What is positive youth development?
Positive youth development (PYD) is a philosophy, characterized by a positive asset-building orientation that builds on strengths rather than categorizing youth by their deficits.
Positive youth development:
- Guides communities in how to organize services, opportunities, and supports
- Assists young people to reach their full potential through youth engagement
- Emphasizes a shift in engaging youth as assets vs. problems to be fixed.
The goal of PYD is for youth to become fully functioning adults with economic self-sufficiency, healthy family and social relationships and community involvement. PYD focuses on building positive attitudes, skills and behaviors which in turn reduce risky behaviors (Outley, 2018).
How do youth-adult partnerships contribute to positive youth development?
There are eight features of a positive youth development approach:
- Positive Climate
- Physical and Emotional Safety
- Appropriate Structure
- Positive Norms and Expectations
- Supportive Relationships
- A Sense of Belonging
- Integrated School, Family, and Community Partnerships
- Meaningful Engagement
- Opportunities for Youth to Contribute Meaningfully
- Skill-Building Experiences
Youth-adult partnerships are a way to meaningfully engage youth. Youth engagement empowers youth to have a voice in decisions that affect them and provides opportunities for youth to develop skills needed to exercise actual authority and responsibilities.
Youth-adult partnerships are distinct from youth programs. Youth programs are often characterized by a one-way commitment from adults to help youth. Youth-adult partnerships are a two-way commitment from adults to help youth by establishing policies and programs. Youth become agents of change instead of targets to be changed (Outley, 2018).
Outley, C. (2018). Positive Youth Development: Building Capacity in Youth Organizations. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University.