Category: Membership

Safe and Open Playground Space

Safe and Open Playground Space

Adventure Playground, a space for all children to explore and learn through free play.

By: Araceli Mohseni, NxtGov Member

In early March of this year, NxtGov partnered with the Sacramento Adventure Playground, a free after-school youth development program for ages six to fifteen. Adventure Playground is unique in its conception and mission: to promote the imagination, creativity and education of children. The very first Adventure Playground was founded in Copenhagen, and was originally known as a junk playground, where urban children were able to build their own spaces and structures using real tools, raw materials, and cooperation. Much like its predecessor, Sacramento’s own Adventure Playground allows children the freedom to play indoors and outdoors with raw materials like tires, cardboard, planks and paint.

On a gloomy Saturday in early March, NxtGov volunteers gathered around Director Steve Claude for orientation before Adventure Playground’s operating hours. It had just rained and the skies were dark and dreary. As I stepped into Sacramento’s Adventure Playground, I was aware of the raw materials on the premises. Tires, wood, cardboard, buckets, fish tanks, couches and giant blocks seemed to be all around making the space feel cluttered. And yet, as the orientation progressed, Steve clearly defined the different stations of the playground. There was the crafting station where children would be encouraged to build their own robots with raw and recycled materials, and hot glue guns! The pet station was adjacent to the crafting station, and upon closer inspection, it hosted a variety of animals including fish and madagascar roaches. The children would be allowed to “pet” the roaches after earning enough currency by picking up pieces of trash. The bank was meant to teach children the power of currency and delayed gratification; the more you saved your currency, the more you could “afford” to buy select items or time with the popular madagascar roaches. There was also a clay station and a kaleidoscope crafting station. There were giant building blocks and recycled couches that had found a happy home at Adventure Playground. During the orientation, Steve mentioned that we were to supervise and assist the children interested working at the different stations. Yet, Steve was quick to point out that were also meant to encourage kids to play freely and if they choose to build a robot, they were absolutely allowed to use the hot glue guns.

As a new mother to a one-year old, I was a little on the edge. Were we to allow children to roam free, to play with raw materials that could be potentially dangerous? Yes! And I quickly understood why. After our volunteer session, I reflected on what I saw, happy children engaged in play with each other and with their surroundings. It had rained the day before and the children took full advantage of the mud pits outdoors. I saw children running, jumping off the building blocks and enjoying the slides. Children built their robots and crafted clay creations while others were fully invested in petting the roaches. Our natural tendency to explore, create and learn from play are innate to us, and children covet this style of discovery and education. It was difficult for me to reckon with a model of play so different from what I grew up in. Growing up in an immigrant family, my parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, which limited their free time. They did not have time to supervise my sister and I, and they were constantly worried about our safety. We lived in a cramped two-bedroom apartment on the worst part of town, where dumpsters overflowed, cars screeched through the streets on multiple occasions colliding with the brick wall at the end of the cul-de-sac, and where drugs were sold, purchased and consumed. Because of these circumstances, my parents prohibited us from playing outdoors. We were meant to walk directly home, shut the door behind us, and under no circumstances were we to open it. This meant endless weekday evenings indoors. What I would have given to have had an Adventure Playground in my neighborhood! To run, jump and explore the outdoors alongside other children. 

As a new mother to a little one, I am happy to know there is a place like Adventure Playground where supervision is secondary to exploration so that my little one can grow up unafraid and emboldened by the power of play. Currently, about 1,000 adventure playgrounds exist in Europe, largely in Denmark, Switzerland, France, German, the Netherlands and England. Japan has a number of Adventure playgrounds as well. This European model of an after school program encourages play as a way to develop the imagination, creativity and education of children. It provides the space for children to learn and grow and relies on volunteers like the members of NxtGov to provide adult supervision and help with cleanup and set-up. Perhaps more importantly, it provides children of all income levels with the open space they need to roam indoors and outdoors in a safe and engaging environment. 


