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ERIC Number: EJ791695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1533-8916
Intentional Youth Programs: Taking Theory to Practice
Walker, Joyce A.
New Directions for Youth Development, n112 p75-92 Win 2006
Almost any youth program has the potential to be hollow busywork or a vibrant learning experience. Research has documented important features of supportive environments, choice and flexibility, balancing youth and adult-driven stances, and the centrality of relationships. The challenge for practitioners is to construct and carry out youth development programs in ways that incorporate the lessons of research as well as get young people in the door and actively engaged. In this article, the author presents a conceptual program development framework based on the theory of developmental intentionality. The first section of this article focuses on a theory and a framework for actualizing the theory. A short explanation of the theory of developmental intentionality includes a discussion of how intentionality, engagement, and goodness of fit come together to energize a youth program and help it achieve its intended outcomes. Next, a discussion of the framework for a developmentally intentional program moves the theory into practical application. The elements of the framework are an ethos of youth development, a model for designing a learning experience, and the presence of young people in the context of their everyday life. The second section of the article describes actual community-based programs for early adolescents. Experienced practitioners selected these programs because they illustrate ways to achieve engagement and goodness of fit through deliberate program strategies. The article concludes with a series of important questions that encourage practitioners to scrutinize their programs and practices through the lens of intentionality, thus providing a frame for what one prioritizes, what one decides to do, and how one evaluates the effort. (Contains 2 figures and 17 notes.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A