jpgFood marketing to children is big business, and strongly influences children's food preferences and purchase requests, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine Report, "Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity". As a result, this and other reports say, childhood obesity is rising. 

The statistics are compelling:

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