Guiding the Way: Character Development Education

Included in this strand are topics focused on learning strategies and processes that help students understand and demonstrate core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue, citizenship, and responsibility for themselves and each other in school and in the community.

#Your Character Matters: A Game Changing Plan for Character Development

Tasha Nicole Johnson, Jackie Thurnau-Anderson and Roger Jackson, YMCA of the USA; Melanie Carfora and Chaelyn Lombardo, Middlesex YMCA

In this workshop, participants will be given opportunities to learn from, practice, and celebrate the work of more than 130 YMCAs across the country who are embedding Character Development into their afterschool, camp, youth sports, teen, and community development programs. Participants will see and experience some of the YMCA tools created for the Character Development Learning Institute such as the Program Quality Assessment and Self-Reflection tools, character development video materials, and more. Presenters will share best practices and knowledge gained from the Y’s training and technical assistance protocols. This workshop will be interactive, collaborative, and relevant for school and OST based practitioners – at all levels – who want to build or elevate character development in their youth serving organization.

Grades K-12


21st Century Skills: All Encompassing, All the Time!

Meredith Scott Lynn, WRiTE BRAiN Books

Education modalities (IN and AFTER school) with a focus on 21st Century skill-building highlight the importance of collaboration and problem-solving, close observation and critical thinking, making connections, communicating, and creating systems. Young people learn in different ways and deserve these 21st Century learning environments and opportunities in order to rise as tomorrow’s leaders, workers, and citizens. 21st Century learning environments and opportunities are essential to prepare all students for the challenges of work, life, and citizenship, as well as to ensure ongoing innovation in our economy and the health of our democracy. Participants will engage in a hands-on, interactive session on how to create a learning environment and project-based literacy activities that activate 21st Century skills in students.

Grades K-12


5 Mindful Ways to Shift the Climate of Your Program

Julia Gabor and Jeffrey Jordan, kid-grit

Looking for new ways to teach GRIT and RESILIENCE? There is a growing need for youth to understand their own behavior and the need is becoming more dynamic by the minute! This workshop provides educators with a hands-on approach that addresses everything from mindfulness, health, nutrition, community engagement, and digital/social consciousness. These Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) aligned activities are student-driven and inquiry-based. Learn how to implement fresh ideas that incorporate self-regulation, self-awareness, relationship skill, and balance to help students make better decisions, think globally and become 21st century learners. It’s time for something new – let’s start here!

Grades 6-12


Achieving Character Development through the Many Lenses of Youth Programming

Elyse Harris, Higher Achievement; and Charline Alexandre-Joseph, Commonwealth Corporation

In this session, participants will learn best practices on how to develop youth-centered programs that focus on character development, specifically middle schoolers as well as older teens. Facilitators will discuss proven strategies to develop youth buy-in and increase youth engagement. Additionally, facilitators will walk participants through strategies of program assessment for youth engagement by sharing the details of a protocol for internal evaluations.

Grades 6-12


Building Self-Esteem through Storytelling and Rapping

Meredith Scott Lynn, WRiTE BRAiN Books

Storytelling is a powerful tool for increasing the self-esteem of young people. Whether it’s through journaling, spoken stories, or rap songs, discovering one’s own voice is the KEY TO SELF-ESTEEM in young people. In this lively, interactive session, participants will learn how to encourage public speaking and writing by creating fun ways for students to share their stories!

Grades K-12


Building Teams – SEL is the Key!

Gale Gorke, Kids Kan, Inc.

How can we get the diversity that is human to be on the same page and go in the same direction? Social/Emotional Learning is essential in this quest. Come learn the strategies and techniques necessary to build effective teams that communicate well and get things done. Participate in activities that will help your staff build the necessary skills that will help them to be effective team members.

Grades K-12


Chess, STEM, Standards and Fun: Facilitate Chess in your Program

Stephen Schneider, Championship Chess

Chess improves math, reading and problem-solving, increases concentration and boosts creativity. Come see how to use chess in out-of-school time, including accessing online learning tools, whether or not you know how to play. Learn how chess supports strategic thinking at all ages – beginners through tournament players.

Grades K-8


Cross-Cultural Nutrition Education with Video Pen Pals

Ashley Roth, Common Threads

Common Threads, a non- profit specializing in Pre-kindergarten-8th grade nutrition and culinary education, launched a video project to learn about healthy eating, culture and cuisine with students in New York and Barcelona. We will share the how-to from our pen pal project, enhancing nutrition education with cross-cultural learning and bilingual education.

Grades K-8


Engineering for Social Impact in Out-of-School Time Settings

Katy Hutchinson and Bekka Nolan, Museum of Science, Boston

Participants will explore concrete ways that youth in grades 3-8 are engineering for social impact, using an engineering design process to collaboratively create solutions to problems they identify in their own communities. Recommended for afterschool educators, libraries, and fans of transformative education.

