guidance, and direction in a myriad of programs, including citizenship and community leadership, health and safety, food and nutrition, energy, economics, jobs and careers, natural resources, sciences, and plant and animal production (Campfire Boys and Girls, 2000). “Always on Saturday,” a teen pregnancy program for black boys in Hartford, Connecticut, focuses on teaching life skills. The program curriculum incorporates general decision-making, problem-solving, planning, and goal-setting techniques taught through life examples that both the director and the youth provide (Ferguson, 1994:74).
Programs that address a number of developmental outcomes with each activity offer what is referred to as an embedded curriculum (McLaughlin, 2000). Embedded within an organization’s programs are activities that build a number of competencies and life skills. For example, YO!, a Northern California youth-run newspaper, provides jobs for youth, training in reporting, writing, and production, and experience in the business side of newspaper production. An after-school dance program for youth integrates cultural history into the dance lessons and gives them responsibility for program planning, advertising, and marketing. A championship inner-city basketball team begins each after-game briefing with an assessment of teamwork and sportsmanship. Programs such as these teach skills—writing, dance, and basketball—but they also build skills around responsibility, leadership, persistence, and connection to the family, schools, and the community.
Community programs for youth offer many opportunities for the integration of families, schools, and the broader community. Thus far we have described the specific ways in which individual organizations design and operate programs. But youth development depends not only on the independent efforts of programs, but also on these efforts in collaboration with the community as a whole.
Peter L.Benson, president of the Search Institute, describes a community by three characteristics: (1) a shared commitment, in which adults, organizations, and community institutions unite to affirm their responsibility to youth and their ability to make a difference and take action; (2) daily opportunities for individuals to acknowledge, encourage, and support youth; (3) intentional involvement of organizations, institutions, and systems—including schools, congregations, youth organizations, businesses, health care providers, and foundations—in pro-