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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
Religious youth organizations: These organizations may vary in their particular program activities and focus, but they generally share the common objective of fostering moral and faith development.
Private community groups (i.e., adult service clubs, sports organizations, senior citizens groups, and museums): These organizations sponsor a broad range of youth programs; although their primary mission is not to provide youth programming, they engage youth in various activities.
Public-sector institutions (i.e., public libraries, parks and recreation departments): These institutions often serve as a gathering point for adolescents and may offer activities and services specifically to promote adolescent development.
In addition to these categories, the committee also recognized that institutional collaborations, such as school-based programs being run by community-based organizations, offer many programs for youth.
There is great diversity in the specific focus and character of community programs for youth. Community Counts, for example, examined 120 community organizations that differed in nearly every objective way possible (McLaughlin, 2000). The Younger Americans Act (discussed in Chapter 9), introduced in the Senate in September 2000 and the House in January 2001, included a useful list of youth program activities:
Character development and ethical enrichment activities;
Mentoring activities, including one-to-one relationship building and tutoring;
Community youth centers and clubs;
Nonschool hours, weekend, and summer programs and camps;
Sports, recreation, and other activities promoting physical fitness and teamwork;
Services that promote health and healthy development and behavior on the part of youth, including risk avoidance programs;
Academic enrichment, peer counseling and teaching, and literacy;
Camping and environmental education;
Cultural enrichment, including music, fine, and performing arts;
Workforce preparation, youth entrepreneurship, and technological and vocational skill building, including computer skills;
Opportunities for community service;
Opportunities that engage youth in civic participation and as part-