Monday, July 19, 2010

Recipe for Building Relationships

Building relationships is one of the most important roles of after-school. As youth get older, especially noticeable beginning in 4th grade, youth become more focused on the world outside of family, and it is important that they understand how to build strong relationships with others, both peer and adult. The recipe for relationships is simple to recite:

time + care + belief = strong relationship

and much more difficult to turn into reality.

Each of these ingredients is equally important and one of surest ways to ensure that you are successful in building relationships with youth and colleagues, is to intentionally follow this recipe.

Time: People, especially young people, seem to intuitively know that what is important to you is what you spend time on or with. Time says, “I value you enough to give you one of my most precious assets, time.” Spending time with people gives you an opportunity to find common ground. Use every minute of your after-school program to get to know, the young people in your program on an authentic level.

Care: Care is making sure that the road blocks are either evident, so the person you are building a relationship with can navigate his/her way around them, or that those road blocks are removed so the way is not impeded. Care is about empowering others to do the best that they can and it is also about gradually releasing the responsibility of new things to a person to ensure success.

Belief: Belief means holding others in unconditional positive regard and believing in the possibility and potential of the person we are building a relationship with. When you think of the youth in your program, as well as the staff and the other adults that surround the youth, it is important to believe that the best day for each of these people is yet to come—that they are continuing to become a full embodiment of their own potential.

Research has found that the most important factor in determining resiliency in young people is a positive relationships with a competent and caring adult. After-school staff is well-positioned to be that person outside of the youth’s family, to fill this role. Promote the development of relationships among staff and students.

Not so usual celebrations…

July 19th is Raspberry Cake Day. Raspberries are available in the summer, fresh and sweet. Here are some Raspberry Facts:
  • There are over 200 types of raspberries in the world grown on five continents.
  • In Greek history, the city of Troy is mentioned often. It is the people of Troy who first noted that they enjoyed eating raspberries.
  • Raspberries grow on brambles (bushes that like colder climate and also are quite protective of the fruit because a bramble is a prickly shrub).
  • Raspberries belong to the rose family.
  • Greeks first discovered raspberries growing on the slopes of Mount Ida in Turkey.
  • In the 4th Century Romans began cultivating raspberries.
  • Raspberries have a hollow center.
  • Raspberries are not really a berry but rather a composite fruit that is a collection of smaller seed fruits called “drupelets”.
  • Raspberries can be made into a delicious jam.
  • Raspberries can be red, gold, purple, black, and white in color.
Activity for Kids

Have a taste test. Purchase a variety of different berries and have youth taste each of them and then make a list of words that describe the taste. Consider strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, ollalieberries, and cranberries.
After the taste test, have young people select their favorite type.

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