Minnesota Walkabout Fellowship
(December 2012) The 2011-12 Minnesota Walkabout Fellowship was a year-long effort to bring experienced youth workers together in order to generate more wisdom, language, and leadership around youth worker preparation and practice in Minnesota. At both the state and national levels, a growing collection of standards, competencies, credentials, and career pathways are being established to guide and standardize youth work preparation and practice.
News from the Center for Youth Development
4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation
(January 2013) Minnesota 4-H received $82,000 this year to continue its 4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation. Jessica Russo, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu are the co-PI's and this is the third year for this funding in Minnesota.
The 4-H National Mentoring Program is recognized for implementing effective mentoring strategies with goals of improving family relationships, increasing social competencies, increasing school attendance, reducing juvenile delinquency, youth unemployment, and school failure while incorporating core principles of positive youth development to improve the well-being of at-risk youth ages 8-17, especially underserved populations of Latino, African American, and children of incarcerated parents.
The funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports these initiatives that assist in the development and maturity of community programs providing mentoring services to high-risk populations under the 4-H National Mentoring Program. The goal is to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problems and high-risk behaviors. The program objective is to provide direct one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, or peer-mentoring services to under-served youth populations.
Identified objectives are:
- Improved outcomes for at-risk youth;
- Improved mentoring program administration; and
- Improved organizational capacity.
In St. Paul, Jessica Russo manages two programs, Kid Power, which is a group of 4th - 8th grade kids focused on digital media, and the McDonough 4-H Club, which is located at McDonough housing. Youth and mentors meet weekly using a group mentoring model (ratio of 4 youth to 1 adult) to explore STEM, engage in service learning, and develop goals and leadership skills for overcoming barriers to higher education. Trips to campus, leader retreats, fairs, and businesses help connect and apply learning and establish long-term commitment. Family empowerment sessions engage families with youth educational goals.
At the Fond du Lac Reservation, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu manage the matching of youth and mentors based on career interest. The participants take part in monthly group mentoring sessions focused on gardening, archery and cooking, and co-develop field trips to facilitate deeper career exploration. Youth also participate in weekly 4-H club programming and monthly family night out events. Facilitated by 4-H staff, Brookston Center staff, and other community partners, these events are co-developed with youth.
Minnesota 4-H partnering with ICI on a youth project
(March 2013) Minnesota 4-H is partnering with The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) on a project that brings together youth as partners in improving their communities through inclusive service learning.
The project titled “Together We Make a Difference: Inclusive Service Learning as Part of 4-H Youth Development Programs,”equips teachers and youth leaders with research-based activities to help high school youth who are at risk of dropping out of school and disengaging from their communities, to become partners in planning and carrying out service learning projects. The goal is to instill hope, a sense of purpose, self-confidence, and a positive vision of the future.
Center for Youth Development’s Jessica Russo and Anita Gilbertson, along with ICI staff lead this one-year project, delivered through four 4-H clubs in Ramsey and Anoka counties. The project began July 1, 2012 and is funded by a $38,000 grant from the University’s College of Education and Human Development and Extension. Read the full story here.
Dale Blyth receives the 2013 MnSACA Award of Excellence
(February 2013) Dale Blyth, former director and associate dean of University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development, received the 2013 Minnesota School-Age Care Alliance (MnSACA) Award of Excellence for his commitment to strengthening youth work and non-formal learning across Minnesota. MnSACA cited Dale’s systematic efforts to address major issues in the field of out-of-school time learning, particularly his service in 2004-2005 as chief of staff for the University of Minnesota President's Commission on Out-of-School Time and its report "Journeys into Community: Transforming Youth Opportunities for Learning and Development,” and his publication in 2009, Exploring the Supply and Demand for Community Learning Opportunities in Minnesota: A Survey of Minnesota parents and Youth.
Our work featured elsewhere
- 4/1 4-H Science: Evaluating Across Sites to Critically Examine Training of Adult Facilitators | Pamela Larson Nippolt | Journal of Youth Development
- 1/9 Thinking Space: Reflective Practice Meets Youth Work Supervision | Herman | Youth & Policy
- 1/8 Raising Expectations for Out-of-School Time | Grant | Harvard Family Research Project
- 1/8 Youth worker reasoning about dilemmas encountered in practice: Expert-novice differences | Kate Walker, Reed Larson | Journal of Youth Development, page 5
- 1/8 4-H and Forestry Afterschool Clubs: A Collaboration to Foster Stewardship Attitudes and Behaviors in Youth | Gupta, Grant, Lorek Strauss | Journal of Extension