Image

You’re undoubtedly very busy and sometimes finding the time to take training is tough. But you’re committed to learning and want to do what’s best for young people. You need a quick go-to source to help you stay in the know.

You’ve found it! Quick Takes - a blog that speaks directly to you, a youth worker. Youth work insights and ideas you can grab and go in 3 minutes or so.

Quick Takes are written with a tone of respect, a sense of appreciation, and an understanding of the field of youth work. You’ll find the support and encouragement you need and deserve. You’ll appreciate how easy it is to scan through each Quick Take and absorb information you can use in your work.

Image

Confronting Ableism in Youth Work

Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or perceived to have disabilities. The underlying assumption of ableism is that disabled people are inferior to non-disabled people. It’s time to confront ableism.
Image

Compassion Fatigue in Youth Work and Ways to Manage it

Compassion fatigue is a phenomenon that many youth workers will likely experience from time to time. Sometimes, the demands of your job might feel overwhelming. And you may feel completely depleted.

More Ways to Learn and Grow

Blog.

The Passionate Youth Worker podcast provides you and your team the needed inspiration so you and your team are fully present in your service to young people.

The art and science of youth work certificate course.

The Art and Science of Youth Work certificate blends technical competency with personal growth strategies so you'll be your best for young people.

Live online and on-demand trainings.

You and your team have unlimited access to Live and On-Demand online training to improve a youth worker's knowledge, skills, and confidence.

More Quick Takes

Image

LGBTQIA+ Stands for Social Justice

LGBTQIA+ youth and adults deserve to be seen and exist in inclusive spaces. Language is a powerful tool to ensure visibility for LGBTQIA+ folks. Regardless of where you are in your learning journey, take time to understand what LGBTQIA+ stands for. And how it all adds up to the pursuit of social justice.
Image

A Growth Mindset is the Key to Success for Youth Workers

A growth mindset is a key factor that significantly impacts your effectiveness as a youth worker. Developing a growth mindset will make a huge difference in your ability to empower and inspire the youth you support. Let's explore why a growth mindset is so important and how it will help you in your work with young people.
Image

Social Justice is Youth Work

Social justice is youth work. The work can be used to spark inspiration for social change. During Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage month, highlight the inspirational impact of AANHPI social justice activists. Inspire young people to explore these cultures.
Image

Grounding Exercises Help Manage Anxiety and Worries

Grounding exercises are great tools young people can add to their emotional toolkit to feel safe when worries or fears become overwhelming. Worrying is a normal part of life. But for many youth and adults this can grow into feelings of anxiety.
Image

Motivation Micro Steps Make a Big Difference

Motivation ebbs and flows. It’s not a constant force for anyone. People often think motivation is something you either have or you don’t. But because motivation is not a psychological trait or a personality characteristic, it is something everyone can learn to cultivate.
Image

Spring Inspiration for Youth Workers

Spring represents a time of change, new growth and hope. The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining bright again. And I want to share some reflections to inspire you to keep doing the lifechanging work you do.
Image

Youth Sexual Health: Common Biases to Unlearn

Youth sexual health is more than talking about healthy sex. It’s about the overall well-being of young people. But talking about it that way can be hard because we all have biases. In the end, young people are the ones impacted when we don’t talk about it.
Image

Women’s History Month: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Women’s History Month for 2024 celebrates “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” The theme recognizes women who understand that we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and systems.
Image

Youth Worker Training is Essential for Recruitment and Retention

Youth worker training is essential because youth-serving organizations play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our young people. However, the path towards fulfilling this mission has become increasingly challenging. The intensifying needs of young people and a lack of top-notch youth workers is a serious problem.
Image

Black History Month 2024: African Americans and the Arts

Black History Month is an opportunity to explore the remarkable contributions of African Americans throughout history. The theme for 2024 is African Americans and the Arts. We're going to explore this Black History Month theme with a special focus on the dynamism brought by young Black artists.
Image

