Professional Development


10/21 Basic Data Reflection Strategies 

Wednesday, October 21st 2:00-3:30

Many of us are exploring new ways to collect, reflect on, and make meaning of data, especially with few options to gather in person. Whether you are new to using data to improve your programming or are looking for more practices and strategies, this is for you. In this workshop, participants will clarify why they are engaging in data reflection and build rapid-cycle data reflection skills using a sample data set. The workshop will also include tools, strategies and resources that will be useful during the pandemic and beyond.

Facilitators: Jennifer Griffin-Weisner, Ignite Afterschool; Clarinda Solberg, United Way of Central Minnesota-Partner for Student Success

10/28 Developing Quality Virtual Learning Environments for Youth

Wednesday, October 28th 2:00-3:30

Stay at home efforts have presented youth development professionals with the opportunity to develop innovative learning environments to engage young people in positive youth development experiences. As youth development professionals embrace this opportunity, we need to pause and intentionally review positive youth development principles before designing and launching new virtual learning environments.  

Designing a high quality experience needs to be the focus regardless of the learning environment.

There are elements of in-person learning environments that are easily replicated online, such as providing youth opportunities to share their learning. However, online learning environments present challenges as well, especially with new audiences.  Building and maintaining online relationships will require more effort to ensure youth are comfortable and engaged.

Youth development professionals are quickly adapting and making innovative strides to ensure we are connecting with and continuing to provide positive experiences for our young people. Taking the time to pause, focus on the need, and design an engaging, impactful experience does take time and is hard work.

In this workshop we will explore methods for youth development professionals to ensure high quality learning environments for youth.

Facilitated by: Jan Derdowski, Regional Extension Educator, University of Minnesota

10/27 or 10/29 Measuring What Matters Most

Tuesday, October 27th 11:00-12:00 or* Thursday, October 29th 1:00-2:00 - (*only attend one session)

In a number of informal polls of Minnesota youth workers, we know that almost half of programs are providing some support to youth online, another 40% running a mix of online and in-person support and the remaining are not able to offer programs at all. The afterschool and community based youth work has shifted dramatically due to the pandemic. 

Nothing during a pandemic can be thought of in the same way and youth programs (and those that support and fund them) must find new ways to document, learn and respond in an entirely different landscape. This includes what, how and why we evaluate. Appropriate outcomes to expect pre Covid19 may need to be directed towards capturing changes and adaptations youth programs are making in response to how the world has changed. 

This web session acknowledges the uncertainty and shifts occurring in youth programs and provides a series of questions to decide what is reasonable and useful to measure given the new reality.

Registration includes access to a planning guide and a curated set of reports, resources and templates you can download.

Facilitated by: Deborah Moore, University of Minnesota Youth Work Learning Lab Director and Faculty in Youth Studies and Youth Development Leadership Departments in the School of Social Work

10/30 Teaching a Critical Lens: Critical media literacy embodied in theater arts & youth media  

Friday, October 30th 10:00-12:00 

Throughout COVID-19 and the election our youth are being bombarded by more conflicting media messages than ever. Learn how teaching critical literacy will help you and the young people you work with better understand the biases of those media messages. Experience elements of perspective taking and questioning texts through a storytelling game and an activity-with-a-twist analyzing campaign ads.

“The process of learning how to tell a story is a process of empowerment. We all want to narrate our lives, but very few of us have been given the techniques and insights that can help us form plots to reach our goals”
- Jack Zipes, Creative Storytelling

Faciltators: Deacon Warner and Maria Asp

11/5 Stuck at Home? Let's Play!  

Thursday, November 5th 2:00-3:00 

Play and social interaction are more important for children now than ever before. Children are stuck at home, avoiding others, spending too much time on screens and many are feeling isolated. Play is an amazing tool that brings us closer together, gives us a chance to step away from reality and just laugh and enjoy ourselves. Join Playworks for a virtual, interactive training centered around setting up opportunities for play in the virtual world. You'll learn and try on games that work virtually, learn some best practices for managing a group in a virtual call and you'll leave with plenty of digital resources so you can keep playing and bring the fun back to the children you work with. Come ready to play! 

Facilitator: Brandon Elsner, Playworks

11/6  Pandemic? Let's Play (Safely)!  

Friday, November 6th 11:00-12:30

Play is more important for children now than ever before, but how can we set up a safe environment for them to play? Join Playworks for an in-person, active, and socially distanced training centered around planning for, setting up and facilitating play in this COVID landscape. You'll learn and try on games that are safe to play, considerations for sharing equipment and toys, and group management strategies that help keep kids safe and engaged. You'll leave with multiple digital resources so you can bring the fun back to your site and the kids you work with.  Be prepared with comfortable clothes and a mask!

Facilitator: Brandon Elsner, Playworks 

Youth Experience Data: Youth Voice to Inform your Work   - Previously Recorded 10/7

Getting feedback from young people is always important. As we operate in new ways and in new spaces, it is even more important now to create the space, ask the questions, and be responsive to young people in intentional ways. Join Jocelyn from Sprockets as we share ideas and tangible examples of engaging ways to gather feedback from your participants in the moment that will inform your work as it continues to evolve.

Facilitated by: Jocelyn Wiedow, Sprockets

Introduction to Building Youth-Adult Continuous Program Improvement Teams - Previously Recorded 10/14

Come hear Youth Leadership Initiative share why it matters to engage youth in evaluation, key principles of involving youth in program improvement, and findings from their recent evaluation of youth engagement in Making Meaning of Multiple Data Sets (M3) for Ignite Afterschool.  Participants will hear from youth and adult practitioners, and leave with ideas and recommendations for incorporating youth participants in the CPI process. 

Facilitated by: Annie Nguyen, Lori Vang, Nou Yang, Sally Brown, and Vishal Psingh.

Partner Trainings

More training opportunities from the community:

MYouth Pro - An Initiative of Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA)

Minnesota Literacy Council - Volunteer Tutor Trainings

Minnesota Literacy Council - Tutoring Basics

NorthStar Youth Work e-studies

U of M Center for Youth Development