Each week one of our team members shares a Weekly Remix Round Up that lifts up a topic they’ve been reflecting on or something that sparked their interest based on an article they’ve read, a conversation they’ve participated in, etc. – that lifts up a topic they’ve been reflecting on or something that sparked their interest.

A Summer of Trekking Ideas

For me, August is usually a time for trekking – heading out on trails with a (hopefully) clear map, occasional signposts, and the opportunity to meet up with fellow hikers along the way.  This August, my trek trail has been grounded more in ideas than in altitude, but has been similarly filled with camaraderie and a sense of adventure.  My journey?  A light landscape scan of how some of the national youth serving organizations describe their quality work.  


While I’ve just started on this particular trek, a number of things are already clear: 

The Map

While the particular trails of the organizations may emphasize different parts of the landscape, their overall sense of the topography are the same. The work is child- and youth-centered, grounding in the basics of what we know regarding how young people learn and development.  And continuous improvement systems articulate what “good” looks like on multiple, inter-related levels – from front-line practice and staff development  to program quality and organizational capacity. 

The Signposts

On the trail, signposts put up and maintained by those who have gone before can help you find the way to your destination. Not surprisingly, across the national organizations many common elements of quality are consistent with the standards put forth by the National Afterschool Association, National Summer Learning Association, and others – and include adaptations of frameworks from national leaders in quality, such as the Forum’s Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. 

The most fun part of any trek is discovering the passion of the people that you meet up with along the way.

The Camaraderie

The most fun part of any trek is discovering the passion of the people that you meet up with along the way. This journey has been a mix of old friends and new, but all with an incredible commitment to delivering quality at scale to ensure that each and every young person receives the kind of supports and opportunities that are essential to their success.  As on the trail, the national youth-serving organizations are committed to everyone reaching the destination – mutual support and collaboration rather than isolation and competition. The trek to serving young people is better completed together.

I’ll sign off this week with a heartfelt thank you to the fellow travelers at National 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys and Girls Club of America, Campfire, Girls Inc., Horizons National, and YMCA of the USA. You inspire and challenge not just within your networks but as leaders in the field.

Thank you for your generosity of intellect and spirit. 

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