Publication Date

1998

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

Abstract

Currently, public policy and efforts with youth often focus on how to prevent problems. A growing number of youth workers are using a more proactive youth development framework, an approach which emphasizes developing young people to become successful, healthy, caring, and contributing members of communities. This paper attempts to define the outcome objectives of such a youth development approach. To do this, outcome objectives of 27 youth development organizations were inferred through an analysis of the organizations’ literature and personal interviews. These outcome objectives were compiled along with youth development outcomes identified in the academic and advocacy literature. A total of 24 outcomes were identified. A chart was created which allowed comparison of the results. This comparison indicates that there is little agreement among the practitioners and scholars or among the practitioners themselves as to the outcome objectives of working with youth or even the language to use when describing these goals. This lack of agreement seems to be from a dearth of rigorous discussion both internally within organizations and between organizations and scholars. The lack of discussion and agreement hinders the development of the field in two ways. One is that, without clearly defined youth development outcome objectives, it becomes very difficult to design the most effective programming strategies, and impossible to evaluate the success of programming. Second is that without common language and common goals, it is difficult to gain recognition for the field, and thus to effectively influence public policy to support a youth development framework. A recommendation is made to organizations and scholars to have the necessary discussions to come to agreement, because although it will be a long and difficult process, the process in and of itself holds tremendous value, and the results will help bring the field to maturity.

Disciplines

Social Welfare

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