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Paths to Service Profile featuring Laura Carr

Paths to Service Profile featuring Laura Carr

Name: Laura Carr

Job Title: Air Pollution Specialist

Recommended Reading: Walkable City by Jeff Speck

What was your path into public service?

Lots of my family have had careers in the public sector, so I grew up with public service in the back of my mind as an option that was not only viable but attractive, presenting an opportunity to help people and leverage the power of government for good. Two environmental studies classes in high school posed big, concerning questions about the state of the planet, and a B.A. in environmental policy provided both a framework to grapple with them and further confirmation for me that policy work in the public sector was the best pressure point to try to address them. I volunteered part-time at a Caltrans district office to get experience working for the State, and then committed fully to that millennial rite of passage, the unpaid internship, at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in Sacramento. The internship evolved into a paid position, which I held for more than a year before opting to go back to school for a brief ten-month stint to earn an M.S. in economics. Four months after completing my Master’s, I got the job I’d been envisioning since college at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). I’m hoping for and planning on a full career in public service. The work is fulfilling, the colleagues are inspiring, and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.

What do you do in your current position, and what is something you are working on right now?

At CARB, I’m part of the air quality planning staff, focusing on the San Joaquin Valley. The planning effort to clean the air and meet national air quality standards involves putting together usually quite lengthy documents laying out the strategy to cut emissions. Earlier this year, I helped write and compile a thousand-page plan for the Valley that had been in the works for well over two years—longer than I’ve been with the agency. Now that the plan is finished, we’re moving into the implementation phase, making sure everything is progressing as laid out in the plan. It’s a big task with lots of moving parts, but it’s a team effort, which makes it doable and rewarding.

What cautionary tip would you give to someone looking for a job in state service?

Know that you might not hear back about a job you’ve applied for; sometimes that courtesy isn’t provided, but don’t let it get you down. Relatedly, be patient, be persistent, and don’t despair if you don’t get the first position, or even the first dozen positions, that you apply for. Applying for jobs with the state is at least partly a numbers game, and finding the right fit is liable to take time on the order of months rather than weeks.

What’s it like living and working in Sacramento?

Great! It lives up beautifully to its City of Trees designation, has an eminently walkable downtown (see recommended reading), and it’s invigorating to be surrounded by so many other people who’ve chosen a path of public service.


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2019 California Innovation Playbook for Government Change Agents (Cal-IPGCA) Scholarship Award Opportunity for one lucky NxtGov Member!

2019 California Innovation Playbook for Government Change Agents (Cal-IPGCA) Scholarship Award Opportunity for one lucky NxtGov Member!

Registration is now open for Cohort 2019 of the California Innovation Playbook for Government Change Agents (Cal-IPGCA).

NxtGov is excited to announce that registration is open for the Cal-IPGCA Cohort 2019! This program aims to transform government with enterprise innovations that Cal-IPGCA teams and their departmental Champions are deploying right now – Watch for updates! You have the opportunity to join this effort! We are pleased to announce that NxtGov can award one $2,850 scholarship for attendance in this 5- Month program. The program and registration under “LEARN MORE” below will guide you through the details of this 5-month journey.

WHAT IS CAL-IPGCA?

Cal-IPGCA is a leadership and innovation training program unlike any other available to state employees. Six teams are assigned one of six statewide Innovation Priorities/problems to create Moonshot solutions with 10x improvement. Top state and industry leadership host a monthly 2-hour “Change Challenge Forums”, which give insight and guidance to team Innovation

Priorities. Final moonshot presentations are presented to State leaders on the final day of the program. Between the instructional days, offsite video instruction from state leadership on CalHR’s 9 Leadership Values teach personal, professional and innovative team growth.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Cal-IPGCA is designed for line staff who are rising stars with management potential, first line supervisors, middle managers, executives, and executive leadership. Each Cal-IPGCA Cohort creates a multi-generational, multi- cultural and multi-professional environment of change, integrating and synergizing participation across all levels of government classroom and work environments. And the 62 Professional Development Hours for full-time trainees meets the State of California’s biennial leadership training requirements. (GC 19995.4.)

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

There are many more reasons why you should attend or send staff to the Cal-IPGCA Cohort 2019. Here is a link to a Cal-IPGCA Fact Sheet of important features and objectives for consideration. The full program and
 online registration are linked here. For more information, you can connect to Cal- IPGCA’s Training website, KollaborNation. Should you have questions, please email program chair, Rebekah Christensen at rchristensen@orasystems.net.

Join us as a Change Leader and Innovator! This is a training program that will continue to produce results for you, your staff and your organization!

The Cal-IPGCA Association has a key role in this year’s Cohort. We think we are going to break new ground in change leadership and innovation! As an NxtGov member, if you want to learn more about the training program and/or join the Cal-IPGCA Association as a member, come to our Taco ‘Bout a Fiesta celebration on June 6 from 5:30-7:30 PM in Midtown. Here’s the flyer for logistics and registration.

NxtGov is proud to partner with Cal-IPGCA! We value the contribution Cal-IPGCA continues to make in pioneering innovation and change in state service. It takes all of us, working together as partners, to support each other’s efforts to assure real change and innovation occurs. Equally important, we are excited to be able to have a

NxtGov member participate in Cohort 2019.

This scholarship will be awarded by NxtGov no later than June 29. You must be a subscribed member of NxtGov to qualify for the scholarship.

What’s Next for NxtGov?

What’s Next for NxtGov?

Learn more about our plans to develop NxtGov from a thriving grassroots community into an inclusive and sustainable organization.

With hundreds of members and growing, NxtGov has embarked upon an incredible journey over the past couple of years to become the strong community it is today. So where do we go from here? How do we build upon our momentum to do even greater things?

With these questions in mind, I’m pleased to present the NxtGov Strategic Plan 2019-2021 which will help guide NxtGov toward a bright future in the years to come. This plan was developed by the NxtGov Executive Team to set the strategic direction for our organization to realize its mission. Our goals include attracting and retaining members and partners, ensuring our organization runs smoothly, and develop NxtGov from a thriving grassroots community into an inclusive and sustainable organization.

I want to share how proud I am of the Executive Team in living out NxtGov’s values as we developed the strategic plan together. Their forward-thinking and collaborative approach resulted in a solid foundation upon which the organization can continue to grow. In addition to all their usual work of coordinating events and opportunities for our members, the Executive Team came together in March and April to conduct an environmental scan and align on visionary goals and action plans that will take NxtGov to the next level.

This kind of planning is critical as we develop from a grassroots startup into a nonprofit organization. Shortly before the development of the strategic plan, NxtGov was officially registered as a nonprofit in the State of California and is now in the process of filing as a nonprofit with the federal government as well. This process has allowed us to solidify who we are as an organization and what value we offer to public servants and government operations.

I hope you will take the opportunity to review the NxtGov Strategic Plan 2019-2021 and learn about all the ways to get involved in NxtGov and contribute to the community we are building together.

Danielle Metzinger
Deputy Director, NxtGov


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Vote: A Message and an Invitation

Vote: A Message and an Invitation

*updated 11/8/18

We are a nonpartisan organization, but we recognize the opportunity of engaging in the process of electing leaders that reflect our values. Election Day brought a significant increase in civic engagement in most of the country.

NxtGov is hosting our Election Event this Friday November 9th.

This smaller, but significant election represents our work in serving the public, collaborating across the silos, and inspiring the current and next generation of public servants; those that will stay and continue to serve for a better good no matter the politics.

The NxtGov Executive Team Election is a representation of growth and the acceptance of change. We learn, we grow, we pay it forward, and we adapt.

Over the last year, NxtGov has continued to expand thanks to the support from our members, leaders and partners. It is your support that allows us to flourish in our mission to bring pride back to public service and break the silos that can help us transform government.

The diversity of our effort is uplifting.

Our NxtGov Ambassadors represent 15 departments across state and local government with experience spanning from a few months to 10 or more years in the public/private sector.

