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6 Ways to Remember Names

February 25th, 2015

To build relationships, you have to learn the names of the youth in your program.  Knowing a person’s name is a way of showing honor and respect. When someone tells you her name, repeat it and ask if you are saying it correctly. If you don’t get it right the first time, practice until you can say it correctly. Then focus on remembering that name, so you can call the person by name in the future. Taking time to know names communicates value and appreciation.

Here are some simple strategies for remembering names:

  1. Repeat names as soon as people introduce themselves. If one person says, “My name is Jim,” then respond with, “It’s so nice to meet you, Jim.” Make a point to use his name again in the conversation. Repetition will cement the name in your memory quickly. (Remember what brain science tells us—you have to repeat to remember!)
  2. Keep a list of young people you interact with on a regular basis. We like to keep this list in a calendar or journal. Sometimes we include the phonetic pronunciation of their names (Shanella = shane + ella) or a phrase to remind us who they are (tall red-headed boy who looks like cousin Jake).
  3. Take pictures of young people in your program, and let them autograph their pictures. Seeing images with the names will help you remember.
  4. Link their names with someone else you know or an object that will help you remember the association. Perhaps Angelica reminds you of an angel. Or George makes you remember your grandpa George.
  5. Combine their names with random facts. You could also ask anything like the following: What color can’t you live without? What decade would you want to live in? What kind of car do you want to drive? The more off the wall less frequently asked question the better. The approach keeps youth on their toes, makes them pause, adds in an element of novelty, and helps everyone in the group remember names. Jake Lawrence asks his youth to share their names and what shampoo they use. Random facts create a lighthearted tone and set people at ease. Believe it or not, these crazy facts will also help you remember their names.
  6. Mix movement with the sharing of names. Here’s another brain booster from Jake to help your entire group retain names. The first person says, “I’m Weston, and I like to move.” Weston then does some sort of move or dance. Everyone else says, “Hey, Weston!” and they copy his move. Continue on to the next person.

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

One Strategy that Will Completely Change the Way you work with Young People

February 18th, 2015

Wanna change the way you work with young people?  Adopt what our counseling friend Jake calls “unconditional positive regard”, and determine that you will maintain that attitude no matter what.

Unconditional positive regard is a belief that no matter what happens or what is seen, this person (the youth in front of you) is good even if he or she has done terrible things. Even if the good isn’t obvious. Everyone has the capacity to do good. Your job is to believe that and offer encouragement to your group to cultivate it.

This is the attitude you commit to before you meet any child, during your interactions with your youth, and even after those trying moments when they walk away and you want to start grumbling and generalizing about “kids today.” It’s okay to get the frustrations out of your system  but always return to center: to a belief and hope in unconditional positive regard. This attitude will bring hope to your group and strengthen your efforts to see and cultivate the best in others.

How would this change the environment in your home, classroom or program?

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Moving More = Learning Lots

February 16th, 2015

As P.E. gets cut from more and more school days, teachers and afterschool care providers are searching for more ways to encouragement movement with youth.  We love to move and play, so we’ve collected lots of activities to share in this workshop.

Title: Do a Body Good: Moving More = Learning Lots

Description: The latest brain research has a lot to say about the importance of movement. This workshop illustrates how to incorporate movement through relationship building, concept reviews, getting feedback, reflection and energizers/refreshers – all in 5-10 minute blasts. We will give you time to practice creating and leading movement activities.

Audience: youth workers and educators

Time: 1 ½ – 2 hours

Schedule by contacting us at 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net

 

Contact us if you want to bring this workshop to your organization – 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

 

5 Ways to Be Prepared as an Educator, Youth Worker or Coach

February 11th, 2015

Excerpted from Groups Troops, Clubs and Classrooms by Ragsdale and Saylor

Being prepared for a group means having a plan A, B, C, and sometimes D—at least in your head. For example, you had planned activities for 45 youth but only 10 show up. You were supposed to have a guest speaker, but she suddenly cancels. Now what? How can you make the time together meaningful and worthwhile? Or, you planned for two hours of programming or instruction, but circumstances beyond your control interrupt your plan. Now you now have 45 minutes to get across a meaty subject like dealing with bullies, learning the secrets of closing a debate, reducing fractions, or planning a service project. What do you do?

Here’s what we’ve learned:

Try not to take yourself too seriously. Relax and be willing to adapt your plan. Keep the flow moving so that the time you do have with them is meaningful.

Have more games, activities, examples, and ideas than you will use. If you are over-prepared, you will have the flexibility to add, delete, or move content as needed.

Have a variety of ways to approach your content. When 10 people show up instead of 45 (or vice versa), you can adapt your methods. This strategy also means being able to present content in different ways to accommodate various learning styles. Consider the multiple intelligences in your group when developing each lesson plan. Challenge yourself to use at least two or three styles so that you are engaging as many youth as you can in what you do. Mix it up. Present information visually, verbally, with movement, and so forth.

