Online Professional Development Training for Camp and After-school Staff

a teacher and two students are in conversation at a table Online Training for Camp and Afters-chool Staff

Online Training for Camp and After-school Staff

Creating a Place of Belonging for All Youth

This full professional development series includes 6 live interactive sessions and over 90 updated social-emotional learning (SEL) activities designed to build inclusive communities where youth can cultivate the courage to take risks and grow.

New Dates & Times Coming Soon

Cost: $400 Scholarships are available upon request here.

In this six-week training, participants will learn to create a community of belonging, growth, and collaboration. This online professional development series was designed to help program staff, from after-school to summer camps, across the country:  

  • Create an inclusive community of belonging for all youth, especially the most marginalized
  • Develop strategies for centering gender and racial equity within programming
  • Practice and model SEL skills, such as approaching conflict as an opportunity for positive change
  • Embody a culturally responsive mindset where students from all backgrounds feel seen and valued
  • Prioritize wellness for youth at camps, after-school programs and other community-based organizations
  • Feel confident leading over 90 activities that build community, self awareness, self-respect, empathy, interpersonal communication, activism and action in the community, and more.



There are 6 weekly sessions:
Dates: Coming Soon
Each session is two hours:

Pacific 10 AM – 12 PM
Mountain 11 AM – 1 PM
Central 12 PM – 2 PM
Eastern 1 PM – 3 PM


Session 1: Brave Space Groundwork

Participants will learn to build brave spaces where youth feel seen, valued, and supported as they explore challenging social-emotional topics. Distinct from “safe spaces”, brave spaces encourage confronting challenges and taking healthy risks, while providing space and tools to address the feelings of defeat, confusion, and frustration that accompany identity development. Participants will:

  • Experience practices, lessons, and activities that cultivate a brave space
  • Identify how brave spaces foster community and accountability while reducing marginalization
  • Cultivate the understanding and tools to create a brave space with the young people they serve


Session 2: Bringing Gender and Racial Equity to Social-Emotional Learning

Engaging in social-emotional learning (SEL) enables youth to better understand themselves and others while navigating relationships and experiences in the world. This training focuses on equipping program staff with SEL awareness and practices that form the foundation of leadership development. Participants will:

  • Examine their own social-emotional capacities and areas of growth
  • Assess how identities impact how we view ourselves, interact with others, and shape our values
  • Gain awareness, skills and tools for modeling and effectively practicing emotional intelligence with youth


Session 3: Culturally Responsive Mindsets

Cultural responsiveness is the ability to incorporate inclusive practices that honor the voices and experiences of all youth. Culturally responsive practices build trust, a sense of belonging, and authentic connection and communication. In this workshop participants will learn, understand, and be able to:

  • Explore the different cultural assumptions they bring into a program or camp, and the impact of these assumptions on the youth they serve
  • Identify and value the diversity of cultural experiences and perspectives that the youth bring into the environment
  • Implement culturally responsive practices to deepen connection with youth and create spaces that promote true belonging, growth, and learning


Session 4: Bias Intervention

Camp counselors, and program staff of community-based organizations play critical roles in the development of a strong self identity as well as leadership skills in youth. As shown in Girls Leadership’s Ready to Lead report, which details the findings of our study on barriers to leadership for Black and Latinx girls, program staff can create tremendous impacts in youth by recognizing their own biases and improving the cultural responsiveness of their practice. In this workshop, participants will: 

  • Take a deep dive into our research on the role of program staff in leadership development in youth through the lens of gender and racial equity
  • Learn to define and identify different forms of bias (implicit, explicit, and appropriated)
  • Gain tools to examine, address, and interrupt bias in ourselves in order to more deeply connect with all youth


Session 5: Addressing Compassion Fatigue

If you have felt burned out and overwhelmed you are likely experiencing compassion fatigue. During the pandemic, youth-serving professionals have been working double-duty, professionally supporting young people’s heightened emotional needs, while our own personal emotional burden escalated at the same time. With the US Surgeon General declaring a youth mental health crisis, this challenge isn’t decreasing, so we need to come together to practice the skills to address it. In this workshop we acknowledge shifting from our individual experience to build a collective perspective, and envision the practices needed to heal, including joy, dreaming, and building community. Participants will:

  • Explore the root causes, identify triggers, and develop an understanding of compassion fatigue
  • Share our individual experiences to build a collective understanding of what we are holding as youth service providers right now
  • Learn strategies to mitigate the effects of compassion fatigue and reconnect to our own joys, dreams, and communities, to give ourselves the best chance of to serving youth with empathy and passion


Session 6: From Trauma-Informed Practice to Healing-Centered Engagement

Healing-centered engagement offers the opportunity to reflect, hope, and imagine with youth, while understanding the roots and impact of trauma helps us understand our own triggers and respond to our students’ needs. In this interactive virtual workshop, participants will: 

  • Identify signs of trauma in ourselves and in youth
  • Gain tools to effectively engage with youth exhibiting signs of trauma while maintaining healthy boundaries
  • Learn steps to co-create a healing-centered environment with youth


What Participants Say

“This training was well worth my time and opened my eyes to more ways that I can curate and cultivate a more inclusive experience for the families I serve at my music school. Thank you Girls Leadership for sharing your wisdom and experience with a broader audience.”

“I loved that I got to experience the lessons that are in the curriculum – not just be taught. I walked away each day feeling healed and empowered.”

“Best 5 weeks !!! So happy I signed up and was able to bring our program director who also found it so valuable.”



Our gender and culturally responsive program includes more than 90 activities and focuses on five domains aligned to developmentally appropriate outcomes at three levels, Introductory, Developing, and Advanced.

It was developed in partnership with middle school girls in grades 6-8 from across the country, including Girls Athletics Leadership School in Denver and Los Angeles, The Young Women’s Leadership Schools in the Bronx and Astoria, and United Playaz and West Bay Pilipino Services Center in San Francisco to support the development, testing, and iteration of our lessons.


Girls Leadership Facilitators

Girls Leadership Program Managers, Regional Program Directors, Senior Director of Research & Sports Power Lab, and Chief Program Officer.




The full professional development series includes 6 live facilitated sessions and our updated SEL curriculum (90+ lessons that center gender and racial equity)
Scholarships are available upon request here.

Group Discount
10% off for groups of 3 or more from the same school or organization. Use discount code PDGROUP2022 at checkout.

Need resources right now?

Try our 26 SEL check-ins to jump-start conversations and connections with the youth you serve. This resource is intended as a foundation to ground students in a brave space, with versions for in-person or distance learning.


Contact Us

We can customize a professional development training to meet your staff’s needs, whether you’re looking to run a single workshop, a half-day, full-day, or multi-day training. Email to learn more.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive credits for this professional development? 
If your supervising organization approves this professional development to meet CEUs, we can approve documentation that certifies your hours of participation.

Who is the professional development for? 
The sessions are designed for educators, administrators, district leaders, youth-serving professionals, counselors, and formal volunteers who work regularly with girls in grades 5-12.   

Can I train others to teach the curriculum? 
Completion of this professional development does not authorize individuals to sell the program or train others to teach it.