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Download a copy of the 2019 workshop grid here.


*Please note that you must pre-register for this workshop and commit to attendance for the morning and afternoon sessions. Size will be limited and a few “drop ins” will be permitted.

1. Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Youth Environments
Mara Iverson, Outright VT
This interactive workshop will help program staff to increase fluency with LGBTQ+ inclusive vocabulary and practices and also to consider approaches for making program environments and systems LGBTQ+ affirming. Participants will identify specific opportunities for and challenges to inclusivity in their particular program context. Participants will leave with broader knowledge of LGBTQ+ youth topics, methods for recognizing gaps in inclusivity, and ideas for how to apply affirming practices to fill those gaps. Grades K-12. Learning Objectives:
– Broaden knowledge of LGBTQ+ youth topics
– Recognize gaps in LGBTQ+ inclusivity
– Apply affirming practices to fill those gaps

2. Project WILD: Connecting Children & Youth with Nature
Alison Thomas, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
Project WILD’s mission is to help students learn how to think, not what to think, about wildlife and the environment. All curriculum materials are backed by sound educational practices and theory and represent the work of many within the fields of education and natural resource management from across the country. This workshop will help educators engage students in the learning process through effective and fun environmental education lessons. Grades K-12. Workshop Objectives:
– Provide structured nature-based activities for their students so the students feel comfortable outdoors;
– Understand how to meet educational and developmental goals and standards for their students by using the activities included in the Curriculum Guide;
– Determine if the learning objectives for each activity in the Curriculum Guide were met for the students by using the specified assessment methods; and,
– Be motivated to go outside with students!


Green = Spark Session (1 hour) Blue = Deep Dive Session (2 hours)
Destination Imagination: Thinking Outside The Box
Pasquale DiLego, Vermont Destination Imagination
This is a hands-on workshop that introduces participants to Destination Imagination. Participants will learn divergent thinking and have a unique opportunity to participate in challenging and motivating activities. They will develop their creative skills through problem solving and independent thinking. Participants should come prepared to be actively involved with working on solutions to some Instant Challenges and be ready to have a lot of fun with a variety of activities. Age of youth served: grades K-12.
Inclusive Arts: Open Studio
Alexandra Turner, Inclusive Arts Vermont
In this workshop, afterschool professionals are invited to experience the joy in making art together. Time will be shared between direct art-making experiences and reflection on topics including accessible, non-toxic art materials, setting up spaces to facilitate art making while minimizing mess, including everyone in the art making process, and keeping art making spaces safe and inclusive. No experience is necessary, and seasoned artists will also come away with some new tricks and tips. Age of youth served: grades K-12.
Learn Together: A Round Table Discussion on Staff Engagement and Supervision
Tricia Pawlik-York, Vermont Afterschool
During this session, participants will utilize a community of practice to guide how they can support staff engagement in their programs, as well as how to effectively supervise and motivate their staff. This session is structured as a round table discussion for site coordinators and directors, so come prepared to share questions and brainstorm ideas and solutions. Age of youth served: grades K-12.
Nature Games & Activities
Emily Boek, Stowe Parks and Recreation
Children love to play outside and explore nature. These hands-on activities will guide participants on a journey of exploration, education and imagination through our natural environment. Participants will learn 2-3 new outdoor activities that can be used in an afterschool program and also understand how to connect youth to nature. Be prepared to get dirty and have fun in this interactive session. Age of youth served: grades K-8.
Creating a Culture of Youth Voice
Sam Graulty, Vermont Afterschool
Youth voice is increasingly becoming a buzzword, but what does it really mean? This workshop will help you build your understanding of what youth voice is and can be, and show you how you can infuse it into every aspect of your program and every level of your organization. Participants will leave this with a better understanding of what programming that encourages youth voice looks like and how they can best incorporate it into their programming every day. Age of youth served: grades 5-12.
Every Monday Matters: Curriculum for Lasting Change
Keynote Matthew Emerzian
Do the youth in your program really believe that they matter—to themselves, to the people in their lives, and to the world? Join us to explore the Every Monday Matters K-12 Curriculum, a flexible and hands-on SEL program created to help students understand how much and why they matter. Discover how to use this no-cost program with students of all ages in your after-school programs, classes, clubs, and more. Age of youth served: grades K-12.

