Engaging youth in positive afterschool programming is a vital part of youth development. Learn the best ways to support and improve the quality of youth programming.
Comments on this page? Curator: Rebecca Meyer, Extension educator
Youth Development Insight blog
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
- 4/17 Margo Bowerman
Thinking about this week's national holiday, it occurs to me how important it is for youth to develop a sense of independence and agency. An article that explores how youth develop agency says, "The challenging issue for practitioners...is how to support a developmental process in which youth are the central protagonists and agents of change." How can we build structures within youth programming that better support youth authoring their own lives?
Let’s be honest – program planning is hard work. Program planning tools help, but they can be downright overwhelming to use!
There are as many ways to do program planning as there are programs. In Cooperative Extension organizations around the country, the logic model is a well used and vetted system.
Reports & journal articles
Dale Blyth offers his reflections on some questions posed to him by the The American Educational Research Association's Special Interest Group on out-of-school time. This series is designed to connect you to each other and to the emerging and groundbreaking scholarship in the out-of-school time field. (PDF) 2014.
Rethinking Program Sustainability: A Look at the Minnesota Center for Youth Development’s Children Youth and Families At Risk Project
Grants offer exciting new resources and opportunities to Extension programs and the communities in which they take place. Sustainability must be prioritized in the program design and development of the grant-funded project or it runs the risk of garnering resentment and disappointment within communities. This poster examines the Center for Youth Development's approach with the Children Youth and Families At Risk Project. 2014.
This publication presents an overview of Minnesota's urban 4-H model for youth development. It illustrates how the model defines urban youth development, the elements of how to implement such a model, and the reasons why urban youth development can act as a vehicle to address educational disparities and provide meaningful and impactful learning opportunities to all young people. 2014.
Twitter, a free social media tool, can be used to help run a large Extension event. In Minnesota, beef and dairy show committees and 4-H participants are using real-time tweets delivered to participants' cell phones to keep state fair livestock shows running smoothly. 2014.
Youth organizations, like 4-H, are dynamic systems with structures that grow and change over time. In the current study, we examine differences in participation across gender, race, ethnicity, and area of residence. (322K DOC) 2014.
Extension will continue to face many changes in the future. Successful staffing models will help Extension position itself for sustainability and growth. Aligning staff with their strengths is essential for success of new staffing plans. Staff can use their strengths to provide success program design and implementation. Staff in new roles will also need to collaborate in program development and offerings to assure the public and stakeholders that new models are sustaining. Journal of Extension. 2012.
To focus attention on the potential of summer learning programs, this monograph reviews the literature on summer learning loss and the effectiveness of summer learning programs, determines key cost drivers of and available funds for summer programs, and gathers information about how such programs operate in district and city contexts, including facilitators and challenges. (PDF) 2011.
Developing and Improving After-School Programs to Enhance Youth’s Personal Growth and Adjustment: A Special Issue of AJCP
This introductory article overviews the historical and current context of ASPs and then describes a developmental ecological model to guide research in this area. 2010.
Hours of Opportunity Volume I, Lessons from Five Cities Volume II, The Power of Data Volume III, Profiles of Five CitiesThis three-volume report examines Wallace-supported efforts in five cities to build systems to improve the quality and accessibility of after-school, summer and other out-of-school time (OST) programs. The study concludes that the fledgling systems, which seek to coordinate the work of major OST players like schools, parks departments, and nonprofit after-school programs, hold some promise. (PDF) 2010.
While the Minnesota 4-H Club program has been growing over the last six years, over 25% of youth do not re-enroll annually. Wanting to know how 4-H could improve its member retention rate, the Minnesota 4-H Retention Study asked 4-H members who left the program why they decided to join, stay and ultimately leave 4-H. (PDF) 2010.
Power of the Wind Pilot Project: A six-state partnership to engage youth with wind energy
Appendices B - I
The process evaluation and related appendices from the Power of the Wind Pilot Project, a six state partnership to engage youth with wind energy. (PDF) 2010.
Journal of Extension. 2010.
A brief report presenting return-on-investment in regards to after-school programming. (PDF) 2008.
Annotated bibliography on leadership and civic engagement developed to inform program outcomes for Minnesota 4-H Youth Development. 2008.
Outcomes linked to high-quality afterschool programs: Longitudinal findings from the study of afterschool programsA report explaining that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students. (PDF) 2007.
The author puts forth a theory of developmental intentionality, proposing that "when there is a good fit between young people and the intentional supports and opportunities they take part in, engagement is high, and the chance of positive outcomes for learning and development are greatly improved." 2006.
This book offers recommendations for policy, practice, and research to ensure that programs are well designed to contribute to a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood. 2002.
An article explaining how the history of "positive out-of-school time" (POST) shows how youth work is essential to school reform and community revitalization movements. (PDF) 2002.
An article showing that charts, tables, and graphs can be effectively used to tell 4-H success stories. (PDF) 2000.
Minnesota Commission on Out-of-School Time
At the request of University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks, several members of our faculty examined Minnesota youth needs and produced a blueprint for ensuring Minnesota’s young people have engaging opportunities to learn and develop during the non-school hours. (PDF) 2005.
Brief: Moving Beyond the Barriers: Attracting and Sustaining Youth Participation in Out-of-School Time Programs
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media. Selected by our youth programs educator Rebecca Meyer.
- 4-H and Aquatic Robotics | McNeill, Jirik, Rugg | Journal of Extension
- Embracing Scientific and Engineering Practices in 4-H | Worker |Journal of Extension
- Using Twitter to Deliver 4-H Show Announcements | Nordby | Journal of Extension
- The California 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Initiative: Using and Informing Best Practices for Science Education in Non-formal Settings | Worker, Smith, Ambrose, Schmitt-McQuitty
- Identity Styles, Positive Youth Development, and Civic Engagement in Adolescence | Crocetti, Erentaite, Zukauskiene | Journal of Youth and Adolescence
- Transformative learning and the 4-H camp counselor experience | Leff (thesis) | Iowa State University
- Is Human-Animal Interaction Linked to Positive Youth Development? | Mueller | Applied Developmental Science
- Hours of Opportunity (video) | The Wallace Foundation
- Measuring Perceptions of Engagement in Teamwork in Youth Development Programs | Cater, Jones | Journal of Experiential Education
- Youth Teaching Youth: Evaluation of the Alcohol/Tobacco Decisions cross-age teaching program | Emil, Dworkin, Skelly | The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues