Positive Youth Development

Youth development is an ongoing process by which youth gain the personal, social, academic and citizenship competencies necessary for successful adolescence and adult life. A Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework has been the basis of state and federal programming for youth-serving agencies since the 1990’s and all professional youth workers should have a solid understanding of it. Our training provides participants with a broad overview of Positive Youth Development theory and practice. Training opportunities range from half- or full-day workshops to the four-day Advancing Youth Development seminar that includes 28 hours of training.

Instead of focusing on preventing problems, PYD focuses on programs and activities that meet each youth’s capabilities, strengths and formative needs. In our PYD trainings, we focus on how PYD and asset-building approaches are uniquely applicable to young people in at-risk or beyond-risk situations. We discuss ways to engage young people as partners in their own care through shared decision-making within caring relationships. Participants identify their own assumptions about young people and begin to challenge those assumptions. Finally, participants examine their own programs and discuss changes to program design and delivery that better reflect a PYD philosophy. Advanced seminars address the parallel process that occurs between supervisors and youth workers, and youth workers and young people (or parents and young people). This experiential training provides ample opportunities for practicing PYD skills relevant to a variety of settings.

What You’ll Learn

  • To understand the core elements of Positive Youth Development philosophy and practice
  • To understand power dynamics that exist between adults and young people
  • How to create environments that encourage youth participation in decision-making and care
  • How to focus care, case planning and measurement on strengths-based opportunities for youth
  • How to support young people taking leadership in groups and communities