Thursday, July 22, 2010

Youth As Assets

When we talk about “youth as assets”, certainly we are looking at youth through the lens of youth development. We are recognizing that youth are a “value-add” and can do things that help themselves, family, community and of course, the after-school program. One of the value-adds that youth can bring to the program is enthusiasm and a willingness to try. Think about using the computer. If you are older or you know someone who is, you know that older Americans can be timid when it comes to using the computer. When it comes to Face Book or Social Networks, they either avoid altogether or use rather awkwardly. But when a teenager comes to these web forums, they are absolutely fearless. They are intuitive and figure out what to do just by trying things out—no directions needed. So how might you harness this? How about having a club that allows youth to teach senior citizens how to use the web or participate in web chats and so on. Think about how both sides of this equation would win! This is just one very simple way to think about how youth can use the talents and skills they have to be an asset to others. In doing this, youth are then more likely to see themselves as a contributor, an asset. Ultimately, this is the real prize—the feeling of self- worth and the development of self-esteem fully developed in all our youth.

Not so usual celebrations…

July 22nd is Hammock Day. Just thinking about this unusual celebration conjures a vision of a not-to-warm afternoon in the shade of a big tree, gently swinging back and forth until you are napping or nearly napping. In order to fully celebrate this day, it is a requirement that you spend as much time as you can outdoors RELAXING! How’s that for an awesome holiday!

Activities for Kids

Have kids work together in small groups to write a story about the “perfect” summer day. Have them begin the story with getting out of bed and ending as they return to bed in the evening. Have youth think about all of the really terrific things they would like to do—fish, play ball, go to an amusement park, shop at the mall, go to a movie—whatever would be the most fun. Have them think about what they would eat and who they would want to be with. Have students illustrate the day and then share with the entire group.

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