Let’s Get Creative: Improvisational Theater Games and Social Emotional Learning
Julia Gabor, kid-grit
Get ready to get going, grow, glow, gasp, growl, giggle & grin! It’s no secret that improv has been utilized for decades as a method of encouraging creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication. We will show you how it can be used as a disguised tool for SEL! Learn how to lead simple improvisational theatre games & implement them with your staff and/or your students. We address public speaking, creative writing, language arts, character education, teambuilding, and leadership. Age of youth served: grades K-12.


Green = Spark Session (1 hour) Blue = Deep Dive Session (2 hours)
Create an Environment for Tinkering and Engineering
Darcie Rankin, STEM Trainer
Explore how the “maker movement” is expanding both school and afterschool enrichment. This workshop will emphasize important start-up considerations of access, high and low tech projects, linking to the school day, and creating a safe space and culture for tinkering. Participants will leave with lots of ideas to apply to their own learning environments. Age of youth served: grades K-8.
Taking Maker Activities to the Next Level
Darcie Rankin, STEM Trainer
This workshop will assume that participants already have experience making, tinkering, and engineering with their students and are looking to go to the next level. Do you want to create a weekly afterschool maker club? Are you thinking about designing a STEM summer camp? Participants will try hands-on activities as a catalyst for discussions on how to design and implement a maker culture with more advanced materials. Age of youth served: grades K-8.
Yoga and Mindfulness for Youth
Kate Root, Sangha Studio
Staff will learn how to incorporate yoga and mindfulness techniques into their work with youth to promote self-regulation of emotions. Participants will leave an understanding of breathing techniques, yoga poses, group activities, mindfulness, and relaxation exercises to implement in their after school program. Age of youth served: grades K-5.
Oceans Explorations
Kathy Kneebone, MVSD Afterschool & Summer Program
Dive in to some great ocean explorations sure to inspire you to bring this world to the youth in your programs. From tidal pool adaptations to the deepest parts of the ocean, learn about this curriculum developed from free resources offered by the New England Aquarium. Age of youth served: grades K-5.
Up In Smoke – Awareness of Vaping
Jason Ziter, Winooski Police/Winooski School District
This workshop is designed to teach about current trends and dangers with “vaping.” We will learn to recognize signs of use with vaping devices, as well as better understand ways that students might be hiding their addiction.
Age of youth served: grades 7-12.
Inspiring Our Adolescents to Lead: Through Understanding the Science Behind Them
Matt Wolf, VFFCMH YIT Program
Have you ever worked with a youth who is stuck in a pattern and seems to be struggling with their motivation to move forward in life? Have you ever doubted your own skills to help them motivate and develop leadership skills to achieve more for themselves? This workshop will change the way you think of adolescents and approach your work with them. A combination of trauma informed care, knowledge of adolescent brain development, motivational tools, leadership skills and empowerment practices, that when used together can fuel the inspiration within our youth and young adults. You will leave with a new powerful set of tools and resources to shift stagnant thought patterns into positive motion and leadership growth. Age of youth served: grades 7-12.
Just Play 2.0
Lee Barrett, Colchester Parks and Recreation
Come ready to PLAY in the “Just Play 2.0” workshop. If you joined us last year, COME AGAIN (new games and activities will keep you engaged). If you’re new to the conference and/or didn’t play last year, WE WELCOME YOU (so much fun can be had in a short time). Plan on magic words, hilarious movements, silly cheers, laughter and an all-around playful time. Peter Pan refused to grow up, why should we!? Come out and express your inner kid and get lost in games, activities and discussion. Age of youth served: grades K-8.
Raise Them Up! Resilience through Mind, Body, Community & Digital Balance
Julia Gabor, kid-grit
Do your social-emotional and character education programs need a REFRESH? Join us and receive free hands-on activities in areas of mindfulness, health & nutrition, community engagement, digital/social media consciousness, and service learning. This session will include tips, tools, and trade activities that will help students learn how to build skills in self-regulation, self- awareness, empathy and build connection and community inside the classroom. We will take a deeper dive into today’s digital dilemma and provide new approaches so that students can make healthier decisions about how to use devices and social media. Learn how to help guide students to help them understand their potential to become thoughtful and kinder contributors to a larger society. Age of youth served: grades K-12.
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