Every year, Madison Out of School Time (MOST) hosts an annual conference. Youth workers from a variety of different out of school time organizations come together for professional development. Youth workers have a yearly requirement for PD, and the conference allows them to pool together to do it all at once, rather than individual organizations needing to put together the sessions separately. It is also a great time for us to connect and celebrate each other - for instance, there is an award for Youth Worker of the Year presented each summer.
For the past several years, Madison Public Library has been invited to provided trainings for hands-on interactive workshops that youth workers can implement into their planning. We try to give concrete ideas for things that they can use with their kids, but we also want to impart bigger ideas about the importance of hands-on making, creating, and free play.
This is a great time for us to also introduce ourselves as resources to out of school time providers who regularly ask the library to support their centers and programs with book deliveries, workshops with librarians or community artists, and field trips.
This year, Rebecca Millerjohn with the Bubbler presented three workshops with the help of Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez and Bubbler Artist Cohort member Anwar Floyd-Pruitt. We did poetry exercises, made cardboard instruments, and led them through planning their own stories with comic storyboards. Carissa Christner presented three sessions about the many benefits of True Play and how play can be a natural opportunity for social emotional learning (and so much more!) in out of school settings.
The conference took place at the brand new youth art center! We enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the Youth Worker of the Year on the 4th floor patio with the Mayor and School Superintendent.