As mentioned in our introduction, Positive Youth Development is a strategy engaged at Createch. There are five key principles on which Positive Youth Development is founded, and we strive to utilize these guidelines in all of our member and community interactions.
A huge belief held in Createch, and supported by the research done by Karen Pittman, is to shift the paradigm away from "preventing and 'fixing' behavior deficits to[ward] building and nurturing 'all beliefs, behaviors, knowledge, attributes, and skills that result in a healthy and productive adolescence and adulthood.'"²
Pittman has also developed a model for understanding Positive Youth Development Outcomes, known as the 6 C's*
*Originally the 5 C's, "caring" was added later
Youth Engagement is the result when young adults become actively involved in responsible and challenging actions to create community action and positive social change. In order for this to happen, youth must be involved in the planning and decision making process. Adult-youth partnerships is a place where Positive Youth Development often thrives. These partnerships are structured so that equal say is given to both parties, allowing both to contribute, teach, and learn from each other.
Remember: Youth engagement is not just talking with teens; it is involving teens in the decision making process that will affect their futures.
Involving youth is imperative because it is also a source for classical conditioning. If we allow youth to make decisions for their own futures, they will develop these skills and employ them in the future. By dissuading youth from passivity we are building a lively community, proactive leaders, and an active democracy for the future.
There are a plethora of benefits for Youth Engagement, both at the individual and group level. These include:
1. Positive Youth Development Resource Manual. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2015. ACT for Youth.
2. Pittman, K. (1999). Youth Today: The Power of Engagement. Forum for Youth Investment.