Grades 3-8


Futuro-5 Years of Solidarity: Storytelling to Create Connections with Myself, Others, and the Community

Rosa Corrada-Rivera and Paloma Torres-Dávila, Municipal Alliance for Education

Looking for innovative ways to engage children, youth, and community partners to be collaborative agents of change in their communities? Try storytelling. Storytelling is a playful, creative method of engaging all actors involved in a school program. Discover how to use storytelling as pedagogical, therapeutic, participatory design, and evaluative tool. Also, connect with your creative side and explore and share your stories of change.

Grades K-12


Hustle for the Muscle

Tammorah Mathis, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; and Amy Franks, Phoenix and Friends Consulting

Creative methods to get kids learning AND moving provide programs with the opportunity to support the school day in a different, but meaningful way. Combining high-energy K-5 skills building activities across subject areas and physical activity, participants will walk away with implementation-ready ideas. This hands-on, on-your-feet workshop will empower participants to affect positive change in kids’ behavior, social and emotional skills, and academic performance.

Grades K-5


I Do, You Do, We Do

Happi Price, Kids Kan, Inc.

Have you ever thought that you were not creative? If you have, well you are wrong. You just haven’t tapped into your own creative dexterity. Come take a chance on discovering your own creativity with minimal rules and boundaries. In this session we will explore the importance of eye contact, body language, tone of voice, and active listening with one’s eyes, ears, and body. Learn how to create something from nothing through improvisational movement, acting, and music. Explore that person that uses their own creativity in whatever they do, say, and think.

Grades K-12

#IDoYouDoWe Do

Instructor Accountability and Student Cooperation

Amy Huff, Native American Community Services

Practitioners will evaluate the clarity of their behavioral redirects and gage their tolerance for non-compliant behaviors. Children misinterpret adult messages and adults react personally instead of professionally. Watch your learning environment blossom as you learn how to reframe requests regarding behavior and find ways to establish your authority in a manner that can be easily received by children.

Grades K-12


Let’s Talk: Building Resiliency in Youth

Rachael Reynolds, National Runaway Safeline

Let’s Talk is an evidenced-based curriculum that builds resiliency and life skills in youth like communication and listening, stress reduction, peer influences and much more. In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will experience a variety of activities, learn facilitation tips, and discuss ways to utilize this free resource.

Grades 6-12


Live Free…Mind, Body, Spirit, or Mindfulness Matters

Rana Walker, Potluck Yoga

Engage in dialogue to free the mind, Yoga to free the body, and meditation to free the spirit. Practice mindfulness techniques designed to reduce stress and anxiety through breath work, creating space for catharsis to promote healing of real and perceived heartache through a mind, body, spirit experience. All welcome.

Grades K-12


Mindfulness: From Stress Reduction to Culture Change

Sally Espinosa-Herrera and Claudia Alvarado, Hayward Unified School District – Youth Enrichment Program (YEP)

Learn how one California K-12 district is using Mindfulness as a successful strategy to support student achievement. The Hayward Unified School District Dynamic Mindfulness (D-Mind) Project promotes social, emotional, and academic learning among middle school students in its after school Youth Enrichment Program (YEP) through the introduction of Social and Emotional Learning skills. Join us and participate in mindful movement, breathing, and meditation techniques.

Grades 4-8


Motivating Girls through Mentoring

LaKeacha Jett, Social Butterflies Youth Services, Inc.

A comprehensive mentoring program can develop excellent character and essential skills that will help students to be successful in the 21st Century. This workshop will teach attendees how to implement a quality group mentoring program in their after school setting for scholars in grades K-12. Attendees will leave with a well developed plan on implementing a comprehensive group mentoring program.

Grades K-12


MUSIC, POWER, ACTION: Using TODAY’S MUSIC and MOVIES to Connect Young People

Eric Rowles and Fred Baker, Leading to Change

What’s the connection between Childish Gambino & Imagine Dragons? From Tupac & Taylor Swift? XMen & Madea? Come to this tool-filled (and often standing room only) workshop to learn how to use over 20 different LEGAL and FREE media tools, including TODAY’S MUSIC and MOVIES in your cutting edge work with young people.

Grades K-12


On Track to Post-Secondary Education

Michael Hackman, Uncommon Individual Foundation

Join us to learn more about this free eLearning college and career readiness program designed to help 9th-12th grade students successfully navigate high school, understand the process and requirements to obtain post-secondary education, and how to access and receive financial aid. Participants will be given an overview of the OnTrack system that includes a demonstration of a student, mentor and counselor account. Participants will receive recommendations regarding the effective implementation of the OnTrack system in afterschool program settings, highlighting examples of current afterschool program OnTrack users.

Grades 9-12


Play with Purpose

David McConnell and Hershawna Turner, Foundations, Inc.

Healthy brains are developed through purposeful play. In this session, we’ll review both school-day and OST recreation standards, respond to educational issues and trends through recreational activities, and explore strategies to make the most of your recreation time. You’ll leave this session ready to increase student achievement through games and authentic experiences. Come and play with purpose!

