Cacophony and Change in Youth After School Activities: Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development

Christina Theokas, Jacqueline V. Lerner, Erin Phelps, Richard M. Lerner

Abstract


This paper describes the configuration and changes in young adolescents’ participation in structured after school activities. Using data from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development the 983 youth studied in both the first and the second waves of this research (fifth and sixth grade, respectively) were found to engage in structured after school activities at high levels. Fewer than 12% did not participate in any activities. Participation in multiple activities was the norm for these youth and the configuration of activities changed between grades. The breadth of participation in structured after school activities suggests, first, that it would be ideal to have broad community collaboration in regard to youth programming to ensure that youth receive excellent programming, no matter where they turn; and, second, that youth development researchers and practitioners need to consider new approaches to conceptualizing and evaluating the possible role of any one after-school program in promoting exemplary development.

Keywords


postive youth development; after school programs; program evaluation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2006.394

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