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The Role of Positive Youth Development in Youth-Related Activities.

Posted on Aug, 14 2014

Each summer there are a variety of youth activities designed to educate and entertain youth who are on summer break from school. In addition to educating and entertaining youth, these programs play an important role in their development. Joel Hektner, associate professor in the Human Development and Family Science Department at NDSU provided the following insight as to why these programs are important to the development of youth. “Rather than just keeping youth out of trouble during the summer months or after school, there is a growing recognition that we should be promoting their positive development. In order to do this, working parents are increasingly turning to youth programs to provide that enrichment.” North Dakota State University's new online Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate program teaches Positive Youth Development. Rather than focusing solely on corrective measures, a Positive Youth Development approach equips teenagers with the skill set necessary for a successful transition into adulthood.

According to Findyouthinfo.gov, "Positive youth development can be integrated into any youth development program."  There are eight principles of positive youth development that Findyouthinfo.gov suggests youth programs incorporate into their program.  Three of the principles are listed below, read the full list of principles of positive youth development.

  • Positive youth development enables youth to thrive and flourish in their teen years, and prepares them for a healthy, happy and safe adulthood.
  • Youth assets are both acknowledged and employed through positive youth development. All youth have the capacity for positive growth and development.
  • Positive youth development involves and engages every element of the community—schools, homes, community members, and others. Young people are valued through this process. Positive youth development is an investment that the community makes in young people. Youth and adults work together to frame the solutions.

With the growth in youth activities comes an increased need for youth development professionals. NDSU's online youth program management and evaluation program prepares individuals who work in youth related organizations like 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, faith-based groups, community recreation, correctional facilities, and other non-profit organizations with foundational knowledge of youth development programming. The online nature of this program makes obtaining graduate-level credentials a reality for youth development professionals who live or work in rural areas across the United States.

Learn more about the online Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate.