Author: Jenna Bacolor

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 ...

Why it’s Important to Ask “What Could Go Wrong?” During Program Planning

Planning a new program or improvements to an existing program usually involves setting objectives, planning activities, and other critical tasks. In the excitement of planning something new, it can seem like a buzzkill to ask, “What could go wrong?” Several months ago, I started asking this question consistently with staff teams in my division of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. We discus...

5 Ways to Engage Teen Volunteers in Creating a Positive Camp Culture

Here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we’re less than two weeks from the last day of school and the launch of 11 weeks of summer day camps. My division of the Ann Arbor Public School district – Community Education and Recreation – is busy preparing for over 100 camps, dozens of staff, and thousands of campers. Through our popular High school Volunteer Program, 160 teens will build skills and provide ...

Focusing on Wildly Important Goals

If you’re a mid-career professional like me, you’ve participated in a lot of strategic planning processes. I’ve found that the good ones are inspiring, create a shared sense of purpose and momentum, and result in measurable outcomes. The bad ones, well, don’t. After leading a department-wide reorganization process in 2014, I knew two things: we needed to do some strategic p...