Recognizing the natural leadership skills of children in our After-School Program as 4/5th graders continually reached out to our Program Director and Rec Leaders to help in regular daily activities, Mariposa Kids formally launched our Junior Rec Leader Program in January 2022 to encourage and develop these skills in young leaders.
Selected Junior Rec Leaders have stood out through their participation in our After-School Program by offering to support the facilitation of activities, help clean the facilities at the end of the day or after activities, and have provided helpful insights about relationships between children at elementary schools that support the efforts of Rec Leaders to navigate the social-emotional interactions among children.
The Junior Rec Leader Program is meant to not only help focus children’s natural leadership skills whilst in our daily After-School Program and camps, but to help provide staff with additional support in their role of overseeing programming and to provide peer-to-peer role models for younger children who attend the After-School Program.
Junior Rec Leaders Role & Responsibilities: •Provide support to kids who need more help with activities or navigating social situations •Act as a mentor to younger kids •Report behavior incidents to staff when witnessed •Provide hands-on support during activities •Encourage other children to partake in healthy social behaviors of sharing and being inclusive/inviting to others •Help orient newly enrolled kids to the program in a peer-to-peer fashion •Participate in Restorative Justice practices as the need arises
Selection Process for Junior Rec Leaders: The selection process will be an open call to any After-School Program enrolled 4th or 5th graders with priority given to children who have previously participated in MK programming in years past. The Program Director will have a conversation with each applicant and ask why they want to participate and will then receive feedback from Rec Leaders. To support equity, written applications will not be required. The Program Director must receive written permission from a child’s authorized guardian to participate.
Staff must implement fair, inclusive, and equitable practices in selecting Junior Rec Leaders who meet these minimum qualifications:
•4th or 5th grader enrolled in MK’s After-School Program for 4-5 days a week •No behavior reports that could not be handled through Restorative Justice practices •Communicate a commitment to the well-being of children and the community •A desire to help and lead other children •Ability to listen and follow directions
The Program Director will select two or three Junior Rec Leaders at the beginning of each academic year and they will serve for the full academic year unless they decide to withdrawal or if the Program Director determines the individual is unable to fulfill their duties. Upon withdrawal or removal, the Program Director will replace the opening with a new candidate.
Junior Rec Leader Benefits: The Junior Rec Leader Program should be a fun offering to enrolled children at Mariposa Kids. Children should enjoy their role as Junior Rec Leaders and in no way should participation take away from their overall experience enrolled in programming at MK. To encourage participation and commitment to being a Junior Rec Leader, participants will experience the following benefits:
•Special quarterly activity with the Program Director and/or Rec Leader like going to a movie, a museum, or local event •Attend any Holiday Camps during their Junior Rec Leader Program participation for free •Priority enrollment in Holiday and Summer Camp sessions •Letters of recommendation and certificates of participation that can help with future participation in similar programs in the community or high school applications