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Developmental Assets: Preparing Youth for Success

YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka CEO Rob Armstrong.

Do you ever wonder why some kids seem to grow up with ease while others struggle? Are you surprised that some kids thrive in spite of difficult circumstances?

Developmental Assets

Through studies involving hundreds of thousands of young people across North America, The Search Institute of Minnesota has found 40 factors that are essential to young people’s success. They call these 40 factors “Developmental Assets.”  They are traits such as skills, relationships, values, and self-perceptions.

External Categories

External Categories are relationships and opportunities that young people experience in their families, schools and communities (things that other people provide for youth):

  • Support
  • Empowerment
  • Boundaries & Expectations
  • Constructive Use of Time

Internal Categories

Internal Categories are skills and values that youth develop within themselves to guide behaviours and choices:

  • Commitment to Learning
  • Positive Values
  • Social Competencies
  • Positive Identity

The more Developmental Assets young people have, the more successful they become.  They have more school and relationship success, live healthier lifestyles and make better choices. The Search Institute has found that the average student in grade twelve averages only 17.8 of the 40 Developmental Assets.

Commitment to Developmental Assets at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka has committed resources to increasing the assets of young people through our youth programs and services. At the YMCA, youth take part in leadership development classes where activities and special events help prepare them for future volunteer and employment opportunities. Children are encouraged to take part in activities and lessons that not only allow them to build skills in the arts, sports, leadership or recreation but to also learn soft skills such as listening, cooperation and team building.

Programs allow young people to excel in their area of interest while connecting them to caring adults who nurture their skills. Our values are evident in all program areas and interactions — from our Board to staff to volunteers and members – we treat all people with respect and dignity.

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is committed to promoting developmental asset-based community work throughout our region. Preparing young people to become thriving and contributing adults requires strengthening commitments and capacities of communities as a whole.

As a member of the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition in Simcoe County, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is working with other local organizations and the Simcoe County District School Board, to engage and support the community in building resiliency for youth of all ages.

Learn More About Developmental Assets 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement developmental assets in your home or how to create developmental communities, please visit the Search Institute.

Do you see opportunities to collaborate in this shared agenda? Do you have suggestions or ideas you’d like to share with us? We value your input! Contact us to share your questions, comments, or to request more information.

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