When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 74 Creative Youth Development organizations in Massachusetts were forced to pivot, without preparation or training, to remote programming. These organizations faced a unique set of challenges in working with communities which were disproportionately affected by the virus and with young people who were already experiencing significant and systemic challenges in their lives. Continue reading What We Learned From CYD Organizations During COVID-19→
As part of Americans for the Arts’ work on their Creative Youth Development Toolkit, they commissioned field experts to produce a set of seven landscape analyses about key topics within youth development. These papers identify trends in creative youth development, share recommendations for CYD practitioners, and suggest areas for future exploration. All of them are now available online:
Music Learning as Youth Development, a new book published in June 2019, highlights the role of community based Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations as catalysts and trailblazers for bringing youth development practices into all areas of music learning.
Looking forward, this book is an important step in moving youth development into the center of music learning in schools, community based settings, higher education, and professional performance settings.
Erik Holmgren of Mass Cultural Council authored a chapter called, “Changing the Ecology of Music Learning: Lessons from Creative Youth Development,” and the book was edited by Larry Scripp of the New England Conservatory and Brian Kaufmann from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Earlier this month, RAW Art Works hosted a unique roundtable discussion with Lynn’s Mayor Thomas McGee, State Senator Brendan Crighton, and State Representative Peter Capano, alongside many creative youth development organizations, youth leaders, and other voices from the field, on the role of arts and culture in providing quality afterschool and out-of-school experiences for young people.
As expressed in the ASOST’s report, ”The research is clear. Children who attend quality afterschool programs do better in school, get better grades, have fewer behavioral issues, have higher graduation rates, and are better equipped for college and career. Yet for every child in an afterschool program, two are waiting to get in. What we must do as a Commonwealth is invest in afterschool and summer learning as part of a full education agenda to give our kids the greatest opportunity for success.”
Sitting at RAW, its walls covered in fantastic artwork expertly made by local youth, these arguments deeply resonated. Thanks to Anita Walker’s facilitation, challenges, opportunities, and impromptu alliances were forged as the assembled crowd rallied for the young people in their communities, and highlighted the potential that lies within creative youth development investments.
We are proud to convene roundtables like these across the state to connect our local and state elected officials with the efforts of the cultural sector for the benefit of our most vulnerable communities.
The Theater Offensive entered the Innovation Lab to design a national organizing model to support and encourage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth theaters nationally through
the Pride Youth Theater Alliance (PYTA). PYTA’s mission is to “connect and support queer youth theater organizations, programs, and professionals committed to empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied (LGBTQA) youth in North America.” Through the Innovation Lab process, the The Theater Offensive team explored these questions:
How can youth leadership be operationally central to PYTA, and
How can the national PYTA network take advantage of the capacities of the locally grounded organization (The Theater Offensive)?
New Research Sets Stage for Boston Summit to Advance Emerging Field of Creative Youth Development Out-of-school programs that develop the creative capacities of young people are uniquely positioned to drive civic and social progress in their communities, according to new research. The research report, Setting the Agenda, is drawn from surveys and interviews of adults and young people from more than 150 youth arts, humanities, and science programs nationwide.
“Today, youth are increasingly becoming disconnected from their communities and the means to make a successful transition to adulthood,” the report states. “At the same time, creativity is growing in its importance to addressing changing economic, social, technological, and environmental challenges. In this context, creative youth development programs are an asset, and supporting and increasing their impact is of great importance.”
I suspect I will be referring to this report and its findings for a long time as I help people build new programs and reflect on current work.
Among the highlights:
Understanding that in choosing afterschool opportunities, teens and ‘tweens are consumers (whether programs are paid-for or free, young people are shopping with their time) and programs need to meet the young people where they are.
The market research offers some highly actionable insights on what the consumers are looking for (and NOT looking for).
The success principles for quality programming stress the importance of addressing artistic excellence AND youth development principles — the either/or is a false dichotomy.
There is strong alignment between what the consumers (young people) say they want in a program and what providers (practitioners, program people) say are the elements of success (safe spaces, opportunities for mastery, sense of belonging, presenting to larger world…).
The title of the report is also pretty great.
I think this is a really terrific contribution to the field. What do you think?