What It Means
Programs purposefully create a welcoming environment. It’s an emotionally safe place that young people want to come back to again and again, a place where they feel a sense of security, belonging and ownership.
Why It Matters:
A young person needs a time and a place to develop – a place to safely fail and try again, a place to explore their interests or discover new passions. A secure, welcoming, positive environment best supports learning and development.
What Effective Practices Look Like:
Program structure provides opportunities for staff and youth to build trusting, appropriate relationships.
Program fosters a sense of community. Staff are welcoming, and encourage youth to connect with one another.
Staff and youth have shared high expectations and consistency of appropriate norms and behaviors.
Staff uses positive guidance to direct youth behavior and model positive behaviors to youth and to each other.
Staff engages with youth as individuals to help them learn and develop.