If you’ve been following the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or reading one of the many BGCA.net emails, or keeping up with ClubX Blog posts, or even having any conversations with anyone from the National Office, you’ve been hearing a LOT about MyFuture. For good reason! Over the past couple of years, our team has put a ton of work into upgrading and improving the platform, making it THE premier destination for high-quality activities and digital programming.
If you aren’t familiar with it, MyFuture is a web platform that provides Boys & Girls Club members and staff with high-quality activities so members can learn new skills, earn recognition, and share their work with their peers, and you can use it in virtual, onsite, or hybrid program models. MyFuture gives kids and teens access to over 350 activities (with more always being added) and works on all devices, including mobile, tablet, laptops or desktops. Kids and teens can create accounts, complete activities to earn points and badges, and participate in contests to help their Club win prizes. Plus? It gives staff robust data you can use for grant reporting, recognition, and whatever else you may need!
(And for our non-Boys & Girls Club friends who might be reading this- you can see and use all of the activities without logging in! You won’t be able to have youth submit their projects for badges or track data, but it is still an incredible library of ideas to adapt for your programming.)
One of our most recent updates is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE- Club staff can now add your own activities! Activities you create in MyFuture will be available to your entire organization – and once it has been created, you will be able to assign members to the activity, track completions, project uploads, and anything else you can do with a traditional MyFuture activity. For those who work to get local funders, you can also provide some local funder recognition on the activities pages themselves. You’ll also be able to go back and edit, and publish and unpublish as needed. And if you want to share the activity with ALL Clubs, you can let BGCA know, and the team here can make it available to everyone. I ABSOUTELY CANNOT WAIT to start seeing yours!!!!!! Log on to https://myfuture.net/staff TODAY to see how it works. Go to “Activities” on the left menu bar, and then “My Activities” -> Add new activity!!
You can learn more about all of the latest features by heading over to the staff page on MyFuture.net and checking out the Staff Resources Guide, as well as the Quick Start Guide if you are new to the platform. We’ve also got bi-weekly webinars through 2021 to help you get started, or you can book a consultation with a BGCA staff member to talk about your specific Club situation.
But what we are really chatting about today is how to *use* MyFuture. I mentioned before that you can use it in your on-site, virtual, or hybrid programming. But how would that look?
MyFuture for On-Site Programming
To use MyFuture as part of your on-site programming, start by referring to tools such as the Program Basics Planner and YD Toolbox to help you plan. Visit the activities page on MyFuture to choose the activity for the session, from Digital Literacy to ALL STARS or activities designed specifically for teens. Use the Staff Dashboard to assign activities to members ahead of time and place members into groups for easier management. Ensure members have their username and passwords with MyFuture Member Password Cards. MyFuture can be used either as independent, free choice programming or as part of your whole-group program plans. If supplies are required, ensure they are gathered and ready to go at the beginning of your activity. And don’t forget to have fun!
As an example, here’s how an activity session could run for the Finding Your Spark activity:
Welcome youth to the activity session.
Community Builder: Alliteration Game (adjective, animals, food, etc.): Each member says his/her name with an adjective that describes him/her, using the same first letter as their name (i.e., Amazing Amy, Fun Frank, Carrot Carlos). Before the next person goes, he/she repeats the name and adjective (etc.) of each person who went before.
Introduction: Talk through the introduction in Step 1. Then sort youth into pairs by shirt color, making sure each young person has a partner.
Activity: Direct pairs to the MyFuture Finding Your Spark activity page using a computer or their mobile device, walk them through Steps 1-3 of the activity, and let them begin in their pairs. If you prefer, you can have all youth watch the video in Step 2 together in one group, then have them complete Steps 1-3 in their pairs. Remind youth to either save or take a photo of their completed interview questions to upload to their MyFuture account to earn points! If you do not have devices for each youth, you can print a copy of the activity page for each pair.
Reflection: Call youth back together to the large group. Ask the following questions:
- How do you feel about this activity?
- Why is understanding what you are passionate about important?
Thank youth for participating!
Afterwards, make sure youth have clicked the “I’m Done” button and/or uploaded their projects, and approve them. If they did not, you can go back to the Staff Dashboard to finish an activity for members or upload projects for them. That ensures the data is tracked so you can pull it from the “Reports” section of the Staff Dashboard.
MyFuture for Virtual or Hybrid Programming
Your Virtual Club will look different depending on the needs of your community, partnerships with school districts and other community service providers, and whether your Club is open for in-person and virtual experiences, a hybrid model or a Virtual Club Experience only. For more information about how to plan for your Virtual Club, visit the Virtual Club Planner.
Ways to use MyFuture in Virtual Programming:
- Free Choice or Extension Activities: Similar to the guidance for on-site programming, you can let youth choose the activity they want to do or can assign specific activities. Consider creating a video that can be watched on demand or starting as a full group live video call to introduce the activity, then releasing youth to MyFuture to complete.
- Youth Accounts and Caregiver Communication: How do you plan to communicate to caregivers? You can create accounts for youth and send them out or send instructions on how to register for MyFuture (and ensure youth are affiliated to your Club). Youth will need to enter in the state and city your Club site is located in to find the name of your Club in the dropdown.
- Use the Club Posts feature: Every Club on MyFuture has its own Club page. Using the Club Posts feature, staff can post daily or weekly schedules, videos and links to youth with MyFuture accounts linked to your Club. You can post asynchronous or synchronous content on MyFuture utilizing the Club Posts feature.
- Track your data: How do you plan to measure your virtual program? How will you measure participation (number of participants, completion of activities)? The MyFuture Staff Dashboard lets you assign and track completed activities, including local activities not hosted on MyFuture. You can pull these reports at any time, for any dates. The homepage of the Staff Dashboard will also showcase.
One of the great things about MyFuture is that we are always adding new features and activities, so be sure to keep checking in. We hold monthly contests where you can win prizes and grant awards, and have our incredibly fun Whatever It Takes live event series, where we’ve had pro athletes and tv stars come chat with our youth! We post all the new good stuff over on the BGCA YD Facebook page, so follow that immediately if you don’t already. And if you have any questions or suggestions for future activities or functionality you’d like to see? Send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to hear what you need and what your youth want!
This content was adapted from the Boys & Girls Club COVID-19 Planning Guidebook: Summer 2021 Edition, a collection of ideas, strategies and resources informed by Boys & Girls Club organizations and numerous experts in the youth development field. Best practices are categorized within four themes: Business Continuity, Safety, On-Site Club Experience and MyFuture & Digital Youth Engagement. Download it now at BGCA.net.