Network for Youth in Transition


Keys to Quality Youth Development

Host: University of Minnesota, USA

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"Hands-on activities, appropriate adult mentors and community service ..."

Youth development, the process of growing up and developing one’s capacities, happens no matter what we do. The challenge is to promote positive youth development and plan quality experiences with young people.

It would be nice if there was a drive-through window where you could order the positive aspects of youth development when planning a program. But it takes active involvement and careful planning to fill the order. KEYS to Quality Youth Development encourages you to plan and prepare a complete menu for positive youth development.

This guide is a working tool to stimulate, challenge, and encourage youth and adults as they work together to plan, conduct, and evaluate quality experiences. Whether you are a parent, teacher, volunteer, youth development professional, or teenager, this planning guide will help you work with youth. How you choose to use it will depend on the situation and the desired outcomes.

Learning experiences are more powerful when tied to one or more of the keys of positive youth development. Carefully look at the time you spend with young people. Are you reinforcing these keys? Are you helping the young people build developmental assets? How can you strengthen these experiences? Use the KEYS to Quality Youth Development in the design, delivery, and evaluation of your positive youth development programs.

The Eight Keys:
Gisela Konopka (1973) and Karen Pittman (1991) identified critical elements essential to the healthy development of young people. Youth and adults will benefit from experiences providing some or all of these elements.

1. Youth Feel Physically and Emotionally Safe
2. Youth Experience Belonging and Ownership
3. Youth Develop Self-Worth
4. Youth Discover Self
5. Youth Develop Quality Relationships with Peers and Adults
6. Youth Discuss Conflicting Values and Form Their Own
7. Youth Feel the Pride and Accountability that Comes with Mastery
8. Youth Expand Their Capacity to Enjoy Life and Know that Success Is ...
Planning Outline
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