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Help Wanted: Engaging Summer Help Across Generations

Do you want to recruit local teens or retired professionals? If your answer is teens, then you aren’t going to rely on an ad in the local newspaper to bring in your summer help. However, that could be a great way to catch the eye of older folks in the community! Knowing who is available to come either be a part-time staff member or volunteer can shape your recruitment strategy. Social media, local news outlets, and radio are great ways to let the community know your hiring. Just be aware that not all generations are in touch with each medium.

Word of mouth can also be an effective recruiting strategy in smaller communities — if the word being spread is positive. Time and resources may be tight but have a staff and volunteer only event if possible. Celebrate success. Share a delicious meal. Also, decide on long and short-term goals collectively, do an anonymous needs assessment survey, and incorporate teambuilding experiences. Praise from current staff and volunteers about management can attract candidates just as negative words can steer them away.

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New Routines, New Perspectives

Spring has sprung which means that many programs are continuing on while the preparation for summer programming begins. We have shared a few posts recently that are meant to get the creative juices flowing in relation to implementing new activities. Well, today we are here to say that you absolutely, do not need to incorporate all new things at once!

Why are you a youth development professional with your local Club?

One word- the youth! Technically that was two words but you know what we mean. Improving opportunities for youth brings us into the Club every day, even when our names are not on the schedule. So, let the youth be your co-navigator as new activities, programs, and clubs are being integrated into the daily grind.

Engaging youth in changes, even slight changes to activities, can lead to greater connections with what is happening when the Club house is open. It is empowering for the youth to feel ownership of their programs and it leaves the guessing work out when you are making new schedules that introduce new activities. New perspectives on new routines can result in greater participation and less stress!

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November 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA Member Application is Open!

If you would like to build the capacity of your Club and create and improve programs to better serve more youth in your community then an AmeriCorps VISTA member could be a fantastic addition to your Club! AmeriCorps VISTA members (Volunteers in service to America) serve a term of 1-year and the value of a VISTA member in 2015 was estimated to be $23.56/hour and for 40 hours a week that’s $49,004 a year at no cost to your Club!

The Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project has been helping Boys & Girls Clubs all over the country to implement cultural programs, recruit additional staff, increase their positive impact on the community, and build strategic relationships with businesses since 1994.

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Reconnecting to Nature, Not Wi-Fi

As adults, we are too often “plugged in”. At any point in the day you can find us at a computer to finish a grant application, or on the phone advocating for a Club kid who has shown great improvement in academics in an after school setting. That also doesn’t account for checking emails while helping prepare materials for the community dinner, or sitting in front of a screen to learn how to implement a new program. If we unplug, we will notice that our Club kids are just as plugged in, if not more, because it has become their norm.

Green spaces and activities outdoors have been found to have a positive impact on youth who are suffering from disorders such as depression, anxiety, obesity, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Inspired by the Wild Network and their collection of outdoor activities known as Wild Time, we have created five relevant ways to get your Club kids outside and engaged in the wonderful wild around them! They are as follows;

  1. Habitat Hunters- The television show House Hunters meets the great outdoors. Form groups of youth and send them on a hunt to find habitats of indigenous insects or animals. They could draw, photograph, or use written word to describe what they found. Want to extend the activity? Have the groups write a story about one of the habitats or present what they found to the group.
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Reading for Fun: Celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday

Every year, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss by highlighting reading all across the country. To participate in the celebration, schools, libraries, and community centers are bringing children together to read, with the goal of encouraging them to continue reading throughout the year. This day is about developing reading skills and interest in reading among children while having fun. Schools and community centers are using the entire month of March to participate in different reading activities to promote the many benefits of reading. You can find ideas for planning your activities, as well as material resources you can use!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”