Our network has over 400 members from across all backgrounds and we are proud to continue to support local organizations that connect with our values of service, collaboration, and inspiration.

Join us at the NxtGov Election Event Friday, November 9th from 5pm to 7pm at Sacramento City Hall where you will be able to hear from our NxtGov Executive Team Candidates and have the opportunity to meet members, partners, and sponsors; including one of our first and biggest supporters, GovOps Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer.

You can still engage and support our public servant leaders. They are ready to take NxtGov to the next level. Cast your vote now.

Sincerely,

Angie

RSVP for Election Event

Meet the Candidates

Vote Now

PS: As we enter the month of Thanksgiving, I want to recognize and give thanks to our current Executive Team. You have all been there from the start and it’s your dedication to our mission and the passion that you bring to your role that generated the energy and support that has taken us this far and allowed us to grow. I am forever thankful.

NxtGov December News

NxtGov December News

Governing Leadership Forum
Angie, Shivani, and Danielle of NxtGov’s executive board recently discussed NxtGov’s work during a panel discussion, moderated by Secretary Batjer of GovOps, at the California Leadership Forum. Thanks to this opportunity, NxtGov has received an outpouring of interest and support from executives and leaders across state and local government. The panel highlighted executive sponsorship and the NxtGov Ambassador Program as important ways to support the work of NxtGov.
Ambassador Program
Are you interested in building partnerships with other sectors and collaborating across agencies? Want a place to represent your organization and share perspectives on issues California state government faces? As a NxtGov Ambassador, you will be active in connecting public servants you know with all the opportunities NxtGov has to offer. Some of these opportunities include:
– Policy brown-bags with State Executives to bring awareness of the key issues affecting our current and future workforce.
– Representing your organization at inter-departmental round table discussions on issues, concerns, questions, and ideas to strengthen our workforce and better serve California. 
Apply Here!
Community Engagement with CalYMCA
When: Friday, February 16th or Saturday, February 17th
Where: State Capitol

This February, NxtGov is partnering with CalYMCA by providing mentorship to high school students interested in public service careers! Through the annual Youth and Government conference, NxtGov will speak to hundreds of high school students visiting Sacramento through a series of panels. Topics will range from from department area (Finance to Education to State Treasurer’s Office) to personal identity (women in public service, people of color in public service). We need your help to field enough public servants for these panels! Specific panel topics will be determined through the interest of those who sign up. Please email us if you can volunteer to speak or would like to help coordinate!

I’d Like to Participate
Children’s Receiving Home
NxtGov is sponsoring a donation drive for Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento (CRH) to help children in need. Please join us in this cause and in the opportunity to give back to the community. There are two different ways to contribute. You can receive an angel with items children need (items can vary from toys, clothing, shoes, etc) or you can donate online towards children’s activities such as therapy sessions here: https://www.crhkids.org/donate. If you are interested in the angel, please contact Shivani Bose-Varela (shivanivarela@gmail.com) or Meagan Tokunaga  (meagantokunaga@gmail.com). We will be collecting all item donations by December 15th but if you contact Shivani or Meagan we can work out logistics with you.

About CRH: Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento has been a refuge for children and youth affected by abuse, neglect and trauma. They are the first line of defense for children and youth who have been removed from their homes. www.crhkids.org

Happy Holidays from NxtGov
2017 flew by and we have been busy! In the past year we have:
– spoken to future public servants at the UC Center to recruit them into government,
– held brown bag sessions with fellow employees to discuss everyday challenges in the workplace,
– attended events like the CA Leadership Forum to discuss those very same issues with our government leaders,
– consulted CalHR and CDT on policy matters,
– volunteered with local nonprofits and
– shared our experiences over drinks at happy hour!
Our goal is to improve government and our workplace by building a network of innovators that believe in public service – from employees who are being on-boarded to top-level executives. With you and our partners we strongly believe we can make a difference. 2018 will be bigger and we look forward to having you join us with this journey.
Join Here
Happy holidays and we hope to see you soon

DISCLAIMER: This is an unofficial organization that is not connected to any one government entity.

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