Reflections on a Century of Youth Development Research and Practice


  • Joyce A. Walker University of Minnesota
  • Michelle Alberti Gambone Youth Development Strategies, Inc.
  • Kathrin C. Walker Univeristy of Minnesota



This introduction to the special issue highlights the youth development research and practice base that influenced the field in the 20th century and presents some historical context for the practice and study of youth work. Next, it provides an overview of the articles which offer a retrospective account of youth development from how youth development has been studied, understood and measured to how youth development practice has evolved to support, engage and address the needs of young people. The introduction concludes with reflections stimulated by the process of reviewing the manuscripts and working with the authors on their contributions. Three themes emerged as good grist for the 21st century conversations moving forward: 1) the divergent perspectives on definition, dimensions of practice and accountability, 2) the value of translational scholarship bridging science and complex practice, and 3) the importance of leveraging systems support for field building.






Feature Articles