Shielding Your Well-being While Surrounded by Strife and Struggle

Well-being is essential to creating social harmony. With all that’s happening in the world around us today, it seems well-being is under assault. So, learning strategies for shielding your well-being is vital.
Image

Unique Qualities of Youth Workers that Really Make a Difference

The unique qualities each youth worker brings to young people form a dynamic mosaic. This mosaic is crafted with elements of the youth worker’s creative and technical skills. And it requires them to engage both their heart and their minds.
Image

Holidays and Embracing Diversity

Holidays form a diverse tapestry of cultural traditions, offering a unique educational opportunity in youth work. Understanding the various celebrations throughout the month of December fosters respect and unity.

human rights

Nurturing Human Rights for a Brighter Future

Human rights are not often considered where young people are concerned. However, you can play a role in empowering human rights for young people. By doing so, you are nurturing their independence which ensures a brighter future.
Image

Digital Literacy Helps Keep Young People Safer Online

Digital literacy is essential for young people to have safer online experiences. You play an important role in teaching youth about digital literacy. So, you’ll need to be aware of how young people interact with technology. And how you can educate them to stay safe online.
Image

Indigenous Wisdom for All Youth Programs

Indigenous wisdom is a treasure trove of knowledge that has been passed down through generations. So, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, we invite you to think of ways to integrate Indigenous wisdom in your youth programs.
Image

Ethics Within Youth Work Teams

Ethics within youth work teams shapes the work we do with young people. Ethical frameworks give you and your team guidelines. But ethics are not like rules that must be followed in every situation. Instead, your values inform ethical decisions.
Image

Staffing Shortage Survival Tips for Youth Workers

Staffing shortages are a serious problem. For youth-serving programs, it may mean curtailing or closing some youth programs. Even when programs stay open but run with fewer youth workers, they and the youth may feel negative impacts.
Image

Understanding Eating Disorders to Support Young People

Eating disorders are complex. And they can affect anyone, at any age. But young people are especially vulnerable because they are in the midst of crucial physical development. Untreated eating disorders put them at risk for irreversible harm.
Image

Latino, Latinx, and Latine: Language and Creating Inclusive Spaces

Latino, Latinx and Latine youth deserve a safe space where they can be seen and heard as their authentic selves. As language continues to adapt to the needs of diverse communities, embracing these changes is a step towards progress and equity.
Image

Gender-Based Violence Support and Prevention

Gender-based violence (GBV) means hurting someone because of their gender. It includes various forms of abuse. And too often, women and marginalized gender identities are most affected. But there are ways we can work to address and prevent GBV.

Image

Uplift Youth Workers

Youth workers all around the world are making a positive difference in the lives of our young people. Individually, and as a group, they deserve our full appreciation. But the truth is, too few people recognize their many contributions.
Image

Celebrate International Youth Day 2023 with YIPA!

International Youth Day is an annual event sponsored by the United Nations. For 2023, your friends at YIPA hosted a Virtual Community Forum to celebrate International Youth Day. You’re invited to check out the recorded event and it’s FREE for everyone!
Image

Celebrate the Abilities of Youth with Disabilities Every Day!

Youth with disabilities possess remarkable abilities and talents. Their perseverance is inspirational and they deserve recognition and celebration. Embracing and acknowledging their unique strengths fosters a sense of pride and self-confidence in them and us too!
Image

Personal Growth Needs Nurturing to Bloom

Personal growth is vital to the holistic development of young people. And with careful nurturing from caring adults, young people can thrive and grow into their full potential. Your role in their personal growth is so important!

Image

LGBTQ+ Pride

LGBTQ+ Pride plays a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and understanding. Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer are too often at risk. Pride is an event that shows them they belong.
Image

Empowering Young People: The Power of Self-efficacy and Coaching

Self-efficacy development is a critical part of empowering young people in today's fast-paced and ever-changing world. Youth workers play an essential role in fostering personal growth and self-efficacy among young people.
An image of the word legislation in a book.

Policy Engagement Will Facilitate Change

Policy engagement is the key to unlocking a brighter future for our young people. When youth workers become social activists, we influence legislation and improve the well-being of young people. By actively engaging in policy work, we shape decisions that directly impact their lives.
Image

AANHPI Heritage Month Honors Belonging

AANHPI communities are too often overlooked or forgotten in U.S history. In fact, compared to Black and Latino populations in the U.S., Asian Americans are the least likely to feel like they belong.
Image

Storytelling and Humor Help us Connect

Storytelling and humor are powerful tools any youth worker can use. These two skills are essential elements for creating caring connections. They reveal you as someone a young person can relate to.
Image

Restorative Justice Practice in Youth Work

Restorative justice is a healing way of addressing conflicts as well as crimes. Rather than seeking justice through punishment, it seeks justice through repair. Keeping people whole and connected to community is the key.
Image

Emotional Dysregulation is a Vicious Cycle

Emotional dysregulation is an inability to control strong feelings like sadness, anxiety, or anger. This can lead to behavioral problems. And it can create a perpetual cycle that will likely continue until there is some type of intervention.
Image

Stress Less Strategies for Well-being

Stress can affect anyone's well-being. But we're seeing increasing impact for young people in particular. It's becoming a mental health crisis. So, it's vital that you learn about strategies to support well-being. And help young people stress less.

Image

How Women's History Empowers Girls

Women and girls throughout history have used their voices for social justice. But their stories have often been overlooked or undervalued. March is Women’s History Month and the 2023 theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”
Image

Use Black History Month to Empower Young People

Black History Month is an invitation to learn, acknowledge, and celebrate Black culture in American history. And when you find ways to do that every day, you empower young people. Then watch them make history!
Image

Are You a Servant Youth Worker?

A servant youth worker defines their success through the success of others. They are willing to sacrifice their personal needs for the benefit of young people. Their work is a commitment to something well beyond themselves.
Image

Recognizing and Responding to Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a crime. It can happen to adults and young people in any community. But most of us don't see it and don't think it happens in our community. So, it's critical to become aware and learn how to respond.

Image

Honoring Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day is the only national holiday designated as a national day of service. Every year on the third Monday in January, America observes MLK Day. It is a time to honor the life and legacy of this civil rights icon.
Image

Holiday Blues Affect Young People Too

Holiday blues can affect anyone. Festivities and family gatherings can be an added source of stress. So, it’s important to practice good self-care. And just as important to help young people cope with holiday blues too.
Image

Go-to Relationships Are Needed for Systemic Change

Go-to relationships between youth workers and legislators are needed at the Minnesota State Legislature. Just like youth work, governing always boils down to relationships. Most legislators base their decisions on information received from trusted advisors.
Image

Suicide Postvention Supports Prevention

Suicide postvention is prevention. Not many people have heard of postvention. But it is vital to comprehensive suicide prevention. And everyone can learn how to bring postvention strategies to our work with young people, families, and communities.

Image

Gratitude for the Greatness of Youth Workers

Gratitude is something you hear a lot about when November rolls around and the Thanksgiving holiday arrives. But it seems to me, gratitude is something that we should talk about every day. Gratitude makes everything better!
Image

November is Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is an invitation to learn about and honor Native American cultures. It is also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. There is so much diversity and rich culture to explore this month!
Image

6 Reasons Why Youth Worker Social Activism Works

Youth worker social activism is the solution to many of the big problems that are ailing communities everywhere. The good news is that most legislative leaders recognize the needs of young people more today than in the recent past. Like you, they see the problems stemming from inadequate funding for youth-serving programs.
Image

Eco-anxiety is Impacting Young People

Eco-anxiety is the chronic fear of environmental doom. Psychologists are seeing disproportionate impacts on children and young adults. But we can all take steps to address this risk and protect the health and well-being of young people.
Image

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15 through October 15 each year. This is a great opportunity to learn about the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans.
Image

Mental Health Narrative Changing for the Better

Mental health challenges continue to increase. Young people and adults are faced with ongoing stress, fear, and trauma. So, it’s time to change the narrative about mental health and mental illness.
Image

Engaging Young People is the Key to Trust

Not too long ago the field of youth work believed that engaging young people was unnecessary. In fact, not engaging young people was considered best practice. The opinions of young people were generally not accepted until they became adults.
Image

International Youth Day Empowers Young People

International Youth Day is celebrated each year on August 12. The purpose is to bring attention to youth issues. And to celebrate the potential of young people as partners in our global society.

