- consider a survey, focus group, youth group, youth advisory board when determining program activities. Too often, we provide programs without any input from the students we are serving.
- be flexible in your thinking of programming!!! As part of my program, we offer a Cosmetology program, Fashion Design, Tae Kwon Do, Computer App Design, Anime/Manga/Comic Book Club, Video Game Design Program… and guess what? They’re ALL aligned to the Common Core Standards, have engaged our students, have college/career components, and…. our students remain in the activity throughout the program year!!
- don’t reinvent the wheel!: if you’re host school (if you’re operating out of one) already offers a program the students enjoy, consider enlisting the program as a ‘wraparound service’.
If you are looking for a tool to help you facilitate some brainstorming with your youth around possible program activities, consider using the Planner for Brainstorming (https://www.y4y.ed.gov/tools/planner-for-brainstorming) from the Project Based Learning tools.
Another good resource for those of you who lead staff development and training is Getting and Using Youth Input Training to Go (https://www.y4y.ed.gov/teach/pbl/trainings-to-go/getting-and-using-youth-input). This is a fully formed PowerPoint with script and handouts—just customize it for your staff to get them started!