So this blog is called The Club Experience Blog, but what does that mean? Where does that come from?
We have lots of different ways that we gather feedback from Club members, both informally and formally. One of the formal ways is the National Youth Outcomes Initiative, or NYOI. The NYOI is an annual survey of members ages 9 and older, and is a way that they can tell us how they feel about their experience at the Club. (Ahem. Hence THE CLUB EXPERIENCE BLOG.) On the NYOI, members answer questions on several topics, all of which come from the Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development. If you’ve spent any amount of time working at a Club, you’ve probably heard of them.
The Five Key Elements are the foundation of how we enable our young people to reach their full potential, and the NYOI gives us a window into how we are living them out in the Club. It shines a light on what we are doing well, and helps us to identify opportunities to grow.
The Five Key Elements are so important because we have seen over and over that members who have a great Club Experience also do better in school, live healthier lives, and are stronger leaders. They are also way more likely to keep coming to the Club! Which makes sense, right? I’m not going to keep going places where I don’t feel safe and I have no fun.
Said no one ever lol
So ok. We know that this is what to do. But, what do we actually do?? When I was working at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains, this was a constant question. I want my Education room to be a positive place where I can recognize the achievements of my youth, but how? Recently, BGCA has developed a handy-dandy checklist that you can use to get started on this work (you can get a printable version on bgca.net):
On the blog and in the Youth Development Toolbox app, we tag every post by the Five Key Elements as they are broken out in the NYOI. (We split them out individually, so like safe, positive environment is split to Emotional Safety and Physical Safety.) As time goes on and more resources are added, these tools will be *treasure troves* of great ideas and opportunities for learning.
If you are a Club director, the Five Key Elements are a great tool to use with your staff during staff meetings and training. For example, focus on one of the Keys each month. Introduce it at a staff meeting and chat about what it means. In the YDToolbox app, find a YD Challenge that corresponds to assign to your staff. Brainstorm with them some specific actions to try, and then be sure to follow up and find out how it went. Then next month, try another! And let us know how it goes!
How have you used the Five Key Elements in your Club? Comment below or email us at ClubXBlog@bgca.org!
Be sure to read the other posts in the Let’s Talk Data Series by clicking here.