Positive Youth Development e-Forum

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The Teen Brain: A Work in Progress

While 95% of the human brain has developed by the age of six, it is now known that a young person’s brain experiences a growth spurt around adolescence and is not fully developed until well into the 20s. The still-developing brain has a great effect on a teen’s behavior, from the disorganization of the frontal cortex to the emotional reactions from the amygdala to the cerebellum’s lack of coordination. As adults who work with young people (ages 10 and older), it’s important to understand these brain changes, the resulting behaviors and the implications for providing supportive, safe, and meaningful experiences and opportunities.

Presented by: Annette Haas, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Quality Matters: In Chocolate and 4-H Programs

Quality matters when it comes to youth programs. In fact research has found that poor quality youth programs are not neutral but rather can have a negative effect on participants. Fortunately, there is a growing body of evidence revealing what “Quality” looks like, why young people in quality programs rate their experiences more positively and stay engaged longer, and how staff and volunteers can ensure they are offering experiences that truly engage young people. In addition to sharing research findings, participants in this session will identify elements of quality existing or lacking in their own clubs or groups and consider how they can improve quality to ensure positive outcomes for young people. Chocolate provided!

Presented by: Brenda Shafer, University of Minnesota

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