These results show that Club Members at Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast have a higher perception of key positive youth development elements than the national average. As an organization, we use this information to continually improve program areas in an effort to provide local youth with the highest-quality Club Experience possible (as defined below).
In 2004-05, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) partnered with the Search Institute to undertake a comprehensive study to identify core Club practices that foster positive youth development. The research yielded strategies and practices that were synthesized into the Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development that are at the center of our Movement’s Formula for Impact theory of change. When implemented together and with consistency, the Club meets the developmental needs of youth by providing:
The annual National Youth Outcomes Initiative (NYOI) consistently and credibly measures the Formula for Impact by measuring youth perception of the above key elements for positive youth development. From this, the Club Experience indicator was developed.
The Club Experience indicator is powerful. Research from recent years using NYOI data has validated the growing emphasis on the quality of a members’ Club Experience. The data continues to show that a high-quality Club Experience drives positive outcomes for members. Through NYOI data, our local Club can identify areas for improvement based on Member’s perception of each category. By responding to a series of questions about each component of the Club experience, the components are scored separately, then categorized as optimal, indeterminate, or insufficient. Optimal indicates that the Members’ survey answers signal positive responses. It represents the experience necessary for Members to fulfill their developmental needs and achieve priority outcomes. If Members’ survey answers signal disconcerting or troubling responses for the measure, their Club Experience is rated Insufficient. Indeterminate signal a mix of responses that do not clearly align Members to the other two categories.
Each of the Club Experience components are then used together to create a composite rating of our Members’ Overall Club Experience. To score at the optimal level on the Overall Club Experience, members’ responses must indicate that the Club is optimal in three of the components and is not insufficient in any component. A rating of insufficient on the Overall Club Experience indicates that members rated at least two of the Club Experience components as insufficient.
Club Experience refers to everything Clubs provide to young people. Through research and analysis, we’ve determined that a high-quality Club Experience is one in which Members feel physically and emotionally safe, receive support and recognition from caring adults who set expectations for them, are provided opportunities to try new things, have fun, and feel a sense of belonging.
When Club staff intentionally focus on these youth development fundamentals and young people attend the Club more frequently, this combination drives stronger outcomes for youth in BGCA’s three priority areas — Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles.
It is our goal that every young person who enters our Club have the highest-quality Club Experience possible. Members who report having the highest-quality experience achieve stronger positive youth development outcomes and are better equipped to thrive. all