BEST Training Institute

The BEST Training Institute is the professional development component of the BEST Initiative.  This Training Institute helps meet the youth work field’s need for training in best practices based on positive, healthy outcomes for young people. It also supports the recognition of youth work as a profession.

The trainings employ a facilitative training approach that blends participatory learning and interactive and experiential exercises while connecting concepts to practice. Training opportunities available are:

1. Youth Worker Certificate Training
This eight-session, 32-hour training is based on the nationally recognized Advancing Youth Development curriculum. This training provides participants with grounding in the Positive Youth Development Approach. Participants are introduced to an appropriate common language for discussing youth development, and will explore information about positive youth outcomes, healthy relationships and boundaries, cultural competence, adolescent development, and other critical issues.

2. Youth Work Supervisor Training
This four-session, 16-hour training focuses on supervision and program management in youth work. It addresses the roles and responsibilities of supervisors, communication, work relationships, program management, and the specific supervision of youth workers within a youth development framework.

3. Motivational Interviewing for Youth Workers Training
This 12-hour interactive training explores Motivational Interviewing as a strategy for working with young people. Motivational Interviewing (MI) refers to a counseling approach developed by clinical psychologists Professor William R. Miller, Ph.D. and Professor Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D. MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for supporting behavior change. In this training, we have adapted this counseling style for youth work practitioners working in youth programs. This training is a very hands-on approach to supporting youth, specifically in examining risky or problematic behaviors. Participants will take away tools and activities to use with the young people that they work with.

4. What We Bring: White Youth Workers in Communities of Color Training
Good youth work requires a strong sense of self on the part of the youth worker, but all too often, whiteness is awkward for white youth workers (and youth) to talk about. This 6-hour training will offer participants room to talk about the challenges of addressing, confronting and embracing their identities as white youth workers, their reasons for working in communities of color, and what they can’t and shouldn’t bring to the work. Scenarios and other interactive tools will be used to help explore what best practices are in terms of talking with youth about race, addressing power dynamics, building alliances with youth workers of color, and sharing approaches and tools to help navigate challenges that come up in this work.

5. An Introduction to Disrupting Negative Masculinity Training
This 6-hour interactive training will encourage participants to explore how sexism, heterosexism and homophobia damages boys and how the messages of masculinity (especially “negative” masculinity) impacts boys. In youth work, it is critical to examine positive principles for boyhood/manhood are to ensure effective strategies are used to help develop healthy and positive relationships with boys.

6. Supporting Girls Training
This 6-hour training focuses on exploring strategies to positively empower girls. Participants in this training will examine how gender norms in programs often perpetuate unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of girls. This training will encourage participants to share and explore effective strategies and best practices that allow girls to choose appropriate and desirable ways for them to behave, think and act.

7. Supporting Peer Leaders to Prevent Substance Use Training
This 6-hour training focuses on equipping youth workers with activities to support their youth to be positive role models in their community in their fight to address substance use and abuse in their communities. This training will have participants engage in communication, decision-making and refusal skill activities. Participants will also have opportunities to reflect on and share strategies, practices and activities that support youth to be positive mentors to their peers in their fight to address substance abuse issues.

8. Building Resiliency in Youth: A Strategy for Supporting Mental Health Training
This 4hr interactive training will help youth workers and program staff understand resiliency and its connection to the youth development approach as a trauma-informed approach. It will focus on how to support young people to thrive, particularly young people who have witnessed or have been impacted by violence and other traumatic events. The training will be interactive and activity based, and lead to an understating of how to create program activities and a program culture that increases protective factors and reduces risks factors in order to build resiliency in young people.

9. Supporting Healthy Relationships Among Young People Training
This 4-hour interactive training will have participants explore different types of relationships that exist in their lives, from familial to romantic to professional relationships. Participants will also explore the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to best support youth to make those distinctions in their own lives. This training will include activities and role plays where participants will get to examine their own values and attitudes regarding romantic relationships, as well as, practice refusal skills for tricky situations that may arise in relationships.

10. Building and Measuring Positive Youth Outcomes in your Program Training
This 6-hour training focuses on exploring positive youth outcomes with a special focus on developmental outcomes for youth programs. Participants will utilize tools that will help better articulate developmental outcomes and indicators, specifically, to use in evaluating their programs. This training will also provide participants with an opportunity to examine how they are integrating those outcomes through intentional practice and approaches.

11. Conflict Resolution: A Strategy for Violence Prevention Training
This 4-hour training focuses on exploring conflict resolution as a violence prevention strategy for working with youth and to use in everyday life. It addresses the definition of prevention, the different levels prevention (primary, intervention and treatment) and conflict resolution activities that can be used with and taught to young people. Participants will get to explore different conflict approaches, including “win-win” approaches, “positions and interests” and steps to help resolve conflict.

12. Marijuana and Youth: The Impact of Changing Law and Strategies to Address Use
This 6-hour training will provide us with a basic understanding of the new MA Marijuana law: what’s legal, what isn’t and the possible legal implications for young people. Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to practice Motivational Interviewing skills they can put to use when discussing marijuana use with youth in their programs. This new law will impact youth programming and this training will provide youth workers a space to explore those implications and share strategies to support the health and well-being of their young people.

13. Youth Development in the Arts: A Youth Worker Artist Training
This 4-session, 16 hour training that introduces youth workers and teaching artists ways to reinforce the natural alignment between youth development principles and strong arts learning experiences. The training team will include a trainer certified in the youth development approach and experienced artist.

14. Supervising Youth Webinar
This 2-hour webinar will help participants explore the balance between youth development and employment expectations for youth they supervise. Participants will examine their roles as both a youth worker and a supervisor and how they can best find the balance. Best practices and strategies will be explored, with a focus on how to best help youth gain developmental outcomes while also meeting program outcomes and expectations.

15. Supervising Youth Employees Training
This 4-hour training focuses on how to supervise youth employees with special emphasis on balancing youth development and employment expectations. Participants will utilize tools that will help explain their role as a youth worker and supervisor. This training will also provide participants with an opportunity to examine how they are integrating youth development outcomes through intentional practice and approaches.

16. Behavior and Classroom Management Training
This 6-hour training focuses on youth workers’ role in deescalating behavioral situations with youth using an asset-based approached. This training will help participants practice probing techniques to understand the underlying issues motivating youth’s behavior. Participants will also explore individual practices and appropriate classroom management strategies that help promote positive behavior.

17. Parent/Caregiver Engagement Training
This 4-hour training focuses on exploring strategies to keep parents/caregivers engaged in out-of-school time programs over time. Evidence points to stronger, more resilient communities when parents/caregivers are involved in programs. Parents/caregivers who are engaged by the program staff can support positive youth development work occurring in the programs, as well as, helping to reinforce it in the home. Participants will get an opportunity to discuss barriers/challenges to engaging parents/caregivers as well as strategies about how to best address those challenges.

Additionally, BEST offers shorter and customized trainings including: Introduction to Youth Development, Working with Middle School Youth, Engaging Youth in Prevention Programming, Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers, etc.

For more information on our shorter, customized trainings, please contact Daisy P. Ortega by phone at 617-279-2239 or by email.

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