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OCT
9
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Students harness healthy habits at Camp Fire Wise Kids®

By Tiereny Lloyd

For the students and staff of Camp Fire Wise Kids® afterschool programs in and around Dallas, Texas, health is all about balance. By emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet and of balancing “energy in” and “energy out,” staff hope to empower children to make a lifetime’s worth of healthy and wise choices.

Like other Camp Fire programs across the nation, the Wise Kids program relies on the “Thrive{ology}” framework. Described as a “research-based, measurable approach to youth development,” Camp Fire developed the approach in partnership with the California-based Thrive Foundation for Youth. It comprises four components:

  1. Helping children identify their “sparks” – that is, their interests and passions
  2. Guiding them to adopt a “growth” mindset – the belief that they can learn new skills all the time
  3. Urging them to set and manage goals for themselves
  4. Encouraging them to reflect on what they’ve done and accomplished

Camp Fire Lone Star layers its Wise Kids framework over the health and physical education standards written into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards issued by the state’s department of education. The health and physical education standards are generally in line with the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards developed by the National AfterSchool Association.

OCT
4
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: October 4, 2017

By Luci Manning

Detroit High School Chefs Team Up with Lions for Cooking Competition (Detroit Free Press, Michigan)

Students in the Detroit Food Academy's afterschool culinary program are learning cooking skills and self-development through food and entrepreneurship. High schoolers enrolled in the program recently had the opportunity to cook alongside Detroit Lions football players like defensive tackle Akeem Spence in a cooking competition. The competition, “Eat Up or Cook Up,” awarded winners a $1,500 scholarship from Baker College, a Detroit Lions gift bag, and game tickets as a prize. “These kids, they can definitely cook, especially at the age group they are,” Spence told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s amazing to see their creativity come to life and they are doing what they love to do.”

Penn Students, Faculty and Alumni Work Together at this After-School Program for Latino Students (The Daily Pennsylvanian, Pennsylvania)

Three recent University of Pennsylvania graduates began an afterschool program called Lanzando Líderes, or “Launching Leaders,” to promote leadership and academic excellence in for high schoolers from immigrant or first-generation, low-income families. The program pairs high school students with mentors and tutors from the university and puts on academic and leadership workshops. “In my life I never really felt like I had someone to guide me. I got lucky and got placed into the hands of awesome teachers. But that was all luck. I sort of feel like I owe it to people in my sort of situation to help them reach their full potential,” tutor Enoch Solano-Sanchez told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The Wrong Way to Fight Gangs (The New York Times, California)

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Lauren Markham, author and Oakland International High School employee, explains how afterschool programs help keep immigrant youths out of gangs: “Newly arrived immigrants are a fast-growing demographic in American schools…. Yet the Trump administration is pushing for cuts that will affect their ability to succeed in school, or even attend school at all. The proposed 2018 education budget includes… an evisceration of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers…. If 21st Century funds go away, these programs vanish. Which means the students will find somewhere else to take them in. [Notorious gang] MS-13, as it happens, welcomes young people with open arms.”

The Right STEPS: Kei-Che Randle Bridges Hearing Gap with Music (The Courier, Iowa)

The STEPS afterschool program teaches American Sign Language to hearing students from kindergarten through eighth grade learn through music. The program is run by Kei-Che Randle, a site coordinator and camp director at the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County. “It was just the most beautiful program,” YMCA chief executive officer Angie Widner told The Courier. “Not only had they learned sign language, they had learned to present themselves with confidence on stage; they had such a presence on stage.” Randle’s goal for STEPS is to create a stronger connection between the Waterloo hearing and deaf communities. 

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SEP
29
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Pro sports can connect kids to afterschool STEAM learning

By Guest Blogger

By Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education for the San Francisco 49ers and managing partner of EDU Academy. More information on 49ers STEAM programming is available here

On its best days, informal and afterschool education is cool. It’s different. It lights fires. For many kids, it’s a window into new way of thinking about subjects they either don’t know or think they don’t like. Sports can be a powerful connector of kids to content—one on which the San Francisco 49ers capitalize, through the organization’s education work in the Bay Area.

“Some kids think learning isn’t cool,” said George Garcia, lead STEAM instructor for Santa Clara Unified School District, “but you tie it into something they enjoy or see on TV and all of a sudden kids sit up straighter in the classroom and almost forget they’re learning.”

SEP
28
2017

LIGHTS ON
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America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy schools.

America After 3 PM tells us that 73 percent of families report that their child’s afterschool program is located in a public school building. That is some serious overlap! As afterschool programs across the country prepare to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, this is the perfect time for school and afterschool to collaborate.

 

SEP
27
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 27, 2017

By Luci Manning

Georgia Students Learn Pre-Engineering as They Revamp Shipping Containers for Haiti (Youth Today, Georgia)

Marietta High School students in the school’s civil engineering club and afterschool design class are designing a community center out of shipping containers to help communities in Haiti. The designs will include features like solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system and a waste recycling system. Teacher Leon Grant and local architects will work with students to build the structures, while also teaching basic engineering principles. “I want a creative environment where young people can utilize [the math and science] they learn,” Grant told Youth Today. While the designs will be sent along to Haiti, the structure will remain at the school as an innovation laboratory for future students.

