Adapting Youth Programming in the COVID-19 Era

Adapting Youth Programming in the COVID-19 Era

Over the past few months, educators, caregivers, and youth development practitioners have moved mountains to transition programming to remote platforms. They have been on the frontlines, bravely embracing the new challenges, always with the best interest of their youth in mind. Now, as many states around the country announce their plans for re-opening, our attention turns towards the future of programming. Play At The Core (PATC) is well-positioned to support these transitions as practitioners face unfamiliar territory in building relationships and create engaging program offerings remotely, in addition to supporting children and program teams through the unique grief and trauma we have experienced.

Anticipated changes to summer youth programs

This summer will mark a significant departure from typical programming offered to youth. With in-person interactions likely to be restricted, and everyone’s health and safety top of mind, opportunities for youth development practitioners to build relationships with youth face-to-face will be limited. Remote platforms will be the primary vehicle to continue to reach out to the communities that need it the most, and many of PATC’s partners are already adjusting with the help of new resources. Youth development leaders can support families through these difficult next months with fun and engaging virtual games, workshops, activity kits, and, perhaps most importantly, individual outreach efforts.

Digital resources to support the transition to remote programming

In light of these seismic changes within the youth development landscape, PATC has wasted no time in developing resources for youth program leaders and organizations. To share experiences and best practices, PATC launched their “Community Huddles” from which new resources and frameworks are sourced and developed to be shared more broadly. In addition, PATC has piloted a virtual version of the fan-favorite “Playbreaks,” designed for youth development practitioners, caregivers, and their children, with the goal of creating an intentional space for play during this challenging time.

Uncertainty and youth programming post-COVID

With the future still uncertain and constantly evolving, there is one thing we can all agree on: the continuity of support that youth programs provide will be essential as children overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has left us with. To this end, PATC plans to develop a series of workshops to fortify our partners response, including: 

  • Healing Connections: Relationship-building in post-COVID youth programs
  • Back To “Normal”: The Priority of meeting the social-emotional needs of children
  • COVID-19 Trauma: Creating a responsive program for children during a pandemic

By joining forces and supporting one another, the youth development community and PATC will continue to innovate and adapt to the new challenges the COVID-19 era poses.Want to find out more about our next “Community Huddle”, our “Playbreaks,” or other services? Just email for more information!

If you’re interested in learning more about our work, visit us at For information about partnering or joining our team, please drop us a line!