STEWARD TEAMS September 2011 â€“ May 2012
Program Outcome Report
Steward Teams is a core program of Solar Youth’s “Cycle of Stewardship,” a menu of programs that allows youth to learn about local ecology and participate in outdoor adventures, build on their experiences, maintain relationships, progressively gain more leadership skills, become positive change agents in their environments, and ultimately serve as role models for younger children. In Steward Teams, 9-13 year olds build on what they learned and accomplished in Citycology, Solar Youth’s program for 4-8 year olds. Stewards learn more complex environmental issues and concepts, participate in their first camping trips, and tackle a more sophisticated, 9-step Community Service Action Project (C-SAP). As Stewards get older, they are given leadership roles in Steward Teams, helping the adult and teen staff lead games, and guiding fellow Stewards through the C-SAP process. Like all Solar Youth programs, the main goal of the Steward Teams is to nurture youth into happy and healthy stewards of their lives and communities, prepared and motivated to succeed in life. Teenage Youth Educator Interns are hired before every season to co-lead each Steward Team with adult staff. These paid interns participate in a two-week intensive training that involves behavior management techniques and skills associated with coordinating youth development activities, and meet on Fridays throughout the season for ongoing training and professional development. The Steward Teams, like all programs, follow Solar Youth’s unique program model: Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! Following this model, youth investigate the local ecology of their community (Kids Explore!), identify environmental issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and seek solutions through a process of problem-solving and youth led action (Kids Do!), then teach what they have learned and accomplished to their families and friends through public education projects (Kids Teach!). In the Fall 2011 through the Spring 2012, Solar Youth ran seven Steward Teams: two at John Martinez Elementary School (one 4th grade team and one 5th/6th grade team), two at Barnard Environmental Magnet School (one 5th grade team and one 6th grade team), and one each in the Westville Manor, McConaughy Terrace, and Newhallville neighborhoods. Each Steward Team meets twice a week for 12 weeks and participates in full day explorations on Saturdays. The expected outcomes for our Steward Teams are: A demonstrated development of, at minimum, nine of the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets (the building blocks of positive youth development, the possession of which has shown to have a significant effect on youth's ability to resist negative influences and achieve success in adult life). The Developmental Assets we measure are within the categories of 'constructive use
of time,' 'empowerment,' 'commitment to learning,' 'positive values,' and 'social competencies.' A demonstrated increase in environmental knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship. The Steward Team curriculum aligns with Connecticut State Department of Education science standards and enriches what youth are learning in the classroom during the school year. In addition, outcomes for Youth Educators include: A demonstrated increase in understanding of principles and best practices of youth development; and A demonstrated development of employability skills, such as timeliness, public speaking, personal financial management, work ethic and a commitment to excellence. Finally, as a result of implementation of youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) and Public Education Projections (PEPs), The Steward Team contributes to an ecologically healthier and more environmentally conscious City of New Haven and its environs.
2011-2012 School Year Total Enrollment
Interns Hired and Trained
Hours of Program Offered (per Team)
Day-long adventure trips
Youth-led Community Projects (C-SAPs)
Youth-led Public Education Projects (PEPs)
PROGRAM DEMOGRAPHICS Female Male
African-American Latino/a Caucasian Asian Other/Unknown
56% 36% 1% 1% 6%
From left to right: John Martinez 4th grade Steward Team; Steward Team Intern Niamke leading teambuilding games; Barnard 5th grade Stewards
Environmental topics addressed in Steward Teams included: Bio-magnification Biotic and Abiotic Organisms Bird Migration Carbon Footprint Climate Change & Energy Conservation Deep Sea Creatures Ecosystems
Energy Sources Four Seasons Habitat Loss Hibernation Invasive Species Jungle Animals Long Island Sound Habitats Migration
Orienteering/Compass Skills Solar System Trees and Tree Identification The Trophic Pyramid Water Cycle Water Molecules Wind Power
Developmental topics addressed in Steward Teams included: Empathy Sportsmanship Problem Solving Friendship Skills
Non-Violent Communication Teambuilding Stewardship Responsibility/Empowerment
Public Speaking Literacy Kindness Interdependence
Kids Explore! As part of every Solar Youth program season, youth not only have a chance to explore their local ecology, but they also participate in several out-of-neighborhood explorations! Fall Explorations
West Rock Kick Off Hike New Haven CT
The youth started off the Fall Season with a bang with a great trip to West Rock State Park. The youth not only made it to the summit, where they enjoyed an impromptu pick-up game of football, but also got all the way to Judge’s Cave for a good ol’ game of “Who’s in My Cave?!” The Westville Manor Steward Team represented SY at the Citywide Youth Coalition Youth Arts Celebration with some drumming and Solar Youth songs about the environment. The audience cheered for the Stewards’ confidence, stage presence, and skill.
