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Extension > Youth Development > Training and events > Online learning > Podcast series

Podcast series

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The Youth Development Podcast Series is free and showcases staff discussing research, theory and best practices in youth development. Topics include: youth programs, youth issues, volunteer development, citizenship and leadership, program quality, program evaluation, cultural diversity and social and emotional learning.

Three ways to listen:

New to podcasting? Find answers to your questions.

Questions? Contact Kari Robideau.

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Episode 23: The power of storytelling to foster understanding

Jessica Russo, Extension educator

Jessica and Kari have a conversation about listening to each other and finding harmony instead of intolerance. Jessica shares her experience with using storytelling as a technique to encourage youth to develop empathy and understanding.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog.

Episode 22: A "front yard" approach to cohort learning

Amber Shanahan, Extension educator

Cohorts are structured environments in which individuals experience growth and development supported and challenged by the group.   Amber defines and discusses the value of in-person, adult learning environments that take the "front yard" approach, and explains why its a beneficial model for cultivating community in professional development.

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Read the blog.

Episode 21: Youth can positively influence citizen science

Rebecca Meyer, Extension educator

Meaningful STEM informal learning programs for youth involve balancing scientific authenticity and positive youth engagement. Citizen science is an approach that involves scientists (professionals in the community) who engage youth in scientific research. Becky shares research, her experience and examples of how youth can be meaningful and authentic contributors to citizen science and develop their science identities.

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Read the blog.

Episode 20: Relationships, role models, and rural LGBT youth

Joseph Rand, Extension educator

LGBT youth living in rural areas have very few safe spaces for real interaction and self-identification. This makes their journey through sexual identification and "coming out" to family, friends and community more difficult.  In this podcast, Joe shares research on rural LGBT youth and their involvement in a GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance), clips from interviews he has conducted with young people, and suggestions for rural communities to provide safe spaces in their youth programs and schools.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blogs:

Episode 19: Increase volunteer vision and action in your program

Becky Harrington and Karyn Santl, Extension educators

A follow up to episode 4 and recorded live at the NAE4-HA Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana! Becky and Karyn share five recommendations on how youth programs can increase and improve volunteer impact from work they've done with GOT-VIVA (Growing 4-H Opportunities Together: Volunteers in Vision and Action).

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Episode 18: National 4-H Week 2017

Mari Jo Lohmeier, program coordinator
Youth: Allison Offerdahl, Alysa Miller, Daisy Sharp, Evan Booge, Holly Packman

It's National 4-H Week and we are celebrating in Minnesota! Listen to this podcast as 4-H'ers from Hubbard County, Minnesota share why they love 4-H and the experiences that have helped them develop leadership skills.

Listen to the podcast.

Episode 17: I am a scientist: Encouraging curiosity in kids

Anne Stevenson, Extension educator

What is a scientist? What do they look like? Answer: Me!  In this podcast, Anne Stevenson describes the curriculum "Be a Scientist! Materials in a Green, Clean World" that actively engages K-2nd grade children in learning about material properties, plastics, sustainability and the work of scientists and engineers. Listen to Anne describe the partnership that led to the development of this FREE curriculum and share examples of how children develop curiosity through the activities.

Listen to the podcast.

Get the curriculum.

Read the article.

Episode 16: 4-H fair stories: Shining stars

This podcast continues our "fair" theme from Episode 15, but this time 4-H Staff highlight YOUTH experience as it relates to their shining star moments. Listen as Katie Becker, Melissa Persing, Lisa Bauer, Kelsey Wolf and Rebecca Rasmussen share stories about youth voice, leadership, teamwork, and growth through 4-H Fair experiences.

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Episode 15: 4-H fair stories: Unexpected and funny

It's summer in Minnesota and that means our 4-H program is showcasing young people in county fairs all over the state and will soon be at the Minnesota State Fair. With every great event that is rich in tradition and memories, there are always great STORIES that follow. Sometimes these events and experiences end up being unexpected and funny! Minnesota 4-H staff Becky Harrington, Courtney Johnson, Brian McNeil and Rebecca Rasmussen share their stories. 

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Episode 14: Q & A - frequently asked questions youth workers have about technology

Molly Frendo and Kari Robideau, Extension educators - distance learning technology

Kari and Molly answer 3 frequently asked questions youth workers have about technology:

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Episode 13: The relationship between youth program quality and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Margo Herman, Extension educator

Margo examines the relationship between youth program quality improvement and intentional efforts around program design - all to support the development of social and emotional skills. Margo defines and gives examples of youth program quality and SEL in order to understand the distinction between the two and how they can support each other.

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More about SEL

Episode 12: For LGBT youth, safe spaces can be hard to find

Joe Rand, Extension educator

For LGBT youth, access to safe spaces is a crucial part of development and exploring self-identity. Joe Rand discusses why this is a fundamental concern for youth programs. He shares 3 resources (GLSEN, Teaching Tolerance, WeConnect) and examples of activities he uses to educate about creating and maintaining safe environments for LGBT youth.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog.


Past episodes

Episode 11: Support volunteer motivation with technology

Molly Frendo, Extension educator - distance learning technology

Recorded live from the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism 2017 (NECV), Molly Frendo discusses research and best practices for using technology when communicating with volunteers. Two ways of using technology are highlighted:

  • Enhancing communication between staff and volunteers
  • Using social media to recognize volunteers and share timely resources

Listen to the podcast.

