A new training curriculum for youth work professionals, Positive Youth Development 101, has just been released by the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence. Authored by Jutta Dotterweich, the curriculum was developed in collaboration with New York State (NYS) 4-H, the NYS 4-H Educator Association, the Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team, and several youth development consultants and former trainers of the NYS Advancing Youth Development (AYD) Partnership.
This curriculum is designed for professionals who work directly with youth in late childhood and adolescence in a wide range of educational, recreational, or residential programs. It is especially appropriate for newly hired 4-H or community educators within the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) network.
The first phase of curriculum development consisted of a literature review and series of meetings to reflect on lessons learned from past youth development training initiatives such as the AYD Partnership. This led to a draft curriculum structured as a 10-hour training. The draft curriculum was pilot-tested in three upstate locations and in New York City. Participants included CCE 4-H educators and other CCE community educators working with youth, as well as community-based youth work professionals outside the CCE network. During each pilot training, participants provided extensive feedback on activities and materials.
Positive Youth Development 101 and all related materials are available without charge from the ACT for Youth site. This curriculum development and training project is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Smith Lever project 2012-13-272.