LaunchPad brings Boys & Girls Club to Canvas


What does it take for a seemingly unmotivated high school student to pursue a project to completion?  Teachers and parents often speak disdain of teens who abandon ideas, school work, or tasks given to them and it's easy to then say: kids are just irresponsible.  

This summer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond along with Journey Learning Labs, piloted a program called “LaunchPad” to test the assumption that teens are just irresponsible.  Each high schooler chose a project they thought they wanted to do, without coaching.  Twice a week sessions invited youth to take advantage of space and time, alongside opportunities to learn particular skills (no requirements to do so) in order to see what they'd do.  

“ Canvas has been the perfect space to test our ideas for our teens…everything about The Market says, “Let’s get to it!” But with all the flexibility we’ve needed to create mini-lessons or work with kids one on one.

We really believed kids would make progress, but they have even surprised us.  Without any external incentives, they’ve deeply pursued their interests, absorbed communication and research skills, and asked to extend session hours and days so they can do more work.  

We’re so grateful to Canvas to have this "off the beaten path" spot in which kids have been able to focus and where adults have been able to quietly see the conditions that kids actually need to show us what they are capable of.  We’re excited to work with even more teens in the fall to continue our learning. “

- Sarah Kathryn Craig, Boys & Girls Club