Professional Development for youth workers from home


From Ignite Afterschool

Basic Data Reflection Strategies

October 21, 2-3:30pm

Many of us are exploring new ways to collect, reflect on, and make meaning of data, especially with few options to gather in person. Whether you are new to using data to improve your programming or are looking for more practices and strategies, this is for you. In this workshop, participants will clarify why they are engaging in data reflection and build rapid-cycle data reflection skills using a sample data set. The workshop will also include tools, strategies and resources that will be useful during the pandemic and beyond.

Facilitators: Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner, Ignite Afterschool; Clarinda Solberg, United Way of Central Minnesota-Partner for Student Success



Measuring What Matters Most

October 27, 11am-Noon OR October 29, 1-2pm (Same session offered twice)

In a number of informal polls of Minnesota youth workers, we know that almost half of programs are providing some support to youth online, another 40% running a mix of online and in-person support and the remaining are not able to offer programs at all. The afterschool and community based youth work has shifted dramatically due to the pandemic.

Nothing during a pandemic can be thought of in the same way and youth programs (and those that support and fund them) must find new ways to document, learn and respond in an entirely different landscape. This includes what, how and why we evaluate. Appropriate outcomes to expect pre Covid19 may need to be directed towards capturing changes and adaptations youth programs are making in response to how the world has changed.

This web session acknowledges the uncertainty and shifts occurring in youth programs and provides a series of questions to decide what is reasonable and useful to measure given the new reality.

Registration is required and includes access to a planning guide and a curated set of reports, resources and templates you can download.

Facilitated by: Deborah Moore, University of Minnesota Youth Work Learning Lab Director and Faculty in Youth Studies and Youth Development Leadership Departments in the School of Social Work




Developing Quality Virtual Learning Environments for Youth

October 28, 2-3:30pm

Stay at home efforts have presented youth development professionals with the opportunity to develop innovative learning environments to engage young people in positive youth development experiences. As youth development professionals embrace this opportunity, we need to pause and intentionally review positive youth development principles before designing and launching new virtual learning environments.

Designing a high quality experience needs to be the focus regardless of the learning environment.

There are elements of in-person learning environments that are easily replicated online, such as providing youth opportunities to share their learning. However, online learning environments present challenges as well, especially with new audiences.  Building and maintaining online relationships will require more effort to ensure youth are comfortable and engaged.

Youth development professionals are quickly adapting and making innovative strides to ensure we are connecting with and continuing to provide positive experiences for our young people. Taking the time to pause, focus on the need, and design an engaging, impactful experience does take time and is hard work.

In this workshop we will explore methods for youth development professionals to ensure high quality learning environments for youth.

Facilitated by: Jan Derdowski, Regional Extension Educator, University of Minnesota



Watch this space for more offerings from Ignite Afterschool


From University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development

Advancing Youth Equity

To extend lessons learned from our 2019-20 Youth Equity Learning Cohort to the wider youth development community, this fall we are partnering with the Youth Leadership Initiative to host a series of free virtual Youth Equity workshops and technical assistance. These workshops will introduce what it means to use an equity lens in youth work. Each session will provide different frameworks and concepts to analyze our mindsets, behaviors and structures. Participants will reflect on their personal role in creating equitable systems for young people to thrive. Everyone will walk away feeling energized to change and will have practical ideas to improve their programs. Attending all three workshops is not required, but is highly recommended. The interactive sessions will be held from 9-noon (CT) and cover these key areas:


Refine your management and supervision skills

Stepping into a leadership role in the youth development field is often an on-the-job learning experience. People choosing a career in youth development don’t begin by hoping to supervise adults, manage budgets and conduct evaluations; staff enter the field because of a passion and interest in supporting youth.

Leadership Matters: The online course explores youth work management and leadership skills, and provides intentional strategies targeted to youth work practice. This online course will open Oct 29, with live webinars on Nov. 5, 12 & 19.


2020-21 Brown Bag webinars 

The 2020-21 Youth Development Brown Bag Webinar Series is focused on Preparing the Youth Development Professional. The webinars are free; registration is required to receive the sign-on information.

Preparing Youth Development Professionals to Create Inclusive Environments for Special Needs Youth

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (Central time)

Presenter: Darcy Cole, Extension educator

How do we ensure that we are creating environments that are inclusive for ALL young people in our programs? To answer this question, Darcy shares seven tips for youth workers to consider while creating welcoming environments for youth programs. Register.

Preparing Youth Development Professionals to Support Social and Emotional Well-Being While Social Distancing

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (Central time)

Presenters: Kate Walker, Extension specialist, Courtney Johnson, Extension educator

Schools and programs are closed, routines disrupted, special events canceled and inequities are worsened. In this virtual workshop we will share activities and resources for supporting well-being in virtual or socially-distanced youth programming. Discover icebreakers with a social–emotional spin to help youth connect and reflect; quick and easy mindfulness exercises and guided meditations to help youth recognize and cope with their feelings; a guide to hosting virtual games to create belonging and build connections; and simple ideas for creating art to practice mindfulness, self-expression and stress relief. Register.


Tools you can use.

Planning Guide for Refocusing how you support young people during COVID-19 

From the University of Minnesota’s Youth Work Learning Lab comes this resource to guide you in a redesign of what you do to support young people at this time.

You can find additional resources that accompany the resource guide in this google drive.

From Itasca County 4-H 

4-H has developed online classes for all.  Please share these opportunities with your young people, or incorporate them into your face-to-face programs.  Follow this link to see what’s available:

Fall 4-H Catalog for the NE region


Out of School learning guidelines 

From Minnesota Department of Health:

MDH has developed guidelines for organizations planning face to face programming   You will find it on MDH’s COVID page and at this link:

MDE hosted a webinar reviewing the requirements.  You will find that webinar recording here.

From Minnesota Community Education Association:

As you plan for the possibility of offering in person programming, make use of the COVID-19 Programming Response & Preparedness Plan.–fTbsFX3wQiCxFLMfW1EKCSaTuuMBBoPss8/edit

From the University of Minnesota Youth Development:

For your work in youth development 

From University of Minnesota Youth Development — Tips for Working with youth from a distance:

From Search Institute — Now more than ever we need to build strong relationships with young people.  Follow this link to view a TED talk and download an interview tool to engage young people using the 4 s’.

  • Sparks: Talents, deep interests, and activities that bring enjoyment and meaning to life
  • Strengths: Skills, behaviors, attitudes, and values that promote success and development
  • Struggles: Problems that cause concern and potentially undermine success and development
  • Supports: People and programs that nurture sparks, build on strengths, and reduce struggles

Also from Search InstituteRelationship Check tool.

From the Harvard School of Graduate Education comes At Home with Project Zero.  This resource is filled with engaging activities for young people of all ages.  Check it out:

To better take care of yourself

This is a stressful time and you need to take care of yourself if you are going to be able to serve young people.

COVID-19 Resources from the Afterschool Field


Minnesota Resources

National Partners

Itasca County 


Public Health


Economic Development


Minnesota State Health Department and CDC