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Friday, April 28, 2006

Hold the Mustard, Please

Last summer, my then eight-year-old daughter came with me to Maryland on a week-long journey along the Chesapeake Bay. Though she’s not a fan of crustaceans, she accompanied me to sample blue crab at a restaurant in St. Michaels.

Expecting a mountain of claws with drawn butter, we were shocked when our waitress arrived with whole crabs -- legs, shells, guts, eyes and all. Deena wielded her mallet as she wasn’t convinced her crab was even dead. In fact, it resembled Sebastian on The Little Mermaid.

Lucky for us, our waitress expertly demonstrated proper crab picking, thankfully removing the entrails (locals call it the “mustard”), piling the smelly mess on the disposable tablecloth and revealing the tasty crabmeat inside.

Eyes pinched shut, Deena tried a morsel, then gently asked me, “Do you think we could go out for chicken tonight?”

Here's the article as it appeared in Budget Travel:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Take Your Kid to Work Day

Recently I attended a conference that happened to take place on "Take Your Kid to Work Day". My 7-year-old daughter, Deena, brought home a note from school indicating the date and inviting parents to take their kids to work that day. I was pleased that I was scheduled to attend a conference and that it was relatively close to home, so it might work out for me to take her along and only have her miss the one day of school.

The issue, however, was that in addition to exhibiting, this time I was hired to speak at the conference, so I would be facilitating a two-hour training. I didn't worry about Deena's ability to help out as an exhibitor, but what about a speaking engagement?

I talked to Deena about my concerns and the expectations I would have for any assistant during a conference session, and she felt confident she could meet my expectations. Additionally, it was to be a rather small conference with most-likely very affirming, patient and youth-centered participants, and the session was only two hours, not a half or full-day. So I figured, if there was ever a conference to attempt a "Take Your Kid to Work Day", this was the one.

Ultimately, it was an excellent experience for everyone involved. Deena was a valuable assistant in setting up the exhibit, as she was able to roll exhibit suitcases on her own and hold open doors for me as I carried in the heavy items. I never realized how much I needed an assistant until I had one! And in the preparation for our sectional, we had only a short time between sessions, so I really appreciated her help then as well. She was the ultimate professional for the two-hour period, allowing me to do my job, while helping participants with needed training supplies. And of course, the conference participants were exactly the positive, generous people I assumed they would be.

I learned several empowerment lessons from this experience:

  • Adults need to take advantage of opportunities that help empowered young people experience success;
  • Some situations pose less "risk" than others, so are prime opportunities to stretch youth and adult perception of a young person's capability; and
  • Inviting youth to participate in an experience different from their usual day broadens their perspective of the world and their future.

Of course, there are usually unexpected bonuses. During the conference, Deena participated in an art project facilitated by a talented Native American woman, gaining a new skill as well as a better understanding of a culture different from her own. And when I asked her what was the best part of "Take Your Kid to Work Day"? The swimming pool? The conference food? The exhibit candy? The fun art project?

Believe it or not, she said it was the two hour ride in the truck to and from the conference. Why? Because we got to talk to each other the whole time.

This summer, I encourage you to find a way to empower a young person. Engage them in something you are doing. Take a risk. And reap the benefits...

Embracing Opportunities for Successful Empowerment, Copyright 2004 Kelly Curtis.

To visit our website, please follow this link: Empowering Youth newsletter reprint articles are free. Please include the copyright line and website address and send a copy of reprinted articles to Empowering Youth. To sign up for periodic Empowering Youth newsletters, please click here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tutor Talk! Peer Tutoring Discussion Board

Empowering Youth announces its Tutor Talk campaign to encourage peer tutors and tutoring advisors to connect on its online peer tutoring discussion board.

In an effort to help schools and communities establish effective tutoring programs, the Wisconsin-based educational publisher organized an online peer tutoring discussion board. Youth and adults from all parts of the world can connect to generate ideas to improve programming or enrich their tutoring skills. Advisor forums provide teachers and counselors an opportunity to exchange program ideas as well.

“Peer tutoring is one of the most valuable services youth can provide in a community,” said Empowering Youth founder Kelly Curtis. “We are hoping that our ‘Tutor Talk’ campaign will get youth and adults connecting with others to improve tutoring programs in their communities.”

Peer tutors, advisors, and others interested in tutoring programs are encouraged to join. Tutoring has become a vital tool for districts to meet standards and No Child Left Behind legislative criteria. The discussion board is one way to help prepare youth and advisors to meet the needs of students.

Peer-tutoring programs are gaining steam throughout the United States — especially as academic requirements increase and funding dwindles. And worldwide appreciation for tutors is growing as well. SPARK Peer Tutoring programs are currently implemented on three different continents. Many youth find their niche as tutors. Research indicates tutors provide a valuable service within their schools and communities, while benefiting personally as well.

As the end of the school year approaches, many districts are planning summer training sessions for tutors. This is a key time in the year to connect with other tutoring professionals and volunteers.

To visit the Empowering Youth Peer Tutoring discussion board, please visit and click on “Enter Board.” The board is easy to use and memberships are available at no cost. Users can also sign up for a periodic e-newsletter for articles related to youth empowerment.

Empowering Youth, Inc. has published research-based educational products since 2001. Current titles include: the SPARK Peer Tutoring Handbook and Training Manual, the Hidden Treasure of Assets and Career Expedition. For more information, please visit .

This message can be reprinted or posted in other relevant listservs, websites and publications. Please include all links.



Parenting-related article archives:

Recipe for the Ideal Parent
Fruits of Empowerment
Independence Day Tent-Owners
Take Your Kid to Work Day
Exercise in Perspective
10 Ways to Empower Your Kids this Summer
Lawn Boy
Meet Harry
Blue Streak, Mom and Me
Nanny McPhee, Priestess of Empowerment