Youth Work Methods Trainings

Training Your Staff on Youth-Development Fundamentals

The Institute for Youth Success offers 10 workshops that empower direct-service staff with tools to increase the quality of their work. These trainings, called the Youth Work Methods, were designed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and are based on 50 years of research of what works with serving diverse youth populations.

What Participants Will Learn

Our training participants take home practical skills that are geared to improve the quality of interactions with youth in these areas:

  • Engagement
  • Interaction
  • Supportive environment
  • Safe environment
  • Youth Voice in Governance Professional Learning Community

These trainings can be taken as stand-alone trainings, or used in conjunction with the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA). Staff that attend all 10 Youth Work Methods workshops can receive a certification of completion. You can register for these Oregon-based trainings through our training calendar. You can also learn more about the full range of IYS trainings for youth-serving programs. Please contact Sarah Tollefson with any questions.

Session Descriptions

Introduction to the Active-Participatory Approach. Youth programs can be optimized for youth needs, motivation, and engagement. The Active-Participatory Approach to youth work was designed to address these goals. This youth-centered approach is the foundation for the Youth Work Methods Series. Sample Workbook

Active Learning. This interactive workshop introduces the “ingredients” of active learning, explains the role that active learning plays in the experiential learning cycle, and helps participants create more powerful learning opportunities for youth. Active Learning Sample Workbook

Ask-Listen-Encourage. Do you communicate with youth in a way that makes them feel supported and heard? This interactive workshop introduces various communication techniques that help you build more supportive, youth-centered relationships. Participants learn how to ask more effective questions, to listen actively, and to offer youth encouragement rather than praise. Ask, Listen, Encourage Sample Workbook

Building Community. Do you know what it takes to build an emotionally and physically safe space for youth? Building an emotionally safe community of peers and adults is essential for youth to learn and develop as individuals. This interactive workshop introduces participants to a variety of activities designed to support the community-building process. Sample Workbook

Cooperative Learning. Do the youth in your program have opportunities to work together in groups, teaching and learning from each other? Cooperative learning is an excellent way to nurture youth leadership, build community, and keep things fun. This interactive workshop equips participants with grouping strategies and ways to think about building cooperative learning into any program offering. Sample Workbook

Homework Help. Homework Help is an essential component of many youth programs, but too often it’s a time for youth to work quietly while the adults supervise. This interactive workshop introduces participants to the relationship ABC’s (Ask and listen, Be involved, and Connect) as well as the concept of “focus.” These elements help participants reconsider Homework Help as another opportunity to build relationships and nurture positive growth — beyond just getting the work done. Homework Help Sample Workbook

Planning and Reflection. Are you engaging youth in the critical life skills of planning and reflection? Are you ready to be more intentional about including planning and reflection strategies in your daily routine and activities but are not sure where to start? This workshop introduces participants to powerful methods that promote youth engagement in planning, implementing, and evaluating activities and projects. Sample Workbook

Reframing Conflict. What role do you play in conflict situations with the youth in your program? Do you know how to turn a conflict situation into an opportunity for growth? This interactive workshop introduces participants to the High/Scope step-by-step model for reframing conflict as well as general principles of conflict resolution. Sample Workbook

Structure and Clear Limits. How do you prevent chaos in a youth environment without stifling youth’s positive energy? Youth need structure and clear limits in order to feel safe. This interactive workshop helps participants analyze the level of structure in their programs and practice identifying and maintaining clear limits. Sample Workbook

Youth Voice. Are you providing young people with authentic, meaningful choices throughout your program? Does your program reflect the input of youth involved? Research shows that quality programs incorporate youth input on activities and the organizational level. This workshop is focused on providing meaningful choice within activities and opportunities for youth input within the youth program itself. Sample Workbook