Youth Arts Celebration New Haven CT
West Rock Nature Center Camp Fire Trip New Haven CT East Rock Park Hike New Haven CT
Bluff Point Groton CT
Peabody Museum New Haven CT Solar Star Trip Mystic Aquarium Mystic CT Over The Rock Teambuilding Day West Rock Park New Haven CT Public Education Forum New Haven CT
End of Season Celebration New Haven CT
Starting out at 6pm, the youth watched darkness fall during their annual night hike. Stewards used all five senses to explore the environment at night, practiced fire-building techniques, and sang songs around the campfire while roasting marshmallows for s’mores. Yum! On another great day of hiking, the youth supported each other with cries of encouragement as they climbed up the Giant Steps. At the summit, Stewards made a banner with messages of thanks and encouragement to soldiers and veterans in honor of veteran’s day. They hung the banner with their messages of thanks and support for the troops, at the base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, known to New Haven locals as the Angel of Peace, for the whole city to see! The youth loved going to Bluff Point, the last remaining stretch of preserved land along the Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The challenging hike was rewarded by beautiful views of the water. Even an exhausting hike couldn’t stop these Stewards from singing songs all the way back home! Stewards took a rare trip indoors to explore Natural History at the Yale Peabody Museum. Youth loved looking at all the exhibits, and even got treated to a surprise concert by a local orchestra in the grand hall! Stewards with perfect attendance got the opportunity to visit the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut. Always a favorite trip, the youth got to see seals, sharks, meerkats, and much, much more! Two of our neighborhood Steward Teams, situated on either side of West Rock State Park, decided to hike up their respective sides and meet at the Summit for a day of friendship building activities and games. The day was a huge hit, and by the end of the day, youth could be spotted exchanging phone numbers and making plans to hang out! Citycology, Steward Teams, Service Adventure, and Green Jobs presented in front of an audience of 100 people, including youth, parents, educators, volunteers, and community members at the Yale African American Cultural Center. Stewards celebrated another great season with an indoor carnival, complete with face painting, games, prizes, and a dance contest! At the end, everyone received this season's Solar Youth t-shirt!
East Rock Kick off Hike New Haven CT
The youth kicked off the Spring Season by hiking East Rock Park. They played icebreaker games at College Woods and then helped each other hike the Giant Steps all the way to the summit! At the top, Stewards admired the view, had lunch, and played some classic Solar Youth games before starting the trek back home. The youth took pleasure in exploring this low-lying, scrub brush / wetland area. There were some impressively large rock formations on the trail, and the youth joyfully scampered on them for photo opportunities, and had a great deal of fun exploring the network of caves! Youth embarked on a journey to the Beardsley Zoo, where they spent the day completing scavenger hunts and observing exotic animals at this zoo well-known for its reputation for animal rehabilitation.
