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New Directions for Youth Development

Priscilla M Little
Well-implemented afterschool programs can promote a range of positive learning and developmental outcomes. However, not all research and evaluation studies have shown the benefits of participation, in part because programs and their evaluation were out of sync. This chapter provides practical guidance on how to foster that alignment between program and evaluation design. It begins with a discussion of why afterschool programs should develop and use a theory of change to guide program development, implementation, and evaluation...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Sandra D Simpkins, Nathaniel R Riggs
Increasing ethnic diversity among American youth, in combination with funding priorities often targeting underserved populations, has increased the number of diverse youth attending afterschool programs (ASPs). At present, there is little guidance on how to best design ASPs and prepare staff to support the development of these diverse youth. The fields of medicine and education have begun to explore the impact of cultural competence at the organizational, structural, and professional levels to help bridge potential cultural divides...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Matia Finn-Stevenson
Much attention is given today to the importance of forging family, school, and community partnerships. Growing numbers of schools, many of them with afterschool programs, are dedicating resources to support and sustain relationships with families and community-based organizations. And, among government agencies and the philanthropic sector, there is widespread recognition that schools cannot be successful if they function alone in their quest to educate our nation's children, but must work with families and in the context of the community...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Joseph L Mahoney
Although behavioral management is one of the most challenging aspects of working in an afterschool setting, staff do not typically receive formal training in evidence-based approaches to handling children's behavior problems. Common approaches to behavioral management such as punishment or time-out are temporary solutions because they do not identify and change the factors causing the problematic behaviors. In some cases, these approaches increase or intensify undesirable behaviors. This chapter discusses one approach to behavioral management-functional behavior assessment-that research proves effective in eliminating or reducing the occurrence of behavior problems in educational settings...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Renée Spencer, Jean E Rhodes
At the heart of afterschool programs are the relationships that form between the children and youth who participate in these programs and the adults who lead them. To be effective, adults working in afterschool settings must be able to engage youth in growth-promoting relationships. This article identifies and describes four foundational ways of interacting with youth that foster the development of such relationships-engaging in warm and emotionally supportive connections, providing developmentally appropriate structure and support, cultivating and responding to youth initiative, and scaffolding and propelling youth learning and skill development...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Jennifer A Fredricks, Amy M Bohnert, Kimberly Burdette
Youth engagement is the least researched, but potentially most important, aspect of participation in afterschool programs. The level of youth engagement can vary across programs, across youth within a program, and within individual youth over time. Engagement is important for both recruiting and retaining participants, and has been associated with more positive academic outcomes over time. This chapter integrates perspectives from practitioners, researchers, and the school engagement literature. Reasons why engagement is an important dimension of afterschool programming, different methods for assessing engagement, key features of engaging afterschool programs, and implications for practice are also outlined...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Charles Smith, Tom Akiva, Gina McGovern, Stephen C Peck
This chapter discusses efforts to define and improve the quality of afterschool services, highlighting areas of agreement and identifying leading-edge issues. We conclude that the afterschool field is especially well positioned to deliver high-quality services and demonstrate effectiveness at scale because a strong foundation has been built for continuous improvement of service quality.
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Richard M Lerner, Jun Wang, Paul A Chase, Akira S Gutierrez, Elise M Harris, Rachel O Rubin, Ceren Yalin
In contemporary developmental science, relational development systems models have been used to frame the positive youth development (PYD) perspective, which posits that youth will thrive when there is alignment between their strengths and ecological resources in their context. Evidence from the 4-H Study of PYD indicates that out-of-school-time youth development programs are key ecological resources enhancing youth thriving. This chapter discusses the particular facets of youth development programs (the "Big Three"-positive and sustained adult-youth relationships, skill-building activities, and youth leadership opportunities) involved in promoting youth thriving...
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Joseph L Mahoney, Gina Warner
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Amy M Bohnert, Amanda K Ward, Kimberly A Burdette, Rebecca L Silton, Lara R Dugas
Low-income minority females are disproportionately affected by obesity. The relevance of summer months to weight gain is often overlooked. Some evidence suggests that summer programming, such as day camps, may offer increased opportunities for structured physical activities resulting in less weight gain. This study examined the effectiveness of Girls in the Game, a six-hour four-week sports and fitness summer camp program, in increasing physical activity (PA) and reducing body mass index and media use. Statistically significant increases were observed in four physical activity measures including total PA, MVPA, average number of ten-minute bouts of MVPA, and minutes participants spent in bouts of at least ten minutes of MVPA...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Jean M Thaw, Manuela Villa, David Reitman, Christian DeLucia, Vanessa Gonzalez, K Lori Hanson
Little is known about how the adoption of evidence-based physical activity (PA) curricula by out-of-school time (OST) programs affects children's physical fitness, and there are no clear guidelines of what constitutes reasonable gains given the types of PA instruction currently offered in these programs. Using a three-wave, quasi-experimental, naturalistic observation design, this study evaluated the implementation of an evidence-based PA instruction curriculum (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids [SPARK]) and examined whether the potential health benefits of evidence-based PA instruction can be replicated in this context when compared to OST programs that do not use evidence-based PA curricula...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Rebekka M Lee, Cassandra Okechukwu, Karen M Emmons, Steven L Gortmaker
National data suggest that children are not consuming enough water. Experimental evidence has linked increased water consumption to obesity prevention, and the National AfterSchool Association has named serving water as ones of its standards for healthy eating and physical activity in out-of-school time settings. From fall 2010 to spring 2011, twenty Boston afterschool program sites participated in the Out-of-School Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP) initiative, a group-randomized trial investigating nutrition and physical activity policies and practices that promote child health...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
R Glenn Weaver, Michael W Beets, Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, Collin A Webster, Justin Moore
The YMCA of the USA serves more than nine million youth in its summer day camping programs nationwide. In spring 2011, the YMCA of Columbia, SC, with support from the University of South Carolina, adopted a competency-based staff-level training approach in an attempt to align staff behaviors with the YMCA of the USA new physical activity standards for summer camp programs. This chapter presents findings from a multiyear evaluation of a competency-based training approach using a single group design with preassessments and multiple postassessments...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Arnell J Hinkle, Sallie Yoshida
Afterschool programs in California have the potential to play a major role in obesity prevention given that they serve close to a million low-income children. A five-year initiative called the Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) was funded in 2005 by the California Endowment to demonstrate that disparities related to childhood obesity and diabetes could be reduced in communities that offered families accessible and affordable opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. The afterschool program setting constituted one of five key settings targeted in the initiative...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Katherine H Hohman, Karah D Mantinan
As part of its 2011 commitment to the Partnership for Healthier America, the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) pledged that by 2015, 85 percent of its local Y associations with early childhood or afterschool programs would have at least one program site that met 100 percent of the Y-USA's healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards. To inform the measurement and monitoring of HEPA standards, the Y-USA designed a thirty-three-item online survey to assess which HEPA standards were being met in afterschool program sites each year in order to track progress over time...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Laura H Downey, Donna J Peterson, Suzanne LeMenestrel, JoAnne Leatherman, James Lang
The 4-H youth development program of the nation's 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System is one of the largest youth development organization in the United States serving approximately six million youth. The 4-H Healthy Living initiative began in 2008 to promote achievement of optimal physical, social, and emotional well-being for youth and families. In 2013, the National 4-H Council sought to identify 4-H Healthy Living programs in the domains of healthy eating and physical activity that adhered to the national 4-H Healthy Living mission and were ready for comprehensive outcome evaluation or replication at a national level...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Jean L Wiecha, Georgia Hall
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Molly Stewart Lawlor, Molly Steward Lawlor
Schools are considered one of the primary settings in which prevention and intervention initiatives can be implemented successfully, reaching a large number of young people. Especially when promoting social and emotional learning (SEL), many adolescents benefit from universal programs implemented in the school context. This chapter embeds mindfulness programs within the context of SEL. The author formulates initial recommendations for successful school-based implementation of mindfulness, drawing from previous empirical evidence for successful SEL programming...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
Laura Feagans Gould, Tamar Mendelson, Jacinda K Dariotis, Matthew Ancona, Ali S R Smith, Andres A Gonzalez, Atman A Smith, Mark T Greenberg
In the past years, the number of mindfulness-based intervention and prevention programs has increased steadily. In order to achieve the intended program outcomes, program implementers need to understand the essential and indispensable components that define a program's success. This chapter describes the complex process of identifying the core components of a mindfulness and yoga program for urban early adolescents through the systematic study of fidelity of implementation of the intervention. The authors illustrate the CORE Process [(C) Conceptualize Core Components; (O) Operationalize and measure; (R) Run analyses and Review implementation findings; and (E) Enhance and refine], based on data gained from a mindfulness and yoga intervention study conducted as a community-academic partnership in Baltimore city...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
J Douglas Coatsworth, Larissa G Duncan, Elaine Berrena, Katharine T Bamberger, Daniel Loeschinger, Mark T Greenberg, Robert L Nix
Teaching mindfulness to parents as well as adolescents through a family-centered intervention approach can have a positive impact on the parent-youth relationship. In mindful parenting, caretakers are aware of their own feelings and emotions, and interact with their adolescents in a mindful way by demonstrating emotional awareness, attentive listening, nonjudgment, self-regulation, and compassion. This chapter discusses the need for family-centered mindfulness approaches in adolescence. It introduces the Mindfulness-enhanced Strengthening Families Program, describes specific program activities and their theoretical rationale, and presents initial empirical evidence from pilot studies of the intervention...
2014: New Directions for Youth Development
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