Image

Shift Your Self-Care Plans Into Action

Self-care is essential in youth work to avoid burnout and manage secondary trauma. So, how are YOU doing? Whether self-care is already part of your daily routine or you just need a place to start, here are some action steps to take better care.
Image

Disability Pride Month is Something to Celebrate!

Disability Pride Month was first celebrated in July of 2015. It’s not a federally recognized holiday yet. So, you may not be as familiar with it as other culturally inclusive celebrations. But it really is something to celebrate!
Image

Youth Worker Advocacy During a Campaign Season

Youth worker advocacy during a campaign season is too often overlooked. But it is actually a great time to gain support for our young people. That’s because during a legislative session there are so many demands on legislators that they have too little time to learn from you.
Image

DEI Initiatives Advance Social Justice

DEI initiatives play a vital role in advancing social justice. When organizations and youth programs provide diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces, people thrive. And all of us can play a role in making DEI initiatives work for everyone.

Image

What it Takes to be a Passionate Youth Worker

A passionate youth worker is someone that has found their purpose in serving young people. Many found that calling through their own childhood experiences with a caring adult. Others kind of fell into it. And then couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
Image

Considerations for Mandated Reporting

Mandated reporting is something every youth worker needs to learn about. Your responsibility is not always clearly defined. So, it is especially important to understand the laws in your area. And to sharpen your critical thinking skills for a host of considerations.
Image

The Benefits of Youth Worker Training

The benefits of youth worker training are often lost when times get tough. Training is often the first thing to go when budget cuts are needed. This is true even in industries that have greater financial capital to work with than youth-serving programs.
Image

Social and Emotional Learning Through Games and Play

Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps young people of all ages better understand their emotions. Although SEL is common in the context of students and school, any type of youth programming can support SEL.

Image

Resilience: The Antidote to Stress

Resilience is often thought of as the ability to bounce back from difficulties. So, in that sense, it’s a kind of toughness. But that view is a bit one dimensional. Moreover, we’re learning that resilience is not a one-size-fits-all skill.
Image

ADHD Challenges, Strengths, and Strategies for Youth Workers

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can present challenges and strengths when you work with young people. As you look deeper at ADHD, you will notice opportunities to encourage young people to create positive outcomes. Let’s learn strategies you can add to your youth work toolbox.
Image

How to Advocate for Young People as a Youth Worker

When I first entered the youth worker field in the early 1990s, there were many more funding resources for youth-serving programs than there are today. So, it wasn’t critical for me to advocate for funding. I could just focus on working directly with young people.
Image

Helping Young People Navigate Cancel Culture

Cancel culture can be used for good, as a way to demand social change. It’s helped combat wrongdoing like racism, sexism, and LGBTQIA+ bias. But it can also be used to harm, as a way to bully. And that’s a real risk to young people’s well-being.
Image

Motivation to Move Toward Change

Motivation plays an important role in achieving any meaningful change. When a young person is struggling with change, you can be a great resource to help them find their motivation. Making it all about them is the key.
Image

De-escalation Strategies for Young People and Youth Workers

De-escalation can be challenging as you care for the young person, others, and yourself, all at the same time. And the intensity of the moment when a young person’s behavior is escalated may feel hard to handle. But knowing how to respond quickly with calming de-escalation skills is the key.
Image

Wisdom in Youth Work is Untapped Potential

Wisdom in youth work is not conveniently or routinely shared. The field of youth work lacks sufficient infrastructure to learn and grow from each other. This delays the collective wisdom of us all, and ultimately limits our success.
Image

Developing Brave Spaces for Dialogue in Youth Work

Dialogue is a powerful way to help young people develop their voice. Dialogue is an agreement to listen and acknowledge without judgment. It helps us consider different viewpoints and develop empathy and understanding.

