Breakfast Club Blog

ExScaredEd: Fear & Excitement of the Unknown

My son Dylan just started first grade a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to it, he coined a new word to describe how he was feeling: ExScaredEd. A combination of excited and scared, he said that was the best way to express how he was approaching this new year. I love it. I love, love, love it. Since then, he added “ExNerveEd” to describe being excited and nervous, and “ExSKYted” to express being extra-excited. Which are both pretty cool too. But I’m stuck on ExScaredEd. Because isn’t that ...Read More

Calming Back-to-School Jitters for LGBTQ Youth

Will I make friends? What if I get lost? Will I like my teachers? What if I do something embarrassing? These are the back to school jitters we’re used to helping youth navigate. We have all kinds of strategies to help young people feel comfortable in their new classroom or after school program — putting their name on a desk or name tag, icebreakers, activities that encourage youth to get to know each other — the list is endless. But consider the young person who is unsure of his or h...Read More

Our Kids Are Stressed Out – 5 Ways to Empower Youth To Find Their CALMM

Focus, Pay Attention, Sit Still, Listen, Follow Directions… Just a few phrases youth are bombarded with on a daily basis whether it’s coming from their parents, teachers or other adults in their lives. As adults it can seem as if our words go in one ear and out the other and that children lack attention, motivation and behavior. Our kids Are Stressed Out – Empowering Youth the find their CALMM…is something they have immediate control over or is an intentional response. In my years as an educatio...Read More

Speak on What We Do! Youth Development is for You!

I believe you cannot learn youth development without experiencing it. What I mean by “youth development” is distinct from “education.” Reflecting on nearly 19 years in our field of many names, I embrace Expanded Learning here in California as it embodies the heart of our work.  When I hear Michael Funk, Director of the Expanded Learning Division at the California Department of Education, talk about the importance of love, I feel at home.  It inspires me to reach out to those of you who can relat...Read More

Three Shining Lights Against a Dark Cloud

Under normal circumstances, I’m not one to be political in a public and professional forum, but really, I’m in need of some writing therapy. Every day, I read the latest news story about another negative appointment to the President- elect’s cabinet. Who knew there were so many people who both seem to despise the role of government AND also want to lead it? While alarming, those aren’t even the most upsetting parts of my daily doldrums. What really brings me down are the ...Read More

The Power of Positive Thought

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, life can become overwhelming. As youth workers we want the young people we work with to embrace the positive messages of the holiday season, be it gratitude and thankfulness to knowing that they are loved and cherished. While we go the extra mile at work to ensure our youth enjoy their holiday season, we may also be stressing about our personal schedules and responsibilities around the holidays. How will I find time to purchase all those presents...Read More

Grow Your Program with Gardening

My two driving passions are youth development and access to fresh food. So the idea of incorporating gardening into youth programs gets me very fired up. There are a lot of great garden resources out there including this previous Breakfast Club Blog: Garden-Based Learning. Truth be told I could chat about gardening plans and show you pictures of my little urban garden all day. But first we should talk about how gardening fits in to your bigger, grander program plan. Because gardening fits into e...Read More

BOOST Breakfast Club 2015 Recap

Thank you for sharing 2015 with us! We look forward to this coming year and creating opportunities for change in educational and social services agencies serving youth in the out-of-school time hours. Our blog has a wealth of resources you and your organization from professionals in out-school-time, youth development, and education from across the globe. Our topics include: 21st Century Learning, Advocacy & Policy, Building Relationships, Closing the Achievement Gap, Common Core, Community C...Read More

Quality Comes First on the Road to Critical Skills and Mindsets

There’s a burgeoning conversation about what kids need in America. More and more, educators, youth developers, and policymakers are thinking and talking about how we help young people build critical skills and mindsets like persistence, self-awareness, empathy, and communication. Paul Tough’s popular book How Children Succeed brought these concepts to popular culture, even Ira Glass got on board in an episode of This American Life! Though we haven’t yet settled on one common ph...Read More

My Why: It’s Personal

”This work is so rewarding.” “It’s important work.” “It’s needed.” “I found what I am good at.” “I am inspired every day.” “I am kind of person that has to enjoy my work”. “It’s service and service is important to me.” “I am passionate about kids”. While all of these are true, these reasons are not nearly the reason why I really want to change the life of a child. So, let’s get...Read More

Positive Youth Development & Continuous Quality Improvement

In adolescence I disengaged from my education. While I had no problem making grades, I did not perceive relevance in my education. My peers and I considered ourselves socially conscious but we did not have a positive outlet to put our energy into. Luckily… I continued on to higher education. This is when it all changed. I pursued my own interests and became enthusiastic about learning. I participated in extra curricular activities including my first youth work experiences. I found my calling. Th...Read More

Revising Beyond the Bell – A Few Takeaways

I began my career as a consultant and trainer for afterschool and expanded learning programs at PlusTime New Hampshire. While I was there, I had one resource I would turn to time and time again to support the programs I was working with: the Beyond the Bell Toolkit. As a consultant dealing with a variety of program needs and questions, the Toolkit was a great resource for me because there were so many tools available on topics ranging from management to evaluation to program design and delivery....Read More

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