Have flex in the content. Sometimes you come in ready to get across a key message or explore a subject only to discover that your group isn’t where you thought they were. Let go. Meet them where they are. That might mean taking a deeper dive into your topic or introducing the idea and slowly beginning to work on it. Sometimes you have to swim in the shallow end of the discovery pool.

Be willing to let go. On occasion, you might have to totally adjust your plan. Be present enough to know when forging ahead with an agenda is useless because the young people in your classroom or group are not “there.” And if they aren’t there, they aren’t going to receive your message, and they won’t see you as the person who is truly present for them. Have a plan but be ready to adjust to the circumstances. Be flexible and adaptable, read the group, and adjust as necessary. It’s an art!

This is an excerpt from our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Engaging Youth: Finding and Connecting with a Sense of Purpose

February 9th, 2015

This has been one of our most popular workshops over the last few years.  Young people yearn to live a life full of meaning and purpose.  Caring adults are critical in helping youth discover and achiever their purpose.  This highly engaging workshop will teach youth workers and educators tricks and tips for helping youth find their sparks and cast a vision for their lives.

title: Engaging Youth: Finding and Connecting with a Sense of Purpose

description: The latest research on “sparks” shows that when youth know and can name their sparks, then good things happen – in schools, in themselves and for their lives. This lively session will educate participants on sparks; how sparks connect to developing a sense of purpose; and ideas for cultivating them in youth. Experience and learn for yourselves some fun, interactive venues for youth to identify strengths, resources and goals for themselves that they can carry with them into adulthood.

time: 2 hours

Audience:  youth workers, educators, parents

Contact us if you want to bring this workshop to your organization – 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

 

James Vollbracht on Youth Development and Education

February 4th, 2015

James Vollbracht, author of Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand: How to Create a Culture That Cares for Kids, gives this wonderful advice:

We must remember that children are very new to the world and don’t have the sense of context that we do. Everything they see, hear and experience becomes a part of them. We are stewards of this most important resource, to which we have unquestionable responsibilities: to shield them from harmful and inappropriate experiences, to provide them with opportunities and invitations to participate in the life of the community that will allow their innate gifts to unfold naturally, to guide them through important rites of passage, and to love them unconditionally.

Growing Kids through Literacy, Creativity and Play

February 2nd, 2015

Character is an ageless hot topic for educators, parents and youth workers.  We all want to nurture character development in children, but sometimes we don’t know where to start.  And we don’t know how to find time amidst standards, tests and group dynamics.  We worked with educational experts to develop some creative strategies to build character.

Title: Growing Kids through Literacy, Creativity and Play

Description:  How do you teach character to children? You play games; you act out storybooks; you let them paint. And while they’re having fun, you weave in conversations about positive values. Explore and learn creative and playful methods for teaching character and literacy from the book, Building Character from the Start and from the guidebook “Tales Told Twice.” Collect ideas and learn how to get a free copy of the Tales Told Twice! (adaptable for grades k-12)

Audience:  k-12 educators and youth workers

Time: 2-3 hours

Schedule: 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net

Play with Purpose Workshop!

January 26th, 2015

Love the idea of play with purpose, but want to know more?  Check out this wildly popular workshop:

Title: Great Group Games: Building Relationships and Teams

Description: Learn games to build solid relationships and create a safe space that invites youth to play and learn! Based on the best-selling book Great Group Games, each game connects to group development stages and back to the assets. Participants will learn how to “play with purpose” having fun AND implementing best practices at the same time.

Audience: advisory groups, clubs/teams, classrooms

Time:  2 hours

Schedule by contacting us at 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net

Connect Well with Youth

January 19th, 2015

You’ve seen adults that know how to really connect with young people – engaging their hearts and minds in such a natural, yet powerful way.  But many well-intentioned youth professionals and educators struggle (if they are honest) with connecting with you on a transparent, authentic and rich level.  We have a workshop to help adults build this skill set:

Title: Connect with Them

Description: To create an environment of trust and support where youth can thrive, you have to take time to connect with them. This workshop will give you practical ideas to welcome youth, check in, learn names and develop common ground – all critical pieces for helping youth learn and thrive. The two hours is packed with activities and strategies to enhance your connection with youth.

Time: 2 hours

Schedule:  615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

 

How Culturally Savvy are You about Your Group?

January 7th, 2015

This quiz is excerpted from Groups Troops, Clubs and Classrooms by Ragsdale and Saylor.  Take it yourself to see how up you are on your young people’s heritage and youth culture.

 

How well do you . . . know them?

Do you know what name they want to go by—their given name or a nickname?

Do you know how to pronounce it correctly?

Do you know their skills and interests?

Do you know whether they have food allergies? Are any sick with a critical illness? Are any on medications?

Do you know whether they have experienced a personal trauma?

Do you know whether they have a learning difference?

Do you know their MI bent?

 

How well do you . . . know their world?

Do you know what their primary, first language is?

Do you know the current trends in youth dress?

Do you know the cultural requirements of their dress (dresses, covering faces . . .)?

