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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Equity & Youth Development - Symposium and Training

February 19 is the kickoff to our next 3-year public symposium series focused on exploring and supporting equity within Minnesota’s youth development programs. Based on stakeholder input, we chose to hold this event on a school release day to encourage young people to attend. When you register, you can indicate the number of young people who will be attending with you.

We have invited scholar-activist and practitioner Torie Weiston-Serdan and youth co-facilitator Morgan Campbell to join us. Torie and Morgan's work recognizes the need for new and innovative ways to think about youth work that include a critical analysis of how race, gender, class and sexuality relate. In addition, self-work, including equity and diversity training, is necessary to transform youth work.

We invite you to join us on this equity journey either in person or online. We've had a great response to this event so far, and have adjusted the room setup to accommodate more participants.

Want to dig deeper into Equity and Youth Development? Torie Weiston-Serdan has worked extensively with community-based organizations in support of youth advocacy efforts, specializing in training mentors to work with diverse youth populations including Black, Latinx, LGBTQQ, first generation college students and low-income youth. Join Torie and Morgen Campbell for Critical Mentoring in Real Life, an in-depth training following the February 19 symposium. This afternoon lunch and workshop is hosted by our partner MENTOR Minnesota. Get more information and sign up.

The importance of being ‘youth-centric' in real life

Guest blogger Torie Weiston-Serdon is passionate about youth work and has traveled around the country speaking to organizations about critical mentoring. Much of her discussion is around the concept of youth centrism: putting youth at the center of work with youth. In this week's blog post, Torie gives some historical context to youth centrism and discusses its importance to critical youth work. Join the conversation!

Re-imagining youth work through an equity lens

Read Kate Walker’s blog post on the Center for Youth Development’s process of envisioning and designing this new symposium series on the complex and important topic of equity and youth development. She shares how we are responding to three key themes at our upcoming kickoff.

Upcoming training and events

Feb. 19
Offers a framework for critical youth work and practical ways for organizations to do youth-centric work that liberates without marginalizing.

Feb. 19

An in-depth training following the Feb. 19 symposium.

Feb. 22 - March 26

This online class explores supervision and leadership issues in youth work organizations. Online activities include 3 webinars and self-paced learning.

Save the date for the NE Forum on April 26 in Grand Rapids!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Community job openings

City of St Paul is hiring!


CommonBond Communities is hiring!

Professional development opportunities

Responding to White Supremacy in Youth Work

Mondays, 6-8 p.m.: 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2, 4/16, 4/30
University of Minnesota - St. Paul Campus, Peters Hall, Room 202, 1404 Gortner Ave.


This seminar will explore how and why, in this current moment, some youth are choosing to adopt white supremacist ideas and behaviors.  As class we will discuss how this phenomenon shows up in our daily practices; research class identified areas of interest; and work to understand how we might build our skills sets and knowledge base to better respond and support youth in our community.  The first weeks of the seminar will focus on what questions and practices could help youth workers engage in this work and the final weeks will focus on how youth workers can support youth who are organizing to promote social justice.

Facilitator:  Jena Brune and Emily Krumberger, YDL Graduate Students

If you have any questions, please contact Deborah Moore, Director- Youth Work Learning Lab

Youth Work in Community—Critical Practices

Wednesday, March 28 and Wednesday, April 4, 2018
9 a.m.–Noon
U of MN St. Paul Campus Student Center, Cherrywood Room
Facilitator: Deborah Moore, University of Minnesota
Most practitioners agree that youth work does not look like school. Just like other related fields, youth work has a set of commonly used practices that we draw from as we work with young people. While some of these we may use intuitively, others take a bit more intentional planning and effort to make them seem natural to us. When we ask young people to work together on a team project, what is our intended purpose and how do we support those groups in the learning process? This session will dive into some of the most critical and well-loved practices that support high levels of engagement, leadership and authentic partnership with youth in day-to-day sessions. 
What You’ll Walk Away With:
  • Clarity on the sources for critical practices such as group work, experiential learning design, youth and adult partnership, and project-based learning.
  • Time to explore why and how these practices make a difference (or don’t) when working with young people.
  • Space to try out some of the methods with your colleagues to make it easier to jump in and use them with groups of young people.

