About the Clubs


Taking the Positive Road to Youth Development

Taking the Positive Road to Youth Development

In our Clubs, we work diligently to build confidence in our youth so that they are able to recognize the potential within themselves and overcome adversities. We want them to be strong, competent, individuals who are well-equipped to cope with challenges.

As we dive into summer programming, we can reflect on how we are approaching our Club kids and the programs we plan to implement. Are we focused on the negatives or positives as we plan our fun, filled summer? Have plans started with “our group doesn’t have the skill/ time/ focus to do this activity, so we will have to do a different program” or “our Club kids are really great at creative thinking, so we will do a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) program to incorporate creative problem-solving, math, and science”?

The difference between these two questions is that the first focuses on the challenges and limitations, while the second is a strengths-based inquiry. This is an important distinction of perspective as we kick off a month of exploring a strength-based approach and promoting resiliency.

What does strength-based mean?

Incorporating a strength-based approach into programming doesn’t require funding or extra staff. It can be folded into everyday work by reframing the conversations and current practices and at your Club. Focus on the social, academic, and emotional strengths of the Club members and their environment. Celebrating these strengths and developing programs that help them shine through can help to build positive relationships among your Club kids, and in turn, a positive connection to you and the Club.

Seems easy enough, right? Here are a few tips and strategies that can help bring the strength-based approach to you and your staff:

  • Help youth identify and name their strengths, and affirm them for their positive contributions at the Club.
  • Set expectations. Kids will live up (or down) to your expectations. Expectations don’t have to be about grades or performance; they can also reflect character traits such as honesty and integrity.
  • Be supportive, but don’t take over an activity or project entirely. Allowing Club members to explore and try out activities after good instruction from staff allows for members to build their competency and confidence! Let them lead and assist them by facilitating, but not controlling, the activity.
  • As youth become confident in their leadership roles, give them a chance to be positive peer leaders! Kids learn well from each other and look to their peers for role models.
  • Accept youth as they are, and be dependable in their lives. Having a connection with at least one dependable adult is at the core of promoting resiliency!