Professional Development Training


What is Youth Development?

Youth Development is the process by which all young people seek ways to meet their basic physical and social needs, and build the competencies necessary to succeed in adolescence and adulthood.

Youth Development Principles

All young people will seek to meet their fundamental needs.  If we do not provide young people with the necessary opportunities and supports, they will go elsewhere to meet their needs.The goal is not to fix youth, but to develop them and challenge them to achieve their highest potential. Caring adults do not simply show affection for young people; they (1) challenge youth to achieve their potential, and (2) provide youth with a full range of supports necessary to succeed.

The Advancing Youth Development training program addresses these key youth development components:

Developmental Youth Outcomes

What are the goals for young people? How do we support them in reaching those goals? What is the youth development approach?

Cultural Assumptions  

How and what are the barriers that “we adults” bring to our work with youth? How can we practice caring behaviors?

Core Competencies of Youth Workers 

What are the attributes, skills, and knowledge of an exemplary youth worker?

Best Practices

What are the supports and opportunities that youth need for development?

Youth Participation

What are the levels of youth participation? How do we promote the meaningful participation of every youth? 

Practice, Review & Celebration 

How do we use what we have learned to increase our effectiveness with youth?




  • Introduction to the Active Participatory Approach - Youth programs can be optimized for youth needs, motivation, and engagement. The Active-Participatory Approach to youth work was designed to address these goals. This youth-centered approach is the foundation for the Youth Work Methods Series.
  • Active Learning - Do you know the difference between active learning and “hands-on” learning?  Giving youth materials is just the beginning.  This interactive workshop introduces the “ingredients” of active learning, explains the role that active learning plays in the experiential learning cycle, and helps participants create more powerful learning opportunities for youth.
  • Youth Voice - Are you providing young people with authentic, meaningful choices throughout your program?  Does your program reflect the input of the youth involved?  Research shows that quality programs incorporate youth input at both activity and organizational levels.  This workshop will emphasize the importance of offering real choices and meaningful participation to youth, and nurturing youth leadership.  This interactive workshop is focused on providing meaningful choice within activities and opportunities for youth input within the youth program itself.
  • Planning and Reflection - Are you engaging youth in the critical life skills of planning and reflection?  Are you ready to be more intentional about including planning and reflection strategies into your daily routine and activities but not sure where to start?  This interactive workshop will introduce participants to powerful and easy to use methods that promote youth engagement in planning, implementing, and evaluating activities and projects.
  • Building Community - Do you know what it takes to build an emotionally and physically safe space for youth?  Building an emotionally safe community of peers and adults is essential for youth to learn and develop as individuals.  This interactive workshop will introduce participants to a variety of activities designed to support the community building process.
  • Cooperative Learning - Do the youth in your program have opportunities to work together in groups, teaching and learning from each other?  Cooperative learning is an excellent way to nurture youth leadership, build community, and keep things fun.  This interactive workshop will equip participants with grouping strategies and ways to think about building cooperative learning into any program offering.
  • Ask-Listen-Encourage - Do you communicate with youth in a way that makes them feel supported and heard?  This interactive workshop introduces various communication techniques that help you build more supportive, youth-centered relationships.  Participants will learn how to ask more effective questions, to listen actively to youth, and offer youth encouragement rather than praise.
  • Reframing Conflict - What role do you play in conflict situations with the youth in your program?  Do you know how to turn a conflict situation into an opportunity for growth?  This interactive workshop introduces participants to the High/Scope step-by-step model for reframing conflict as well as general principles of conflict resolution.
  • Structure and Clear Limits - How do you prevent chaos in a youth environment without stifling youth’s positive energy?  Youth need structure and clear limits in order to feel safe.  This interactive workshop helps participants analyze the level of structure in their programs and practice identifying and maintaining clear limits. 
  • Homework Help - This course focuses on making homework help time effective by helping youth get organized, by providing an atmosphere that helps youth focus on their work, and by building a supportive relationship with youth. These elements help participants reconsider Homework Help as an opportunity to build relationships and nurture positive growth, beyond getting the work done.

 Click here to download a description of the Youth Work Methods Workshop Series.

Quality Assessment

Instructional quality matters. What happens between the child and the adults who serve them can mean the difference between having a highly functioning program or one of low quality. All students deserve to be in a program that is high functioning and that meets there developmental needs.

Too often program leaders rely on what they think programs need to improve their quality.While this is rooted in the leaders experience and knowledge, it is still somewhat subjective. 

Take a look at the following resourses on quality assessment.


Personal Influence Training


Values and Virtues - This session is designed to have participants explore their essential virtues and how to practice virtuous behaviors. Participants will select three virtues that they wish to explore in greater depth. Participants will conduct a virtues audit. By identifying the attitudes and behaviors associated with each virtue, participants will connect how these virtues influence the quality of their performance. Additionally, participants will decide on three virtues that will represent the core virtues of the entire staff. These will serve as guideposts and point of reflection in future sessions. 


Coaching and Supervision - a professional model - This session will explore how practitioners can inspire greater levels of performance and accountability through modeling, observation and reflection activities. This session is designed to break down silos, barriers and cliques while promoting a culture of shared purpose and personal accountability. Additionally participants will explore issues of time management and taking ownership and personal responsibility for high levels of individual and team performance.


Understanding Your Role - Understanding your role gives you the chance to put your distinctive, authentic self to work. The more you put yourself in the service of your role, the more likely you are to be effective. This session is designed to foster a deeper understanding of individual roles within the organization, where they intersect with other roles and how they collectively contribute to the actualization of the mission and shared purpose. Exercises that promote universal understanding and highlight opportunities for cooperation and collaboration will be conducted. Additionally, using your role and personal influence to problem solve and take initiative will be explored.


The workshops referenced in the Youth Work Methods section are based on content developed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Forum for Youth Investment and HighScope Foundation. Recent findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a randomized experimental study, demonstrate that exposure to and use of this content improves program quality in out-of-school time settings. Brodrick Clarke has been trained in and certified to deliver this content. These workshops, however, are not directly affiliated with or sponsored by any of the organizations that developed it. Nevertheless, the Weikart Center and Forum are pleased that you have selected this evidence-based content to advance your quality improvement initiative.