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:
- 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!)
- 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).
- Take pictures of young people in your program, and let them autograph their pictures. Seeing images with the names will help you remember.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!Filed under Educational Resources, Positive Youth Development | Comments Off
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!Filed under Building Character, Educational Resources, Positive Youth Development, Youth Leadership and Youth Power | Comments Off
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.
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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.Filed under Educational Resources, Positive Youth Development | Comments Off
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.netFiled under Building Character, Creative Literacy, Educational Resources, Positive Youth Development, Workshops | Comments Off
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
–Mark Twain, author
Encourage young people to be brave and try new things. It’s easy for people to get stuck in a rut, doing the same things they have always done. Sometimes that stems from complacency, insecurity, or fear. Challenge your youth to be adventurous and be bold. If they express fear about something they have always wanted to try, ask them to consider these questions:
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if you tried it?
- What’s the best thing that could happen if you tried it?
- What would give you the courage to try it?
- How can I or other adults support you in your adventures?
Sometimes that little push is all a young person needs. Remember that for some young people, trying new things is a scary adventure. Be the cheerleader and the encourager as you guide them into the unknown. They just might discover a whole new part of themselves along the way.
This is an excerpt from 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!
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Visuals can give expression to feelings and interests that words can’t express. Music can reveal emotions and aspirations better than simple words. Poetry can capture hearts, imaginations, and minds, giving us new understanding. The arts can expand our view and help us see our experiences and the world through new eyes. Collect photos, songs, and poems to use as prompts to help youth explore purpose and passion.
- Let youth use Pinterest or Instagram to craft a visual story of the things that are important to them. Use picture books to engage with youth to explore a variety of topics. Peter H. Reynolds’s The Dot illustrates how a teacher helps a student discover a hidden talent.
- Use music fromYouTube, Pandora, Songza, or Spotify to engage in conversations about passions and purpose. (And, as you’ll recall from Chapter X, music feeds the brain as well!) What message does the music hold? What song would they choose to represent their values? Their purpose? The difference they want to make?
- Use poems or quotes written by youth or adults that speak to passion, purpose, and possibilities.
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!Filed under Practical Ideas | Comments Off
Excerpted from Groups Troops, Clubs and Classrooms by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor, 2014
This activity, developed by Sharon Williams, a seasoned youth services professional, lets youth explore their identity. Get into pairs. One participant will be the “questioner”; the other will be the “respondent.” When the facilitator says “go,” the questioner asks, “Who are you?” The respondent answers with a descriptor of themselves (“I am a brother,” “I’m a gamer”). The questioner asks the question again, “Who are you?” and the respondent answers with a different descriptor. The question and response goes back and forth until the facilitator calls time (after about 60–90 seconds). When time is called, the partners switch roles. Afterward, debrief them with the following questions:
- Did you learn something new about your partner?
- What things do you have in common?
- Looking at the different things that make you “you,” what are you most proud to be?
Want to learn more? 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!Filed under Creative Play, Practical Ideas, Teambuilding & Play with Purpose | Comments Off
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!Filed under Building Character, Educational Resources, Nurturing Families, Positive Youth Development | Comments Off
If you want young people to really talk and voice their opinions, you need to listen twice as much as you speak. Never ask for youth input if you don’t intend to truly use their ideas. Disregarding young people’s feedback is one of the best ways to ensure that youth won’t contribute to your planning.
Want practical ways to practice listening more attentively? 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!Filed under Positive Youth Development, Teambuilding & Play with Purpose | Comments Off
- Who makes most of the decisions that affect youth in your program—youth or adults?
- How can you start giving youth more opportunities to make decisions in your program?
- What young people could you ask for program input?
- What would you like to know about?
- How will you let them know that you are listening to their feedback and implementing their ideas?
These are some of the questions we ask in 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!Filed under Positive Youth Development, Youth Leadership and Youth Power | Comments Off
Lunch and Learns are perfect for the small group experience of 6-12 people that wants a deeper professional development opportunity. Participants meet on a regular basis and practice skills in-between sessions and have time to reflect and ask questions about implementation. Research says that this kind of learning style is more likely to create change in work habits AND produce more long-lasting results in your organization.
Our most popular Lunch & Learn is called: Connect * Explore *Grow – Strategies for Youth Engagement
Description: This interactive learning circle will explore a variety of creative strategies to engage youth – meeting them where they are in order to help them grow in mind, body and spirit. Specific strategies will include service-learning, play with purpose, discovering a sense of self, literacy and creative arts. You will leave sessions with practical and inspiring ideas to connect with young people, access to resources to help them explore the world around them and grow in their goals as well as activities to build literacy and creativity skills. Come ready to learn and share.
Length of Time: 4 Sessions, 2 hours each session
Let us know if you are interested in scheduling a Lunch & Learn for your organization or school. We can facilitate this topic, or combine your choice of other workshops that we offer – custom-designed to fit your group. 615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net
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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.Filed under Educational Resources, Positive Youth Development, Teambuilding & Play with Purpose, Workshops | Comments Off
“Imagine a young boy raised by a father who comes home after work and is abusive to his children and wife on a regular basis. The young boy grows up to despise his father, and by the time he reaches his teenage years, is ready to make something happen. Abuse shelters are available, but sadly he’s learned not to trust adults. He could call the cops, but the last time his mom called he returned home a day later only to find her more battered than ever. So he decides what he needs to do, run away from home and finally be free from abuse.
According to a recent study by the Mobile Health Team serving local shelters and drop-in centers in Hollywood, 76.7% of runaway youth reported histories of abuse and neglect.”
The Street Angels Ministry at the Mission Gathering Church in San Diego supports homeless teenagers. Volunteers gather twice a month to fill backpacks with supplies for survival on the streets. They deliver the goods to young people that they meet on the streets. Instead of just preaching the gospel, they show God’s love through their actions. Their goal is, “To try to let teens know that they are loved and cared for despite their situation.” For more information, visit missiongathering.com)
— Reprinted with permission from our book Ready to Go Service Projects: 140 Ways for Youth Groups to Lend a Hand. Find more ways to help youth engage their skills, talents and passions in serving the community by picking up your own book at your favorite online bookseller OR bring us to your school, church or community organization to lead service-learning workshop!Filed under Positive Youth Development, Service-Learning | Comments Off
We talk a lot about play with purpose and learning through play. Oftentimes people want to learn more about the power of play – why is it important and how can they facilitate powerful learning through play. So we developed this workshop to meet that need for schools and community organizations:
Title: Why Play? The Foundation Behind the Fun
Description: Play isn’t just play. It’s transformational. Play can feed the brain; develop multiple intelligences and make a-ha moments of learning come to life. Play provides opportunities to build and transform relationships and create venues for youth voice, creativity and self-expression – all attributes that help develop the whole child. Based on the best-selling book, Great Group Games, each game connects to group development stages and to the research on Positive Youth Development. Explore the theory behind play and why games are an important part of your students’ education. Learn how to “play with purpose” – having fun AND implementing best practices at the same time. Walk away with games to help you in the classroom.
Length of time: 2-4 hours.
Also ask us about our all day train-the-trainer in The Art of Facilitating Games.
615-262-9676 or cad@TheAssetEdge.net.
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