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Extension > Center for Youth Development Update

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Take advantage of these great opportunities!

Consider taking one of our online self-studies. These short, affordable introductory courses allow you to learn foundational content at your own pace and on your own time. They are especially useful for getting new and part-time staff and volunteers up speed on:
Our next symposium on April 6 highlights what happens when research questions shift from measuring and replicating program outcomes to distilling and disseminating effective program practice. We'll feature the innovative SEL Challenge and the resulting Field Guide, engage in a hands-on activity to assess SEL practices in your programs, and learn to be more intentional about equipping youth with the social emotional skills they need to thrive. Minnesota's own Voyaguer Outward Bound School is one of the partner programs. Check out the field guide and related resources now and register for the symposium to learn more. Also, save the date of April 7 for an in-depth training with our symposium speakers.

Finally, if you live in southeast Minnesota, I invite you to register for the regional forum in Rochester on Feb. 10. If you live in the metro area, consider registering for the 3-hour Intentional Program Design Matters on April 13 or the 15-hour Leadership Matters starting on April 22. If you live in northeast Minnesota, please save the date of April 26 for the regional forum in Duluth.

One step at a time to intentional program design

The mountain you are climbing may be a youth mentoring experience, a summer camp or a whole new initiative in your organization. In every case, intentionality is crucial. What benefits do you see for programs that have intentionally matched their program content with positive youth development principles and quality? Have you been able to review a program and make changes that significantly improved the learning experience for youth?

As we think about being more intentional in program design, we must also explore ways to provide learning opportunities for youth workers to understand the field and grow. Keep asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?” and “What will the youth gain from it?” In other words, be intentional. Discuss this topic with Nancy Hegland and other youth development professionals on the Youth Development Insight blog,

Upcoming training and events

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