The Promotion of Character through Youth Development Programs: A View of the Issues

Andrea Vest Ettekal, Kristina Schmid Callina, Richard M. Lerner

Abstract


Contemporary developmental theories suggest that out-of-school-time (OST) youth development programs may be an important context for character development and education because of the positive, mutually influential relations between youth and adult leaders found in exemplary instantiations of such programs. Although still in its early stages, research about this role of OST programs, including evaluations of specific programs, is beginning to burgeon in relation to increased interest in person-context models of human development, the fact that each of tens of millions of American youth participate in several OST programs each year, and heightened emphasis among scientists, educators, and policy makers about the importance of promoting character among the diverse youth of the nation. Both to reflect the state-of-the art and in the hope of promoting further research progress, the articles in this special section describe how the attributes of young people and the features of the OST programs youth development in which they participate may link together in promotion of character development.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2015.4

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