West Wood Hike Guilford CT
Beardsley Zoo Bridgeport CT
Youth Summit Day 1: Edgerton Park New Haven CT
On the first day (Kids Explore!) of Solar Youth’s three-day long Spring Break adventure, this year focused on local food, the youth visited this beautiful local park with one of New Haven’s oldest community gardens. The youth toured the garden and talked to the resident urban farmers, then did a series of activities to learn about nutrition and the environmental impact of food production. Youth Summit Day 2: On this Kids Do! day of the Youth Summit, the youth visited West Haven West Haven Beach & Beach to explore the importance of the fishing industry to the history of Peabody Museum Greater New Haven, and to do a litter clean-up. After a morning’s hard work New Haven CT collecting 10 bags of trash from the beach, the youth visited the Yale Peabody Museum where there was a very special Big Food exhibit, where the youth learned about healthy eating habits. Youth Summit Day 3: On the final Kids Teach! day of the Youth Summit, the youth prepared African American Cultural posters and speeches about all the things they had learned during the youth Center at Yale summit and presented them at the African American Cultural Center at Yale New Haven CT University. They were rewarded by an all-local ice cream party, courtesy of the famous Ashley’s Ice Cream in downtown New Haven! Rock to Rock Earth Day Stewards represented Solar Youth at this New Haven community bike ride New Haven CT from West Rock State Park to East Rock Park. They raised pledges for Solar Youth and rode eight miles, finishing up at East Rock Park, where there were games and booths. Edgewood Park Hike Youth explored this great urban park, hiking along the lower wetlands and New Haven CT participating in some great environmental activities, such as bird watching, making seed bombs (self-germinating balls of seeds, compost, and clay), and a nature scavenger hunt! Beach Biking Trip The Stewards headed to West Haven Beach for a very special biking trip, West Haven CT where after learning about bike safety, they took a ride along the Long Island Sound and learned about the estuary and its importance as a habitat for wildlife and humans. Solar Star Trip The youth with perfect attendance to Solar Youth programs got to go Roller Roller Magic Skating as a reward! The youth had a great time on the rink! New Haven CT Public Education Forum The youth visited City Hall in New Haven to present to their families and New Haven CT friends about all the things they had learned and done that season! End of Season Celebration To celebrate a successful spring season, Stewards, Interns, and Staff trekked Fort Nathan Hale to Fort Nathan Hale for a day of games and cookout goodness! New Haven CT
From left to right: Stewards at West Woods Park; after a beach clean-up; Rock to Rock bike ride
Kids Do! After exploring their outdoor surroundings and participating in adventures further afield, each Steward Team chooses an environmental or community issue to tackle, brainstorms solutions, develops plans to address the issue they chose and then implements and evaluates their project! We call this the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) Cycle. Engaging in the C-SAP Cycle allows Stewards to hone their problem-solving skills, cultivates in them an identity as agents of positive change, and makes their communities healthier and more beautiful! Fall C-SAPs
While exploring their neighborhood, the youth noticed that there was a lack of plants and flowers in their area. They decided to plant flower bulbs at the entrance into their neighborhood, because they knew that when where you live looks good, you feel good about where you live! The youth in Westville Manor wanted to address homelessness as a problem in New Haven. After inviting a guest from the Columbus House homeless shelter to come an teach them about the issue, they learned that dehydration is actually a more prevalent issue among the homeless than hunger. So they organized a water bottle drive and delivered the water bottles to the Columbus House personally! The Barnard fifth grade Stewards chose to address drunk driving as an issue in their neighborhood, so they made posters and signs warning people about the dangers of driving under the influence. They held them up for motorists on the busy street outside their school for two hours! The sixth grade Steward Team at Barnard Environmental Magnet School chose litter as an issue they would like to tackle, and scoured the hallways and grounds of their school for litter to collect, as well as made posters asking people not to trash their community. The fifth and sixth grade Steward Team at John Martinez elementary were fed up with cigarette smoking and cigarette butts on the ground everywhere they went. They decided to make a movie about the dangers of smoking to prevent others from polluting the air, the ground, and their own lungs! In response to a rash of break ins in the Fair Haven district of New Haven, the John Martinez fourth grade Steward Team decided to raise money for their local Block Watch. They sold cupcakes, brownies, and cookies to their classmates and raised over 70 dollars that went to making their neighborhood safer!
John Martinez 5/6
John Martinez 4
Noticing their waterways were clogged with trash, making it difficult for fish to migrate upstream for mating season, these Stewards cleaned up the riverbeds behind their housing development.
John Martinez 4
John Martinez 5/6
To adress the problem of graffitti in their neighborhood, Stewards constructed a graffiti wall out of a wood frame and concrete, and painted the exterior with environmentally-safe paint. The wall provided the community the opportunity to make legal, positive graffiti. Students noticed trash in the river up and down its length, both in Edgewood Park and down by Barnard Environmental Magnet School. To address this issue, they did a massive trash clean up of West River Memorial Park, focusing on the river banks. Acknowledging the nature trails near their school as an asset to their lives and education, the Stewards on the sixth grade Barnard Team decided to do some trail maitenance, raking and cleaning up the trails so others could enjoy Edgewood Park as much as they did! A spin on the traditional trash pick-up, the youth on the fourth grade John Martinez Team held a litter clean-up competition at Criscola Park. The 10 people who picked up the most trash received youth-made tshirts, created by the Stewards in program! Focusing this season on the issue of drunk driving, this team made another movie to educate people on the negative effects of driving while under the influence. For their very first CSAP, the Newhallville Steward Team decided to beautify their neighborhood by planting annual and perennial flowers outside their program space and outside the barber’s shop down the street. The youth got lots of praise and thanks from their neighbors, who appreciated the youths’ efforts to better their community!
