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Intentional Social-Emotional Development in Summer Programs: Boys & Girls Clubs of King County

POSTED ON March 7, 2018

Designing and implementing a social-emotional learning curriculum within summer programs across the King County region is no easy task, and yet it is one Stacy Kain of Boys & Girls Clubs of King County relishes. “SEL, trauma informed care—this is the stuff I’m really passionate about,” she says. In 2017, she and her team incorporated an activity focused on building social-emotional skills into the curriculum once a week. While staff observed that the youth had a positive response to the activities, they recommended infusing the skill-building on a daily basis to provide consistency and daily practice.

Image courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of King County

For 2018, a curriculum team composed of program staff and site directors is planning a curriculum that includes a weekly theme aligned to the core competencies for social emotional learning developed by CASEL, brief pre- and post-assessments, a script to introduce concepts and “hook” kids into the topic, vocabulary words, writing prompts, and 20-minute activity options for each day. The summer will start with self-awareness, with links to components of the RULER social emotional learning curriculum, and will end with responsible decision-making—“Going from self-actualization,” Stacy says, and “—ending up with how you are going to impact the world.” As part of the team’s learning process, they’ve also recognized that sometimes staff feel like, “I don’t even know how to do this—so how can I teach this?”, Stacy says, so they are being more intentional this year about how to prepare and train staff to deliver the curriculum.

If you are interested in learning more about Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s approach or sharing ideas about incorporating SEL curriculum into youth programs, contact Stacy Kain at