By Sam Piha
Being a youth worker is a very difficult job. They face a variety of challenges and dilemmas, as they work with a diverse group of young people. We collected a number of questions from youth workers and promised to engage experts and field leaders for their answers. Below are some of the questions we received and the answers that we sought out from field leaders, content experts and innovative practitioners. If you want to submit your own question, click here.
This blog is part 2 of our Q&A series. You can review part 1. Stay tuned as we continue to explore questions from youth workers. (Note: we know that there are many answers to any question. Below, we offer some well-thought-out answers that we received. Because schools and agencies may have specific policies, we recommend that youth workers share their questions with their immediate supervisor. At the bottom we provide a brief bio about the respondent.)
Q: Staffing is a HUGE issue for my program. I spent all this year down 2 staff members, and it looks like will be down 3 staff to start back in the fall. My organization offers low pay, low hours, and absolutely no perks (training, paying for school, free child care, etc). I also live in a rural area, and our community college serves older students who have families to feed and can't possibly work for such low pay. With these issues in mind, how do we not only attract talented staff but also retain them? - Youth Worker, serving youth 5-11, Nevada County, CA
A: "Staffing is always an issue, especially in rural areas. Here are a few ideas:
Gloria Halley works for the Butte County Office of Education. She has been in the Health Promotion / Community Development / Education field for approximately twenty-five years. She currently serves as the Region 2 Lead for the California Department of Education – Expanded Learning Division, statewide System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL). In her role she provides support services for state and federally funded before school, after school and summer learning programs that serve elementary, middle school and high school students in nine northern counties: Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Shasta, Trinity, Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen and Plumas. Gloria is a highly-regarded trainer, coach/mentor and consultant. She has successfully facilitated several school-community initiatives.
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.