Grades K-12


Power of Play: Afterschool Programming for Positive Development

Mike and Chelsea Ashcraft, Children’s Choice

Do you want some techniques that help develop 21st century life skills that will prepare students for success in their community, college, and career? Learn how play and rituals create caring relationships and a sense of belonging. Learn techniques that empower children to make good choices and hold children accountable for their behavior.

Grades K-5


Reality Check: Learning to Cash In on your Challenges

Kristen Mellette, Positive Direction for Youth Learning Center

“My students are disrespectful.” “My parents are lazy and don’t get it!” Are you frustrated? Get ready to learn the secret to ensuring success. In this engaging session, we’ll address the challenges in your program. You’ll leave confident with a new vantage point and ready to address your challenges while empowering your students, parents, and staff.

Grades K-12


Restorative Practices: It’s Not Just About Circles, It’s About Being Responsive Not Reactive

Bill Michener, Lighthouse

Are you looking to make a powerful change in your culture working with young people and help with stronger staff? Do you believe people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in position of authority do things with them rather than to them or for them? Come see how you change your culture to impact your clientele as well as your staff. Learn more about Restorative Practices and participate in some circles as a hands-on activity.

Grades K-12


SAAMIES for Social and Emotional Wellness

Carrie Snyder Renfro, Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High

This workshop will introduce participants to Stress Anxiety Anger Management Integrated Exercise Strategies (SAAMIES) to promote social and emotional wellness for all learners. These strategies are mental, physical, academic, and artistic. Used alone or across curriculum, these strategies empower students to take charge of their emotions and decide how to reduce the negative effects on their health.

Grades K-12


Social and Emotional Learning and Students’ Decision-Making Skills

Paula Carroll and DeAngelo Rorie, United Planning Organization

In this session, participants will understand the core benefits of social emotional learning and its impact on the development of decision-making skills of middle and high school students. Participants will discover how social emotional activities contribute to long-term success of youth by enhancing their ability to make good decisions and enhancing responsibility for themselves and each other in school and in the community.

Grades 6-12


Social Emotional Learning and Literacy through Expanded Storytelling and Music Making

Sam Trevathan and Brian Gallion, Kids’ Orchestra

Understanding, sharing, and creating narratives is a fundamental literacy skill – it is also a universal human activity. When students work with written texts, recite or listen to stories, or present narratives through non-verbal means such as art, dance, or music, they are learning to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate not only the story they are reading, but also the world around them. In this session, participants will learn about and participate in creative ways to teach children the value of community relationships and teamwork through the use of Expanded Storytelling and Music Making.

Grades K-5


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Unpacked

Eunice Cervantes, Trinity River Mission

Knowing and understanding the importance of Social-Emotional Learning is one thing; feeling confident enough to integrate Social-Emotional Learning into regular programming is another! In this session, we will be “hands-on” as we explore ways to incorporate SEL into the activities you are already doing with your students. Participants will take part in reflection circles so they can become confident in facilitating SEL practices throughout the entirety of their programs.

Grades K-8


The FYR is LIT

Emmanuella Perez-Cassius, Caribbean Centers for Boys & Girls VI; and Leslie Hamdorf, Denver School of Science and Technology Charter School

This session provides both youth developers and volunteer tutors an opportunity to engage in and obtain additional literacy knowledge while sharing and documenting a bit of their culture, heritage, and personal ethics in their programming. Participants will take part in a networking event that builds teen engagement as well as programs on developing leadership retreats using a World Café format in order to explore topics like youth civic engagement, community and economic development, and post-secondary education planning. Fueling Youth Reading empowers older students (high school and college) to work with elementary school students while also refining their own literacy and leadership skills.

Grades K-12


Understanding your Strong-Willed Child

Migdalia Cortes and Myrna Torres, Children’s Aid Society

This workshop, inspired by Dr. James Dobson, will help parents and childcare providers gain knowledge of what makes strong-willed children the way they are; be able to recognize how strong-willed behavior manifests during the child/adolescence stages of development; and avoid the most common childcare mistakes. If you are struggling to educate and coach children who are convinced they should be able to live by their own rules, this workshop will provide information and tools to help with those child rearing stresses.

Grades K-12


WAY BEYOND ICEBREAKERS: Innovative and Interactive Tools to Powerfully Engage Young People!

Eric Rowles and Fred Baker, Leading to Change

GET READY TO MOVE! In this HIGHLY interactive session, participants will experience how to take various risk-level activities (often mistakenly referred to as “ice breakers”) and turn them into powerful vehicles for youth participation and engagement. This session will be presented by one of the premiere training agencies in the country, and will showcase tools that youth providers can put into immediate use! You’ll walk away laughing and FULL of new ideas – don’t miss this one!

Grades K-12


Youth Voice: The Key to Developing Young Leaders in Advocacy

Marisa Paipongna and Alexis Steines, Afterschool Alliance

Professionals in the field of education advocate for positive learning experiences for youth. In this session, discover how engaging youth in advocacy can be a vital learning experience – especially in helping youth understand the power of their own voice.

Grades 9-12