From left to right: John Martinez 4th graders planning their CSAP; McConaughy Steward Team cleaning up their neighborhood; Newhallville Steward planting flowers
Kids Teach! Stewards conclude the season by developing Public Education Projects (PEPs) that educate their peers, parents and general public about environmental and community issues that they care about. By designing and executing a PEP, or Public Education Project, Stewards have the opportunity to be recognized as public “experts” on important issues and “re-learn” important lessons from the earlier part of the season.
Youth decided to make magnets to teach the community about their CSAP and to encourage people to plant flowers to beautify the neighborhood. Youth created a 3-minute movie about their C-SAP, which was shown at the PEF, teaching their community that homeless people are dehydrated, and that these kids are doing something about it. Youth created posters to teach others facts about the dangers of drunk driving and displayed them at the Solar Youth Public Education Forum. The Barnard 6th grade Steward Team designed a presentation about their school’s efforts to keep the community clean, and proudly displayed posters at the Solar Youth Public Education Forum. These 4th graders decided to inform the public about Block Watch, believing that if more people knew about it, the more likely they would be to use it, maybe even join it. They made posters celebrating Block Watch and hung them up around their school. Youth screened their C-SAP movie at the Public Education Forum, educating the public on the dangers of smoking to our health and environment.
Barnard 5 Barnard 6
John Martinez 4
John Martinez 5/6
John Martinez 4 John Martinez 5/6
PEP Descriptions The youth created four posters about West River Memorial Park with tips on how to enjoy it while keeping it clean, which they displayed at the Solar Youth Public Education Forum. This team made fliers about their graffiti wall and canvassed their neighborhood. After practicing how to approach their neighbors in a polite and professional way, they spoke to them about why they made a graffiti wall and invited them to come use it. The youth made posters about their litter clean-up and presented them at the Public Education Forum. Youth created signs to encourage others not to litter and to keep the environment clean, and got permission from the New Haven Department of Parks and Recreation to hang them alongside the trails in Edgewood Park. The Stewards made home-made pins with power-statements such as “We will not litter!” They distributed them to over 50 students at John Martinez School! The youth decided to make bookmarks with facts on them about the dangers of drunk driving. They then handed out these bookmarks to students, family and friends. These Stewards created posters to teach others about their flower planting project and their belief that making the community look more beautiful will make you feel better about yourself! Posters displayed for nearly 40 people at the Solar Youth Public Education Forum and for the congregation at their community church.
Solar Youth’s Evaluation Process Solar Youth measures its programs with a combination of evaluation tools, including Pre/Post surveys, Portfolios (evidence and examples of Stewards community service and public education work), Steward Feedback Forms, Family Feedback Forms, and Community Feedback Forms. The feedback forms are based on best-practice evaluation tools developed by the Search Institute. Our pre/post survey, which measures ecological literacy and leadership knowledge, aligns with Connecticut State standards for science learning.
Feedback from Stewards and Parents CATEGORY Youth Development Outcomes “ Because of Solar Youth…” Empowerment ...the community values Solar Youth Stewards ...Steward is given useful roles in the community Commitment to Learning ... Steward is actively engaged in learning ... Steward wants to do well in school Positive Values ... Steward places a high value on helping others ... Steward is more accountable for his/her actions Social Competencies ... Steward’s planning and decision making skills have improved ... Steward has learned to be a better friend ... Steward is more sensitive to the feelings of others
Environmental Outcomes ...Steward’s knowledge about the environment improved ...Steward is more responsible about the effect he/she has on the environment
% OF STEWARDS WHO AGREED
% OF PARENTS WHO AGREED
Quality Assurance I would recommend Solar Youth to my friends/other parents I would like to (see my child) attend Solar Youth next season
Intern Feedback *Data is for all Youth Educator Interns during 2011-2012 school-year programs. CATEGORY Youth Educator Skills Outcomes “Participation in Solar Youth…” Prepared me to use a lesson plan to deliver lessons through experiential (handson) education. Prepared me to practice positive behavior management. Helped me to develop skills as a group facilitator. Prepared me to implement activities that involve multiple intelligences. Helped me to attain greater knowledge of principles of environmental education. Employability Skills Outcomes “After being an intern in Solar Youth…” I feel that my timeliness has improved. My preparation skills have improved. My public speaking skills have improved. My personal financial management skills have improved. My work ethic has improved. My commitment to excellence has improved. Long Term Outcomes “My overall experience with Solar Youth, both this season and in the past, has… Prepared me for future employment. Encouraged me to continue my education. Encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle. Motivated me to seek out opportunities to help my community. Helped me to develop a more positive sense of self. Taught me to consider the impact of my actions on the health of the environment.
