An Introduction to Youth Development at Two Wheel View

August 9, 2018

Two Wheel View’s youth development programs are based on a history of child development research and practice. Youth development is the process of preparing young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood.[1] This is the foundation of why we do the work we do. Typically, development is promoted through activities and experiences designed to help youth with social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies. The goal of youth development is to help young people develop interests, skills and abilities that will allow them to achieve their full potential.

 

Over the years, youth development programs have undergone a shift in approach. Early interventions tended to be reactive, supporting families in response to crises events, such as teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. However, since the 1970s, services and policies have sought to develop a more preventative approach that emphasizes supporting young people beforeproblems arise.[2] While many early youth programs were not based on research or child development theory, as the popularity of programs grew, evaluation became increasingly robust. Today, the field is highly recognized with practitioners, policy makers, and scientists working together to develop evidence-based strategies for promoting positive long-term outcomes amongst young people.  

 

Research supports the importance of high-quality, out-of-school programs for the positive development of youth.[3],[4] The effect of a combination of positive experiences, relationships and environments on young people’s development has been demonstrated by positive social, emotional, academic, higher education and work-readiness as well as health and wellness outcomes.[5] Practitioners, policymakers, funders, and researchers widely agree that promoting positive youth development through extra-curricular programs is a critical strategy for preventing a number of societal problems.[6]

 

Our focus on positive youth development 

 

Two Wheel View programs support youth in the critical hours outside of school when

young people are less likely to be supervised and have the potential for making poor decisions that can result in accident, injury or crime. We do this in a number of ways. The Earn-a-Bike program uses the bike as a tool to develop leadership and teamwork skills as well as bike mechanic capabilities in youth ages 11-17. Full Cycle encourages First Nations youth to attend school and to engage in positive activities that build community and enhance youth resiliency. We also host educational community events, such as our Adventurer Lecture Series, to encourage young people to engage with their wider community. 

 

All of our programs create opportunities for young people to learn and practice lessons in leadership, health and wellness, self-esteem, achievement, and environmental stewardship. We also encourage constructive connections with peers and adults, which supports positive relationship building and community engagement. Through the development of cognitive abilities, social competence, and emotional and physicalwellbeing, our work increases key protective factors and lessens risk factors of students. Two Wheel View’s focus on developing resiliency in young people increases their likelihood of future success.

 

Two Wheel View’s impact 

 

Our youth programs aim to impact young people in three key outcome areas:

Social Outcomes 

 

Our programs foster healthy relationships with peers and adults, positive self-esteem and self-confidence. We support the development of self-efficacy, problem-solving abilities and leadership attributes. Throughout our programs, we encourage school connectedness and the desire to try new things. 
 

Cultural Outcomes 

 

We promote increased exploration of perspectives on cultural identity and cultural belonging, increased connection to traditional lands, and increased connection to community, both local and global.
 

Environmental Outcomes 

 

Our work encourages positive changes in environmental awareness and the desire to pursue environmentally sustainable activities. 

 

Each of Two Wheel View’s youth development programs is accompanied by on-going evaluation activities to ensure that we’re effectively meeting the needs of young people in our community.With continuous impact measurement, our programs improve and our impact has grown since we started in 2000. This has resulted in youth who are better equipped to draw upon their strengths when faced with challenges and move forward in the world as mentally and physically healthy citizens.

 

[1] National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition. (2010). About Youth Development & Youth Leadership. http://nasetalliance.org/youthdev/index.htm. RetrievedJuly 30, 2018.

 

[2] Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L, Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczak, H.S., & Hawkins, J. D. (1998).  Positive youth development in the United States: research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs.https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/positive-youth-development-united-states-research-findings-evaluations-positive-youth-development-programs. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

 

[3] McCombs, J., Whitaker, A., & Too, P. (2017). The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs.https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE267.html. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

 

[4 ]Iachini,  A. L., & Anderson-Butcher,  D. (2012). The contribution of extracurricular activities to school priorities and student success. In R. J. Waller (Ed.), Mental health promotion in schools: Foundations(pp. 127–148). Oak Park, IL: Bentham Science.

 

[5] The Partnership for After School Education. (2010). Afterschool Youth Outcomes Inventory.

http://www.hfpg.org/files/4814/5194/1696/PASE.OutcomesInventory_8Nov10_FINAL.pdf. Retrieved July 31, 2018. 

 

[6] youth.gov. Positive Youth Development. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/positive-youth-development. Retrieved July 30, 2018.

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