This post is part of our special series on the Coronavirus outbreak.
Two weeks ago when we posted our Preventing the Spread of Viruses blog, little did we know what situation we would find ourselves in today. Boys & Girls Clubs, schools, and other youth-serving organizations across the country are closed, and not only are all of us social distancing, but some areas may be under more strict quarantine orders soon. It’s unlike anything else we’ve experienced in modern times, and it is challenging for all of us.
But for many of us, work isn’t stopping, it is just moving to where we live! Lots of Boys & Girls Clubs are working on creating virtual or distance experiences for young people. To learn more and to get the latest information from BGCA, Club staff can visit BGCA.net/coronavirus. Anyone can access virtual programming activity ideas on MyFuture now, including Club-created resources, public websites, and more information about the MyFuture platform. And as always, I’ll post Youth Development specific updates over on Facebook.
Also, some Clubs are using this opportunity to have staff do some planning and professional development while they are at home. I think this is a great idea, and so I wanted to pull together some ideas of things you can do if you are in the same boat.
Shore up your YD foundation by completing the Youth Development Professional Foundational Pathway on Spillett Leadership University.
We’ve recently released a great new training resource on our online training platform, Spillett Leadership University. We’ve got sessions created by BGCA and our friends at the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality on topics like “Boys & Girls Club Basics” and “De-escalating Concerning Behavior,” all available online with only a BGCA.net access needed. To find them, head to BGCA.net/training, click that big blue button that says “Register for Training” and then search for “Youth Development Professional.” Here’s what you are looking for:
While you are there, or once you’ve finished the Foundation Level, check out all the other amazing online courses! By choosing “Browse for Training” in the Learning menu a the top of the page, you’ll find a ton of online courses on safety, diversity, leadership, and program area specific content. There’s enough there to keep you very busy!
Get inspired and maybe even sob like Sarah did while watching the Mr. Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”
I’m of the generation that grew up watching Mr. Rogers so I have deep personal connections, but when I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor in the theater, I immediately thought EVERY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONAL NEEDS TO WATCH THIS!!!! The documentary not only tells his story, but goes into specifically why he was able to reach so many children and make them feel seen and special and loved through a screen. (Sound like anything we are trying to do right now?) I even used some of my social distancing time to watch it again and create a discussion guide! If you have HBO (as of March 2020), you can stream it for free, but I’d say its also 100% worth the cost of rental or purchase. I bought it because I need to have it forever.
Get ahead of the game by starting your summer planning now.
We know that planning for full-day summer programming takes up a lot of time. While we can’t forecast how this situation will all play out, we will hopefully be back to more regular schedules by then. Future you will be so thankful that you kickstarted planning now. Just in the knick of time, the BGCA Education team released the Summer Brain Gain 2020 working documents on BGCA.net. They aren’t the final designed versions, those will come in April, but all of the content is there so you can start building schedules, planning themed weeks, and putting together supply lists. You can also access all previous versions, in case you want to reuse any of the modules.
While you are on BGCA.net, check out our newest program resource, Money Matters!
Learn all kinds of things by watching TED Talks.
TED Talks are short, powerful speeches, delivered without the use of notes, with the goal of spreading ideas. I’ve shared two of my favorites here on the ClubX Blog before, one for staff on creativity and one for youth on defining yourself, but now is a great time to explore the vast library of them. You can find a ton by searching YouTube or on the official TED Talk website (they even have a podcast!), or the website WeAreTeachers has two compilations. This one is for educators, and while what we do at Clubs is different than the regular school day, most of the ones shared here overlap. This list is for youth, so you could share them during your virtual programming now, or use them to create in-person program plans for when shutdown is over. You can even watch our very own BGCA CEO Jim Clark give one at TEDxYouth back in 2014!
Read through the ClubX Blog archives. Or even better, write a ClubX Blog post!
I’m engaging in a little bit of shameless self-promotion here, but we’ve shared A METRIC TON of amazing stuff here on the ClubX Blog over the past two and a half years, and I know that your “regular” lives have probably been to busy to review it all. I can’t even list all the highlights here, but posts range from how to help introverts thrive at your Club to ideas on how to organize your Club storage to activities using pool noodlesactivities using pool noodles to how one Club in Virginia set up a fun recognition system. I mean, so many good posts. Settle in and click around.
Most importantly, STAY HEALTHY, both physically and emotionally.
The top priority of the whole country right now is to stay healthy. And while we recognize that right now physical health is the biggest focus, your emotional health is just as important. Absolutely use this time to be productive, but also use this time to take a pause, connect with your friends and family, and catch up on some things that you love. For example, I’m making plans for calls with friends I haven’t had time to chat with. I’m also watching a lot of The Golden Girls and working through my very tall to-be-read book stack.
To help keep us all on track, we are going to be posting lots of short ClubX Blog posts over the next couple of weeks that focus specifically on managing your emotional health and wellness while we are all navigating these uncharted waters. You’ll see me and ClubX Blog friend Kate Endries popping up with practical ideas and tips rooted in the latest research. In the meantime, keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and let us know how we can support you.
Check back in with the ClubX Blog often for more ideas and resources on how to maintain your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Take care of yourself. We are in this together!
Get the latest updates from BGCA at BGCA.net/Coronavirus, find programming ideas at MyFuture.net, like the BGCA Youth Development on Facebook for YD updates including video from Sarah, and join the brand new BGCA Youth Development Community also on Facebook to connect with other Club staff on programming through coronavirus.