Image

Belonging, Inclusion, and Mental Health

Belonging is an innate human need. Everybody wants to feel like they belong. And it turns out that belonging brings benefits for our well-being across the board. Without it, we can feel lost, alone, and struggle to find meaning in life.

Image

Positive Communication with Young People Matters

Positive communication with young people is a skill that everyone should master. It sets the stage for relationship building and developing trust. The key is to be congruent. Be positive in your outward presentation and feel positive inside too.
Image

10 Ways Providing Support to Young People Is a Gift

Providing support to young people is what youth workers do. And highly effective youth workers know that they receive so much in return. When we understand the positive impact it has on us personally, we realize that we’ve been handed a gift of our lifetime.
Image

Mindful Youth Work Benefits You and Young People

Mindfulness can be a great way to manage stress, anxiety, and distraction. These are challenges all young people and adults face from time to time. So, we could all use mindfulness as a healthy way to cope with and prevent stress.

Image

Kindness Matters for Positive Youth Development

Kindness is biologically hard-wired into us. Indeed, as children, we are kind more naturally. Sadly, as we become older we may practice kindness less often due to the stresses of daily life. But we now know that kindness is key for positive youth development.
Image

Relationships in Youth Work

Relationships are at the core of all youth work. Therefore, no matter how your program interacts with young people, it’s essential to use those interactions to help build relationships. While building relationships comes naturally for some people, others need to be intentional about it.
Image

Helping Young People Manage Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Anxiety isn’t new. And while the Covid global pandemic is not the first pandemic in history, we need to be mindful of the increased anxiety our young people are experiencing today. You have an important role in helping them navigate their experiences, draw on their strengths, and offer creative coping skills that will shape positive outcomes for them in the future.

Image

The Value of Bringing Improv to Youth Work

Improv is a fun and engaging way to build real trust in your relationships with young people. Additionally, improv is a great way to build your confidence for those times you need to think on your feet. And using improv in youth programming can inspire creativity and strengthen problem-solving.

Image

How to Address Secondary Trauma

Secondary trauma is a natural but disruptive result of working with people who have been traumatized. Therefore, your work with young people makes you vulnerable to this type of stress. So, you owe it to yourself to learn how to address it.
Image

Caregiver Engagement in Youth Work

Caregiver engagement positively impacts young people and the systems around them. Whether it’s parents or different caregivers, sometimes engagement can be tough. But you can do it! Here are some ideas to help you engage caregivers.
Image

How to Recognize Youth Mental Illness

Knowing how to recognize the red flags of youth mental illness may save a life. As a youth worker, you must be on alert for signs that something isn’t right. Often, the warning signs are in plain sight when you know what they are.
Image

Exercise Your Power of Choice!

Sometimes, the stress of daily life can make you forget that you have the power of choice. The COVID pandemic magnified that to a whole other level. So, this is the perfect time to remind yourself of the power of choice.

Image

Youth Mental Health: Reduce the Stigma

Youth mental health matters. Are you doing enough to notice and offer help? If not, I hope this quick take will stir you to learn more and take action. Because no matter how you work with young people, your support can save lives.
Image

Pride is a Banner for Belonging

Pride - LGBTQ Pride Month - is celebrated in June each year to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots. That historic uprising is seen as the beginning of the movement to eliminate discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.
Image

Power Dynamics in Youth Work

Power dynamics in youth work are inherent. Understanding what they are and what you should do about them is important. Are you fully aware of how to manage your power in your day-to-day youth work?
Image

Poetry in Youth Work

Poetry is a lot like youth work. Just like youth work, it’s an art form that has the awesome power to change lives. It’s a language that builds connections and invites vulnerability. It’s a source of inspiration and hope. Youth work is a lot like poetry.
Image

Challenging Behaviors Should Not Define Youth

Challenging Behaviors are often the reason a young person is referred to a youth intervention program. Youth workers typically know more about a young person’s challenging behaviors than they do about the young person at first.
Image

Will a Grassroots Movement in Youth Work Change Everything?