Do you know their rituals and traditions?

What’s the popular manner for greeting each other? Knuckle bump? Something else?

Do you know their music? What are the top five songs/bands/groups your group is listening to?

Do you know the social media venues they use to keep up with each other?

Do you keep up with the books, movies, and art interests that appeal to your age group?

 

How well do you . . . know their family life?

Have you met their parents?

Do you know what the family rules are—the ones that might impact rules you set in your program or classroom?

Have you asked about their family traditions?

Do you know whether the family is going through something serious such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, or other major trauma?

 

How well do you . . . know their spiritual and cultural practices?

Do you know whether they must pray at a certain time each day?

Do you know whether they must avoid certain foods?

Do you know whether they are allowed to touch (shake hands, do a high five) a member of the opposite sex?

Do you know how they approach holidays? (What holidays do they celebrate? Are any holidays taboo?)

Do they have meaningful holidays that you should know about?

 

Young people are so amazingly diverse and it takes time to get to know them and their cultures.  Want to find simple strategies for discovering and embracing their diversity? Check out our newest book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Workshop Highlight: Understanding How Youth are Wired

December 6th, 2014

We’ve been doing a lot of research to understand more about how youth are wired – spending time with youth, studying personalities and researching brain development.  We’re fascinated by what we’ve learned and we’re having a blast sharing the info and practical strategies with schools and youth organizations.  Check out this workshop that we’ve designed:

Understanding How Youth are Wired

Each child is wired with unique personality, interests, skills, attitudes and capacities. Each one has individual needs, desires, dreams and wants. There ARE, however, important, general aspects and facts that can help us better understand their psyches and developmental needs. This workshop shares some key insights on the “science” and “wisdom” of human development that will help you in establishing helpful practices and attitudes to maximize your time with your group. Explore brain development, the multiple intelligences, active reflection, and the various learning styles that allow young people to learn well.  Strategies to maximize learning opportunities while actively engaging youth are presented.

Length of time: 3 – 4 hours

Contact us if you want to bring this workshop to your organization – 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

Relationships – the Cornerstone of Education and Youth Work

November 19th, 2014

Connecting with youth is phenomenal progress, but it’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to positive youth development. In this chapter, we’re going to go beyond connecting with youth and cover what it means to really know youth. What it means to be in a relationship with your youth. The time you spend getting to know your youth as individuals—their personalities, quirks, cultures, strengths, and needs—is the most important time you will ever spend in your program.

Think about it: What will your youth remember most about you? Will it be the clothes you wore or how you combed your hair? In all likelihood, youth will remember the kind of relationship you had with them. More than math equations learned, knots tied, and zip-lines crossed, they will remember whether you cared about them. The best way to show you care about people is to get to know them.

Relationships are the cornerstone of your program or classroom. Relationships are built on a culmination of experiences, words, actions, body language, and time.  Never underestimate the power and influence you have on youth.

Looking for practical ideas for connecting with youth in your classroom or program? Check out our newest book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

The Importance of One-on-One Time with Youth

November 12th, 2014

“The larger our society gets, the more vague and less personal . . . I find it more and more appealing to kids to attain one-on-one time with the leaders and/or adults. Only then will you find out any issues that they may be struggling with and/or be able to successfully grow a healthy relationship with them after spending this quality time together. The activity does not necessarily have to be specific here, but the efforts must be intentional.”   Valorie Buck, youth worker and mother

We believe Valorie is spot on!  That’s why we spend so much time talking about CONNECTING with youth in our new book, Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth.  It is full of strategies to help educators, coaches and youth workers bring out the best in young people!  Check it out and share it with someone else that loves young people!

Wise Words on Flexibility in Education and Youth Work

November 5th, 2014

“You have to be aware of where your group is and be ready and willing to throw the plans and curriculum out the window when there are issues to be dealt with today. Forging ahead with your plans without acknowledging their issues simply shows that you are unaware, or worse, don’t really care. Adapting plans and being present builds trust and commitment for tomorrow when it is time to get back to work. Being present and being flexible are crucial.”

– Anderson Williams, entrepreneur, artist, and educational consultant

13 Ways to Enhance Your Brain

October 15th, 2014

Scientists have been doing such much work with the brain.  In our latest book,  Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth, we combined the best of the best in research with our experience in classrooms, teams and youth organizations to create 13 ways to enhance the brain.

1. Get Moving

2. Include Novelty and Exploration

3. Challenge the Brain

4. Talk to One Another

5. Smile, Laugh, and Develop a Sense of Humor

6.  Incorporate Music

7.  Take Time for Meditation

8.  Make Time for Feedback and Reflection

9.  Reduce Stress

10. Drink Water and Lots of it!

11. Practice Focusing and Keeping Attention

12. Feed Short- and Long-Term Memory

13. Yawn and Yawn Often

In the book, we explain more about the science behind each brain enhancer and give you concrete strategies to integrate into your program/classroom/club to enhance youth brains.  Check it out!