Youth in Their Community Contexts

Wednesday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 18, 2018
9 a.m.–Noon
U of MN St. Paul Campus - Peters Hall, Room 80
Facilitator: Deborah Moore, University of Minnesota
Everyone comes from a variety of different communities. Understanding the worlds that young people belong to and are influenced by will help us gain a better perspective of their everyday lives. This knowledge allows us to build deeper connections with those we work with inside and around the program. During this workshop, we will dive into the theory of community youth development and critically think about the influences that the community has on its youth, as well as the resources it has to offer. We will explore strong qualities of community programs and practical strategies to become better community builders. 
What You’ll Walk Away With:
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the theory of community youth development.
  • Recognize community influences and how they affect the everyday lives of youth.
  • Develop an awareness of strong qualities of community programs and critically reflect on the how your organization connects, supports and encourages relationships and understanding across difference communities.

How Youth Work And Improv Play Together
Wednesday, April 13, 2018
9 a.m.–Noon
St. Paul Student Center
Facilitator: Abigail (Abs) McLaren - Youth Worker, U of MN YDL M.Ed. Alumni and Improv Actor
Every youth worker has experienced a day with a group of young people that is not working.  Part of challenge is to find ways to adapt and be flexible in the moment and at the same time inspire young people to find meaning in the work we hope to do each day.  The work of theater and improv has a set of practices that are highly effective in creating space that is open, creative and adaptive.  Work with others to explore some of the practices that can translate easily into your daily work with young people.  Don't worry - we will not hold an open mic session at the end of class.
What You’ll Walk Away With:
  • Get to know some of the practices used in theater and improv that have great application potential in youth work.
  • Try out some of the techniques to see how they work.
  • Have conversation with your colleagues about where and how to use the practices in ways that create more openness, flexibility and connection in your youth groups.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Our public commitment to equity and youth work

There are approximately 1 million youth living in Minnesota. According to Minnesota Compass, 35% of those young people are not highly engaged in enrichment activities. And 40% report not having a meaningful connection to caring adults in their community. These youth, of every age, gender, race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, and family type, are waiting to be empowered. They are ready to learn and lead.

The U of M Extension Center for Youth Development has a long history of using research-based, positive youth development practices to reach and empower young people. For 100 years, we’ve been learning, growing, and sharing our knowledge with other youth workers across the state.
The youth of Minnesota are always changing. Current technology and access to diverse ideas and experiences influence their needs, values, and expectations. Each time the youth of Minnesota change, our center must adapt and change right alongside them.
At this stage of our growth, we see a gap in our practice that needs to change. There are young people in Minnesota who we need to partner with more fully. Youth of color and indigenous young people, youth who are queer, youth from families of low income, and recent immigrants, these youth we can serve better.
We have a vision for our future. A vision to empower all youth with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. We are clear on where we want to go. On who we want to be. But we cannot do it alone.
Today, we are publicly announcing two efforts directly connected to our vision.
  • We are embarking on a 3-year commitment focused on equity and youth work. Because we are not experts, we will be conveners and co-learners. We will invite experts (both from research and practice) to share their knowledge and help us better empower all Minnesota youth.
  • We are also systematically expanding access in our own youth development program, Minnesota 4-H. Our First Generation 4-H Initiative is an organization-wide effort to think critically about what is core to the 4-H experience. Our goal is to boldly remove institutional and practiced barriers that limit who can join, feel welcome, and lead.
We invite you to join us on this equity journey. Together, we can ensure all youth in our community are empowered to learn, to lead, and to make a difference.
I am honored to share this journey with you.
Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean
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