ners in decision making;

  • Special-interest groups or courses, including video production, cooking, gardening, pet care, photography, and other youth-identified interests; and

  • Public and private youth-led programs, including ones provided by youth-serving or youth development organizations.

To this list, the committee added program activities associated with such developmental passage rituals as bat and bar mitzvahs, American Indian rite of passage rituals, and Christian first communion and confirmation ceremonies.

There is little comprehensive information on the prevalence and distribution of the various community programs for youth in this country. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development’s 1992 report, A Matter of Time, provided the most comprehensive summary of basic national statistics on the pervasiveness of youth programs (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1992). Based on data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, this study concluded that there were 17,000 active youth organizations in the United States in 1990. No other national studies as comprehensive as this have been undertaken in the past decade, a period when there has been considerable increases in funding and opportunity for these programs. A variety of independent efforts to compile information about a particular set of youth programs have been conducted, but they are neither comprehensive nor national in their scope (National Collaboration for Youth, 1997).


The committee mapped the features of settings developed in the Chapter 4 against various program illustrations and drew some conclusions about effective strategies to incorporating features of positive developmental settings. While there are fairly obvious links between some program dimensions and features of settings, there is also a great deal of overlap. For instance, programs that develop clear and consistent rules of behavior demonstrate appropriate structure; at the same time, these rules may help nurture an environment that promotes physical and psychological safety.

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