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
96% 100% 96% 82% 93%
85% 57% 86% 89% 96% 94%
100% 82% 82% 100% 91% 91%
Students at John Martinez make a solar oven out of a pizza box with their educator Kate Biller
Pre/Post Survey Results As part of The Steward Team, Solar Youth measures knowledge gains of Stewards in sciences and leadership skills. We do this in part by administering a survey at the beginning of each season, and then the same survey at the end, that asks questions associated with environmental topics, which align with what Stewards are learning in science class at school, and leadership topics covered during that season. During 2011-2012, pre/post surveys revealed that 46% of survey participants registered a 50% or greater increase in environmental knowledge, while 85% registered a 20% or greater increase. Surveys also revealed that 54% of youth registered a 50% or greater increase in leadership knowledge, including 77% with a 20% or greater increase.
Quotes and Testimonials From Youth: “[Because of Solar Youth], I know I can clean the world.” - Tabiaz Moore “I learned that it is important to keep the environment clean because if we don’t, it can harm us and the animals.” - Zhane Simmons “[Because of Solar Youth], I have a lot of friends.” - Cherish Burruss “[Because of Solar Youth ,I am a better person and know more about my community.” - Talizha Jones “[Because of Solar Youth], I’ve made new friends and gone new places.” - Jordan Wilson “The hike up East Rock was the best day of my life! Solar Youth is the best after-school ever!” - Jaylin Davis “[Because of Solar Youth], I love the Earth more.” - Rebecca Diaz “[My favorite part of Solar Youth] was the first day I met my friends.” - Michael Manning
From Interns: “[Because of Solar Youth], I'm a great, smart, outgoing young lady that can do anything I put my mind to.” - Jamesha Rumley “[Because of Solar Youth], I get respect in my neighborhood.” - Royshon Ferguson “[My favorite part of the program] is the staff. They understand me and they are always there when I need them. They make this season so much better. The staff motivated me and made me feel as part of the program.” - Nelson Adorno “[My favorite part of the program] was getting to know the new interns and educators and developing better friendships with the ones I already knew.” - Kayla Sanders “Solar Youth has helped me become a better person in school, home and in the community.” - Isa Hyatt "[Because of Solar Youth], I have been able to influence people around me, like friends and family. I teach my sisters what I learn at work and try and get them to do the same things." - Andy Juarez From Families: “[Since starting at Solar Youth], she has started to grow plants and vegetables in our garden.” “[Since starting at Solar Youth], she has a better attitude, and she is doing better in school.”
“My child has shown me that she cares about her impact on the environment by taking care of what we have, like our parks and beaches, so we can enjoy them for a long time to come.” -Steward Family Member
“The program is great for opening up a new world for students.” “He’s more careful in the way he does things . . . he’s more respectful.” “Rebecca enjoys being in Solar Youth and it makes me feel good knowing she’s a part of something that she will carry with her in life. Thank you.” “He gets very interested in everything he learns at Solar Youth. He always comes back home talking about what he learned.” “My child has shown me that she cares about her impact on the environment by taking care of what we have, like our parks and beaches, so we can enjoy them for a long time to come.”
â€œ[Since joining Solar Youth], my child is more outgoing. She understands how important it is to take care of our planet and not to litter.â€?
Left to right: Westville Manor Steward Team at the Columbus House; Barnard 6th Grade Steward Team looking at the trash in West River; McConaughy Terrace Stewards celebrating a trash-clean up
Published on Nov 19, 2012