New Frontiers for Youth Development in the Twenty-First Century: Revitalizing & Broadening Youth Development

New Frontiers for Youth Development in the Twenty-First Century: Revitalizing & Broadening Youth Development

New Frontiers for Youth Development in the Twenty-First Century: Revitalizing & Broadening Youth Development

New Frontiers for Youth Development in the Twenty-First Century: Revitalizing & Broadening Youth Development

Synopsis

Practical guide and theoretical manifesto, New Frontiers for Youth Development is a vital roadmap to the problems and prospects of youth development programs today and in the future. In response to an unprecedented array of challenges, policy makers and care providers in the field of youth dvevelopment have begun to expand the field both practically and conceptually. This expansion has thus far outstripped comprehensive analysis of the issues it raises, among them the important matter of establishing common standards of legitimacy and competence for practitioners. New Frontiers for Youth Development is an overview of the field designed to foster a better understanding of the multifaceted aspects and inherent tensions of youth development. Melvin Delgado outlines the broad social forces that affect youth, particularly at-risk or marginalized youth, and the programs designed to address their needs. He stresses the importance of a contextualized approach that avoids rigid standardization and is attuned to the many factors that shape a child's development: cognitive, emotional, physical, moral, social, and spiritual. The key characteristic of youth development in the twenty-first century, Delgado suggests, is the participation of young people as practitioners themselves. Youth must be seen as assets as well as clients, incorporated into the educational process in ways that build character, maturity, and self-confidence.

Excerpt

New decades, new centuries, and new millennia bring forth great anticipation, hope, anxiety, and searches for new perspectives. the entrance to the twenty-first century presents the United States with numerous challenges such as remaining competitive in an increasingly global economy, reversing the growth of undervalued groups, and creating a workforce with the requisite competencies for employment in the information age (Bouvier and Grant 1994; Edelman 2000; Haveman and Wolfe 1994; Linn 1998; McCabe 1999;Murdock 1995). Those three arenas, as well as others not mentioned, are highly interrelated, and youth are critical to each if this country is to make strides toward achieving significant social and economic goals.

Today's youth will have a significant role in bringing about changes in technology, demography, economy, and politics (Boyle 2000d). Whether they will be prepared for the task is another question—one based on the society's views and actions toward youth. Major investment of time, capital, and commitment must be made in youth in order to answer this question in the affirmative (Haveman and Wolfe 1994). There is a realization that a “benign neglect” approach is simply not good enough to ensure that this country can continue to prosper as the new millennium develops.

The Committee for Economic Development (1997: 1) well summed up why the United States cannot afford to neglect segments of its youth population if it hopes to make significant economic and social progress:

A skilled, productive work force is essential to the economic growth and international competitiveness of the United States. Failure to utilize our nation's diverse work force means lost national output. At the same time, it leaves workers struggling to earn wages that enable them to support themselves and a family. the nation can ill afford the consequences, from costly welfare dependency to skyrocketing prison populations, when the job market fails to absorb all segments of the population effectively. To ensure both . . .

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