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Building blocks of high-quality youth programs

Whether your program is large or small, you can integrate research-based practices to make it more effective and to help youth thrive.

The building blocks below draw from or align with the 4-H thriving model, the essential elements of effective youth development programs and Believe It. Build It. Minnesota’s Guide to Effective Afterschool Practices.

Program design and impact

Program evaluation, designing for social and emotional learning, program quality and design

Supportive relationships and environment

Basic youth needs, dealing with conflict, program quality and more

Youth leadership and voice

Cross-age teaching, global citizenship, youth teaching youth, youth-adult partnerships

Youth skill building

Social and emotional skills, outdoor skills, college readiness, engineering skills and more

Equity, culture and identity

Inclusive programs for LGBTQ+, special needs, immigrant and all youth 

Building youth resilience

Dealing with rural stress, childhood trauma and more

Organizational management

Leading a program, dilemmas in youth work, managing volunteers and teams, growing your program

Community and family engagement

Public engagement strategies, partnering for school success

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