Breakfast Club Blog

Stop, focus, and reflect

As schools and afterschool programs across the country are gearing up for the 2010-11 school year, now is a good time to stop, take a breath, and reflect about where we are. While this might seem counterintuitive to some of us (I know many of us try to take that breather at the end of the school year), it’s always good to go into a new year with an open mind. As someone who conducts training, professional development, and technical assistance with afterschool program staff, I often focus o...Read More

After Afterschool: Developing the Future Workforce

Most school-based efforts to introduce students into the workforce take the form of job fairs that promote traditional careers, but by all accounts, ten years from now the job market will look noticeably different than it does today. Some traditional jobs are likely to disappear. Others will survive, but the job descriptions and requirements will change. Some new fields, such as “green” technology, will evolve into major employment sectors. Entirely new professions will emerge, ones ...Read More

Teaching Creativity

A couple of weeks ago, I received a copy of a Newsweek.com story on one of the multiple listservs I receive. I confess, I don’t usually read everything that I receive through a listserv, and often, I will save an article or link “to read when I have time.” This article, however, caught my eye, and I am really grateful I took a further look. Titled The Creativity Crisis: For the First Time, Research Shows that American Creativity is Declining. What Went Wrong—And How We Can Fix ...Read More

Ed Reform: A Turning Point for Afterschool?

It’s been a hot, hot summer here on the East Coast. But the sweltering temperature is nothing compared to the heated debate going on all around the country as the Administration and Congress take up serious education reform efforts. A lot of big issues are on the table, including major shifts in funding for afterschool programs as well as what happens after school and in the summer. At the center of the debate is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a l...Read More

Picking Teams Painlessly

Being the last one picked is just no fun. What if the last words you heard before you became a team member was “Alright, I guess we have to take you”? The first play hasn’t been made and already, you feel like a failure. For some students, the mere act of picking teams is so difficult they simply choose not to participate in physical activity, thus avoiding the stress. The emotional safety of our students is as essential as the physical safety and it can begin with the act of p...Read More

Who You Are Speaks Louder than Anything You Can Say

A troubled mother took her daughter to see Mohandas Gandhi, who was world-renowned for his great spiritual discipline. It seems the young girl had become addicted to eating sweets, and her mother wanted Gandhi to speak to her about this harmful habit and convince her to drop it. Upon hearing this request, Gandhi paused in silence and then told the mother, “Bring the girl back to me in three weeks and I will speak to her then.” Just as she was instructed, the mother returned with her ...Read More

4 Quick Thoughts on Leadership

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln I love people who push themselves to perform at the highest level possible. Because I’m a child of the 80’s, where we proudly rocked mullets and tight rolled our jeans, I think about Michael Jordan. The game was over and you’d find him in the gym shooting 500 free throws. He had an internal drive to do better. He wanted to be the best he could be. Because I can actually hear your staff and students banging on your ...Read More

It All Adds Up: Hiring, Training, and Evaluating for the Things You Really Care About

I was fortunate enough to lead a pre-conference session at this year’s BOOST conference with my good friend Scott Arizala who is the Bono of the camping world. This guy is a bonafied rockstar. He trains and speaks at camps across the country and is a national keynoter and thought leader in the camping community. We co-led a session titled: “Retaining and Sustaining in Times of Crisis.” Along with the attendees we had a solid 6 hours to dream and scheme and plan and vent and cre...Read More

Seven Super Tools to Prevent Misbehavior

Super Spaces When you walk into a gymnasium, you behave differently than when you walk into a library. The environment sends cues to the brain about how you should feel and behave. Provide an environment that encourages desirable behavior. The space should say “Play with me!” in a way that clearly defines HOW to play. The way you arrange your space and what you put in your space tells children what types of behavior are expected in that space. Control the environment, not the child. ...Read More

Adolescent Girls and the Media: A Look Beyond the Mirror

Let’s face it- growing up female can be tough, but growing up female in this day and age can be REALLY tough. There are a LOT (and I mean a lot) of unique challenges that adolescent girls face and one of them happens to be the “M” word. What is the “M” word, you ask? Here’s a hint: something that has the ability to impact girls’ perception of themselves and their body image? Any guesses? Well, chances are you probably said media. If you did (and I’...Read More

The Challenge of Creating a Culture

Almost every day, I am a teacher, a student, or a leader. Sometimes I play one role at a time. Sometimes I play all three at once. One could say I dance in between them. I’m sure that all of us who work with you move between these roles and watch our peers and our students do the same. The question I keep coming back to, no matter what role I am in, is how do I create a culture that I can be proud of and inspired to be a part of? And what I mean by culture in this context is the feeling in...Read More

Summer Style

School’s almost out, and across the country kids are getting ready for summer camp. Back in the day, everyone brought a big trunk, loaded with bug spray and books, bandannas and band aids and of course, secret stashes of candy. There was lots of anticipation about which counselors would be there, which kids would be in your cabin, and what activities you were going to sign up for. Believe it or not, these camps still exist. Sadly, they’re mostly not available to our after school kids...Read More