Episode 10: Getting intentional about SEL

Kate Walker, associate Extension professor

March 24, 2017

Social and emotional learning (SEL) includes learning to be aware of and manage emotions, work well with others, and work hard when faced with challenges. Youth programs develop SEL skills by creating opportunities for young people to engage in real-world projects, work in teams, take on meaningful roles, face challenges and experience the emotional ups and downs that come along the way. Kate Walker discusses a free online SEL toolkit that includes activities, templates and tools organized around four ways to help support staff and youth in SEL.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog post.

Learn more about SEL.

Episode 9: We can prepare youth for college, but not in the way you think!

Joanna Tzenis, Extension educator

March 20, 2017

"College prep" programs make an effort to instill in youth the desire to go to college and the hard skills to qualify, but it's not enough. They leave out something important - the young person, so many marginalized young people are still not ending up with degrees. Joanna discusses ways they include research around aspirations, future orientation, and social inequalities into the 4-H campus immersion program design.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog post.

Episode 8: Five ways to measure youth-adult connections

Betsy Olson, Extension educator

Feb. 17, 2017

Informal support networks with non-related adults are important resources for youth. Positive connections results in positive outcomes for youth. Betsy suggests five ways to measure strong connections between youth and adults.

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Read the blog post.

Episode 7: Is there a leadership gap?

Brian McNeil, Extension educator and special guest, Kia Harries, regional director

Dec. 19, 2016

Do you ever hear this complaint from local leaders: "There are no young people stepping forward to replace me on this committee!"? They seem frustrated that they can't leave a community committee because there's no one to replace them. This Podcast discusses, is there really a leadership gap, and if so, why?

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Read the blog post.

Episode 6: How to fail at storytelling

Samantha Grant, Evaluation director

Dec. 8, 2016

Storytelling is powerful. Most youth workers know that, but so often miss the opportunities to gather and tell meaningful stories about youth programs. Sam Grant shares her thoughts on the four ways we mess up storytelling: (1) we make the story about our organization, (2) we want the story to be perfect, (3) we have the story but nothing to back it up, and (4) we try to appeal to emotions and end up victimizing our customers.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog post.

Episode 5: Why equity matters in youth development

Kathryn Sharpe, Extension educator

Nov. 21, 2016

As the demographic makeup of the U.S. undergoes a sea change of diversification, 4-H and other national historical legacy youth development organizations face a critical question: What will it take to stay relevant in the 21st Century? We must work for equity, and achieving equity requires us to address root issues such as balance of power, access to programs and opportunity, allocation of resources and decision-making power. We must also recognize that we are dealing with layers of implicit bias that have accumulated over all the years of the organization’s history. Kathryn offers 3 practical strategies for organizations to consider.

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog post.

Episode 4: Growing 4-H opportunities together:
Volunteers in vision and action

Karyn Santl and Becky Harrington, Extension educators

Sept. 30, 2016

Growing 4-H Opportunities Together: Volunteers in Vision and Action (GOT:VIVA) intentionally aligns two processes that are central to delivering meaningful youth development programs: program development and volunteer systems development. This process relies on a team approach that engages local 4-H program staff and Extension educators working within the region.

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Episode 3: 5 C's to nurturing relationships with volunteers

Becky Harrington, Extension educator and Mary Jo Lohmeier, program coordinator

Sept. 29, 2016

Building successful long-term volunteer relationships are vital to ensuring a programs’ sustainability and vitality. This podcast focuses on working shoulder to shoulder with volunteers and finding ways to build relationships that result in volunteer retention. Successful long-term volunteer relationships, based on the five C’s: Communicate, Clearly define needs, Create climate of trust and honesty, Choose your battles, and Compromise, are shared. Becky and Mary Jo share personal examples, tools, and resources.

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Episode 2: 10 essential elements of cross-age teaching

Amber Shanahan, Extension educator

Sept. 29, 2016

For more than 30 years, Youth Teaching Youth has been a prime example of a cross-age teaching program. In cross-age teaching, teens are not just assisting an adult teacher or informally sharing experiences,but facilitating an entire learning experience by teaching curriculum and fully managing a group of younger peers. Cross-age teaching can also enhance social and emotional learning for both teacher and learner. Youth workers often ask those of us on the 4-H YTY team how they might start a cross-age teaching program of their own. Chances are, your program is already infusing some components, but there are 10 essential elements you need to define in order to do this well.

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Read the blog post.

Episode 1: Paying it forward, with mentoring or mocha

Josh Kukowski, Extension educator

Sept. 27, 2016

There are now 15 years' worth of research proving that mentoring helps young people succeed. But mentors do it because they just know. Listen as Josh shares his knowledge and experience on why and how mentoring works!

Listen to the podcast.

Read the blog post.


Listen to the podcast series

People who have subscribed to this podcast series say:

"I really enjoyed each episode. There was a good variety of research and facts presented, along with people's personal stories to keep the material relevant and interesting! I am a podcast nerd so these will be great. I think they will also help remind me about the "bigger picture" and the overall goal of promoting positive youth development within my role."

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