We believe that children and youth play a pivotal role in their own development. Youth development is a process by which all children and youth seek ways to meet their basic physical and social needs and build the strengths and self-direction to guide their own safe and healthy transition to adulthood. The youth development approach to programming and policy sees children and youth as assets to be supported.
The youth development approach begins with intentional program design to define youth outcomes. Youth outcomes are the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors that the program hopes all youth in the program will achieve as a result of participation in the program.
Below are 12 developmental youth outcomes into two categories: Identity and Ability. Within each category, we have listed 6 attributes. A quality program is designed to achieve and measure a minimum of two outcomes.
Children and youth demonstrate a positive identity when they have a sense of personal well-being and a sense of connection and commitment to others.
Children and youth demonstrate ability when they gain knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare them for adulthood.
SAFETY & STRUCTURE
A perception that one is safe in the world and that daily events are somewhat predictable.
A perception that one is a “good person” who contributes to self and others.
MASTERY & FUTURE
A perception that one is “making it” and will succeed in the future.
BELONGING & MEMBERSHIP
A perception that one values, and is valued by, others in the family and in the community.
RESPONSIBILITY & AUTONOMY
A perception that one has some control over daily events and is accountable for one's own actions and for the consequences on others.
SELF-AWARENESS & SPIRITUALITY
A perception that one is unique and is intimately attached to extended families, cultural groups, communities, higher deities, and/or principles.
The ability and motivation to act in ways that best ensure current and future physical health for self and for others.
The ability and motivation to respond affirmatively to and cope with positive and adverse situations, to reflect on one’s emotions and surroundings, and to engage in leisure and fun.
The ability and motivation to learn in school and in other settings, to use critical thinking, to be creative, to use problem-solving and expressive skills, and to conduct independent study.
The ability and motivation to gain the functional and organizational skills necessary for employment, including an understanding of careers and options, and the steps necessary to reach goals.
CIVIC & SOCIAL ABILITY
The ability and motivation to work collaboratively with others for the larger good and to sustain caring friendships and relationships with others.
The ability and motivation to respect and affirmatively respond to differences among groups and individuals with diverse backgrounds, interests, and traditions.