Professional Development

Focus on Quality - SEL Series 

What: Series of professional development with a focus on Social, Emotional, and Learning components of quality.  This year we will begin focusing on ways to support Emotion Coaching and Cultivating Empathy.  These sessions will NOT be recorded due to 1) sessions are designed for learning through interaction and conversations with others and 2) materials are owned by the Weikart Center for Youth Development.

Who: Great for front line staff or leads/supervisors who can bring content learning back to their sites.

Commitment: The three workshops in the Emotion series are best experienced together as there are concepts that build and reinforce each other.  That said, attendees will get something out of them as standalone sessions as well.

Focus on Quality SEL Session 1: Foundations and Self-Awareness of Emotional Development 

IN PERSON - Friday, November 19th  10:00am-12:00 - Limited space- REGISTER HERE

The ability of adults to support young people in identifying and managing their emotions starts with the adults’ ability to do the same. In this experiential workshop, participants will deepen their understanding of how people interpret and feel emotions, how they personally experience hot buttons and emotional activation; as well as explore self-regulation. Time will be spent considering the ways one’s own emotional self-awareness can influence their work with young people and identifying techniques for modeling empathy and emotion management in programming. 

Facilitated by: Jocelyn Wiedow, Sprockets

Focus on Quality SEL Session 2: Emotion Coaching

This workshop is being provided in either an online format or an in person option.

Friday, December 10th 10:00am- 12:00 - via Zoom - REGISTER HERE FOR ONLINE WORKSHOP *Zoom link will be sent within 48 hours

Friday, December 17th 11:00-1:00 (*note time) - in Person - REGISTER HERE FOR IN PERSON WORKSHOP *Calendar invite will be sent within 48 hours * Masks required

By building knowledge of emotion coaching and developing skills that teach young people to identify and safely manage their emotional experiences, youth workers can deepen the meaning of their work and promote positive skill building with them. In this interactive session, participants will explore ways culture and personal histories can influence the understanding and interpretation of emotions; identify best practices for facilitating effective emotion coaching; and practice skills that support young people to accurately name and navigate their emotions. Additionally, participants will plan next steps for incorporating these concepts into their work with young people.


  • Small group breakouts for you and others to discuss content
  • Small and large group reflections and unpacking content


  • Efforts to be fully present to content and process
  • Sharing your thoughts or ideas in small groups, verbally and/or through chat

Facilitated by: Jocelyn Wiedow, Sprockets 

 Survey design: Strategies for collecting better survey data from youth - webinar

Wednesday, December 8th 10:30am - 12:00  REGISTER HERE

While many evaluators agree that surveys need to be carefully adapted for children and adolescents to be developmentally appropriate, many are still unclear on effective practices. Learn how to collect better survey data from youth. Gather examples and recommendations for item-writing, response options, formatting, pre-testing and administration of surveys for youth.

*This event is hosted by the University of Minnesota's Extension Center for Youth Development as part of their Brown bag webinar series

Focus on Quality SEL Session 3: Cultivating Empathy

Date and time TBD

By incorporating modeling empathy, youth workers can add value to their programs and promote positive skill building for young people. In this session, participants will practice strategies for supporting empathy building, including active listening skills that model empathy and encourage young people to express their emotions in a healthy way. Participants will also explore best practices for supporting empathy building in programming and plan next steps for incorporating these concepts into their work with young people.

Facilitated by: Jocelyn Wiedow, Sprockets

 Taking the leap: Expanding program innovation with youth

Wednesday, January 26th 10:30am - 12:00 REGISTER HERE

Participants will discover how innovation is an ongoing, repetitive process of translating new ideas into improved program performance. Using examples from a study of innovative Extension programs in Minnesota and nationwide, presenters will describe a framework of five key factors that can support or resist innovation and share some useful tools to help faculty use this framework in a variety of ways to strengthen program innovation through improving the factors that support it. The session will include hands-on experience and tools for us to employ in practice.

*This event is hosted by the University of Minnesota's Extension Center for Youth Development as part of their Brown bag webinar series

YouTube YouthWorker Playlist

Check out the Sprockets YouTube channel for recordings of some of our past virtual offerings. Note that not all trainings are recorded and based on the interactive nature, we always encourage participating in real time when able.

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