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Extension > Youth Development Insight > Archives > April 2011 Archives

April 2011 Archives

Is your youth program keeping up with technology?

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Kari-Robideau.jpgYoung people in our programs do not remember a time without computers. They are adept at interpreting face-to-face interactions and web-based experiences. As social networking becomes the number-one activity on the web and teens increasingly own cell phones, young people expect to communicate instantly. For them, e-mail is sooo yesterday.

Is your program keeping up with the pace?

Are we building a workforce, a profession, or a field?

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Dale-Blyth.jpgWhat is our vision of ourselves? What do we in the youth development, out-of-school-time, non-formal learning field want to become?

During discussions at the National Afterschool Association Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., a weekend of great sessions and discussions about the future of the youth worker workforce sponsored by the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition, part of a series of critical conversations that started back last fall at the History of Youth and Community Work Conference I was struck by these most basic questions.

What's shaping youth work today: Systems or programs?

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Joyce Walker, Youth Development Insight blogWhat is the best way to make sure the after-school and youth development workforce is stable, prepared, supported and committed? For youth workers gathering at the National Afterschool Association conference this week, lots of ideas are on the table.

In light of today's tough budget times, where should we put our energy -- into system-building or into improving the quality of youth work practice?

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Megan Gunnar, a professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, recently spoke on Minnesota Public Radio about the damaging long-term effects of the stress of poverty on brain development in infants, children, and youth. This illustrates to me the insidiousness of our economic policies and beliefs about who deserves what and how much they deserve. Poor children and youth do not have equal opportunities for healthy growth and positive development. We are ignoring the data of the best youth development thinking of the past 75 years.

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