Building on strengths: A new framework for positive youth development program practice
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This article introduces a new strengths-based approach to youth development program practice developed in Queensland, Australia. This approach is encapsulated in a good practice framework, its six principles, their underlying indicators and examples of action. The framework is a wholly new synthesis of academic, youth and practitioner expertise, and demonstrates the complex ecological nature of youth programs and the bi-directional links between the diversity of staff and youth needs, and contributions made within the program environment. I introduce the framework by discussing each of the six principles, which focus on the themes of learning and development; leadership and decision making; an inclusive ethos; community service; partnerships and networking; and ethical promotion. Taken together, the principles presented here embody an innovative, comprehensive and comprehensible framework for volunteer and paid youth practitioners, service providers and youth studies scholars.
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