Grassroots movements are responsible for a woman’s right to vote, civil liberties for people of color, and the right to marry the person you love for the LGBTQ+ community. Could a grassroots movement in youth work fundamentally change the lives of our young people in the same way?
Image

Self-Compassion is a Youth Work Superpower

Self-compassion is a basic yet profound principle of being kind to yourself. It’s not about pity or not taking responsibility. It’s a strategy of relating with yourself and the young people you serve in a kind and compassionate way.

Image

Validation: Suicide Prevention Through a Different Lens

Validation may be one of the most important skills to develop for all aspects of your work with young people. Validation is an especially powerful piece of the pre-prevention puzzle. Teenagers need to know that we hear them.
Image

Emotional Regulation: Suicide Prevention Through a Different Lens

Emotional regulation is the ability to manage and respond effectively to emotions, not let emotions and mood dictate behavior. This is a key component of suicide prevention. Emotional regulation is the focus of Part 2 of our three-part series. 
Image

Impulse Control: Suicide Prevention Through a Different Lens

Impulse control is especially difficult for young people but without this skill, teenagers are more susceptible to risky behavior, even suicide. Impulsivity is part of typical teen development. Giving them the tools for impulse control will help them effectively combat negative impulses, including suicidal ideation.
Image

Building Resilience in Youth

Building resilience in youth means you are helping young people get through tough obstacles in their life, sometimes even chronic situations. It does not mean it will be easy for young people or that there won’t be emotional scars as a result.
Image

Empathy and Social Activism in Youth Work

Empathy is a key component of all social activism. After all, you have to be able to relate in some manner to the cause or people you are championing. The passion and commitment that empathy provides can drive you to demand that things improve for our young people.
Image

Suicide Prevention Basics for Youth Workers

Suicide prevention is not a skill most people feel very competent in. But as a youth worker, you have an obligation to learn all you can about suicide prevention. Being able to recognize the early warning signs is a matter of life and death.
Image

Self-Awareness is Your Main Asset in Youth Work

Self-awareness as a youth worker is the best thing you can do to improve positive outcomes with young people. Simply put – you are your best tool in the tool box when it comes to your youth work.
Image

What Makes for Great Youth Workers

As a youth worker and now as executive director of YIPA, I have met many great youth workers. I have often wondered how these folks became great. Why are some people just so naturally good at helping our young people?
Image

Quality Youth Work Includes a Passion for Service

Quality youth work requires that we build and sustain a passion for serving young people. The need for technical training such as mental health basics, trauma informed care, and the like is well documented. But, we rarely talk about the importance of having passion for youth work.
Image

Beware of Your Ethical Dilemmas in Youth Work

Ethical dilemmas in youth work happen all the time and they often go unrecognized. These situations can be so subtle that you may react without consideration to the origins of your behaviors.
Image

Leveraging Conflict Resolution Skills in Youth Work

Conflict resolution skills are essential for every youth worker. Youth work is about human relationships and, being human, we are certain to find ourselves in conflict with the young people we sincerely want to support.
Image

Adolescence is the Gateway into Adulthood

Adolescence is a developmental stage everyone must navigate before entering adulthood. It can be an awkward and challenging time for some. Many of us may want to forget about the dumb things we did in that developmental phase, but we can’t. Our mistakes don’t make us bad people; rather they shape and influence who we choose to become.
Image

The Power of Youth Work Associations

Youth work associations are powerful and I’ve come to the understanding that who you associate with really does matter if you want to create change. Those you associate with will energize you and help you to see new possibilities.
Image

So Many Reasons Why Youth Workers Are Awesome

Youth workers are awesome! In an era when too many people are focused on themselves and their own well-being, we need to look to youth workers as a group of individuals worthy of emulation.