Green Bay's Boys & Girls Club to Open College and Career Center (WFRV, Wisconsin)

Last Friday, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay opened their new College and Career Center for Teens to give young people a safe space to learn and explore future job opportunities. "Teens get a bad reputation, but they are up against some horrific odds. So, we knew a space needed to be made just for them where they can feel heard, motivated, encouraged, and like someone believes in them,” Club Director of Communications Stephanie Nespoli told WFRV. The center will offer internship and job placement services; provide free tutoring, job training, workforce etiquette lessons and academic mentoring; and give students the chance to listen to guest speakers, go on college visits and shadow adults in various industries.

Death of A’yanna Allen Sparks Local Girls to Create a Program to Help Youths Learn Life Skills (Salisbury Post, North Carolina)

A new afterschool program started by three nine-year-old girls aims to solve violence and improve life skills for children in the Salisbury community. A Bridge 4 Kids was started by three elementary school students in response to the death of their seven-year-old cousin, A’yanna Allen. “We are trying to get kids out of the streets. We don’t want them to be a follower but be a leader,” co-founder Invy Robinson told the Salisbury Post. The program includes three stages with unique goals and programming geared towards different age groups. “We want them to be able to get a job instead of fight,” co-founder India Robinson said.

Kids Learn to Grow Together (Great Falls Tribune, Montana)

An afterschool and summer gardening program is hoping to increase access to fresh foods for Westside Community residents and promote healthy eating habits among youths. Students in the Sunburst Unlimited gardening program maintain a community garden, learn about gardening techniques like composting and bring home the produce they’ve grown to share with their families. “Watching them brush off the dirt, take a bite and then to see their eyes light up – they like vegetables,” Sunburst Unlimited Director Mike Dalton told the Great Falls Tribune. “That’s what makes my heart smile. To see their joy exploring out in the garden every day.”

AUG
17
2017

IN THE FIELD
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New resource: “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity”

By Julie Keller

Would you rather have the students in your program learn to code or be able to run a 5K?

That question focuses on one of the main issues that face afterschool programs every day: how do we give our kids more, with less? Everyone wants healthy, active kids who are also receiving important academic enrichment they may not find in the school day. With STEM and wellness both on the rise in popularity and importance while funding and resources are slashed, how are out-of-school time (OST) providers to prioritize one or the other?

The National Afterschool Association (NAA), Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Afterschool Alliance, and National Girls Collaborative Project (NCGP) have collaborated to come up with a solution. “Imagine the potential of empowering the 10.2 million children in afterschool programs with science, technology, engineering, and math skills, while providing them with opportunities to eat healthy and stay active,” reads the first sentence of “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity.”

AUG
10
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Advice from the experts on successful campaigning for HEPA

By Julie Keller

Last month, Voices for Healthy Kids brought together advocates of Early Childhood Education (ECE) to dive into the science, messaging, and best practice campaign approaches for advancing healthy eating, physical activity, and decreased screen time in ECE.

Here are a few snapshots of what was discussed and how out-of-school time (OST) advocates can take the next steps for advancing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) state-level policy:

Leveraging the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP)

The US Department of Agriculture has updated the CACFP to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. These revised meal patterns include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The CACFP may be able to reimburse participating organizations up to $1,400 annually per child!

Next steps: Contact your state agency to check your organization’s eligibility for participation. If you are already participating, use this flyer to help promote and educate non-participating childcare centers about the benefits of CACFP.

JUL
26
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 26, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Unicycle Program Gains Traction across Texas Schools (Daily Texan, Texas)

Austin schoolteacher Jimmy Agnew is teaching students self-confidence and team-building skills through a unique activity – unicycling. Agnew’s nonprofit, One Wheel Many Children, grew out the Uni-Saders afterschool program he started back in 2009, and he now teaches students across Central Texas how to unicycle, building up other skills along the way. “Learning to unicycle is about a balance of cognitive thinking and physical awareness, and we teach kids to learn together as a team,” Agnew told the Daily Texan. “It’s the same thing we want to teach kids in the classroom, to problem-solve and challenge themselves.”

Young Activists March for Hunger (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

About 200 children marched by the Massachusetts State House last week raising awareness of food insecurity among children and urging support for federal food programs. The students are part of the Freedom Schools summer programs in Boston and Somerville, which are inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and aim to close achievement gaps and reduce summer learning loss while focusing on global and domestic social issues. Event organizers say protests like last week’s march teach children how to lead and take action to effect change. “It’s been fun because a lot of us want to help people who don’t get a meal everyday,” 10-year-old Emilly Gomes told the Boston Globe.

What’s Working: Learning Is Just as Important in the Summer (Huffington Post)

Allan Golston, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation U.S. Program, wrote in the Huffington Post praising summer learning: “Every summer, students are at risk of losing two to three months in reading and about two months of math skills. For low-income youth, this risk often becomes the reality…. Summer is first and foremost about allowing kids to explore, have fun, and explore their passions. But as SOWA [School’s Out Washington] and other organizations show us, there’s no reason we can’t combine play and learning. Students are better for it in the end.”

Summer Program Helps Students Explore Heritage and History (Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico)

More than 100 elementary and middle school students are spending their summer learning about New Mexico’s history and culture through project-based, hands-on learning experiences. Hands on Heritage takes students on field trips and encourages them to read and participate in STEM projects to explore the architecture, agriculture, food, and prehistoric life of the region. “I believe social studies gets put on the back burner a lot these days, because it’s not tested,” Ed Gorman, El Camino Real history teacher and a leader of the program, told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “Something like this helps kids get out and learn about New Mexico’s culture and history, to learn about this wonderful melting pot that New Mexico is.”