Ignite Summer Toolkit: VISION

Dreaming (Big!) of Summer

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Summer is a time to lean in to passions and interests, have fun and shake up the usual routine to inspire a different kind of learning.  

What are your hopes, dreams, and big ideas for your summer program? And how does that intersect with young people’s needs and goals? 


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Start with this list of guided visioning questions to get your creativity flowing.

Be sure to get input from young people, families, community partners and other stakeholders — you might just be surprised by the big ideas that emerge when many minds come together! 

  • What are the goals and values of your summer program? Who are you hoping to serve? 
  • What are you hearing from young people, families and communities about what they would like to see? How are young people included in your visioning?
  • How can you shape your summer programming to be experiential, inspirational, and enticing? What hands-on experiences can you create? How will you make the programming relevant to young people’s lives? What about fun?
  • How will you design programming that happens outside your building? Learning happens everywhere — so while field trips are one way to go beyond your four walls, it could also mean learning in a nearby park or other outdoor settings. Where are all the “everywheres” that you can use? 
  • What personal passions, talents, and interests does your staff have, and how can those be incorporated into your program? What about young people? What about community partners?
  • What does success look like, and how will you measure it?

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A well-planned, high-quality program led by inspired team members helps youth thrive.

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Now that you have some exciting big-picture ideas guiding your vision, let’s go a little deeper. This Visioning Tool is pre-populated with core values that research shows are key to high-quality, effective programs. There’s room to add your own ideas too!

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Creating SMART Outcomes

Need more help setting goals? This tool from Beyond the Bell is helpful for developing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Specific.  

Stakeholder Input and Data

This Stakeholder Input and Data Tool from Summer Rising is handy for consolidating data and input from teachers, families, and young people all in one location.

Promoting Participation and Experience

This tip sheet from Wallace Foundation is a great introduction to Recruitment and Youth Needs. Thinking ahead about these topics now helps sharpen and shape your vision.