We can sometimes get complacent and stay in a tunnel when working in youth programs. The concept of changing it up or thinking outside the box can be put on the back burner. Sometimes we are starting back up for a new school year or trying to find/train staff. It can also be an over confident attitude that leads to doing the same things, because you feel that the program is doing just fine. I want you to know that your staff and the youth/teens you are working with deserve new experiences and change! I always think about being in a classroom day after day and then my teacher says, “Class. Today, we have a guest speaker!” I would get pumped because my teacher, even though I may have loved him/her would finally stop talking.
This week we decided to have special guests come to our all staff training. As part of our staff trainings, we usually have a keynote speaker who can be on staff or inside our organization. I wanted to feature people from our community that used to be former counselors or participants. We featured two former YMCA staff who are now on staff with our local police department, an old YMCA camper and now student, and an old camper who is now a middle school teacher.
I wanted the current staff to know how the YMCA impacted their life as a staff member or participant! I also wanted them to share what they are doing now and some failures they learned as a counselor and in their current job. I love the community we work in and I wanted our current staff to know that their job is important, and that without community partnerships our programs will fail.
We have to get outside our walls of our day to day work and invite people in. Collaboration and working together builds quality programs because everyone is involved! I challenge all youth programs to focus on their community!