Environmental Service and Outdoor Adventure as a Context for Positive Youth Development: An Evaluation of the Crow River Trail Guards Program

Julie Ernst, Jessamy Schwartz

Abstract


Trail Guards, a community-based organization in Minnesota, offers youth the opportunity to participate in park/trail maintenance and enhancement projects. Through these environmental service projects, Trail Guards seeks to foster the following developmental outcomes in youth participants: self-awareness of skills and strengths; self-worth; personal and social self-efficacy; sense of belonging and acceptance; team work and cooperation skills; and a sense of community responsibility. Trail Guards ultimately aims for youth to transfer these skills and socially appropriate behaviors to settings and activities beyond Trail Guards and to participate in the community in other positive ways. A program evaluation indicated Trail Guards seems to be achieving these youth development outcomes, and that the success of the program may be attributed to the program leader serving as a positive adult role model and providing a safe and caring environment, as well as to community involvement. Implications are discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2013.96

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Copyright (c) 2013 Journal of Youth Development

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