More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation, Frequency, Intensity and Duration In Boys & Girls Clubs

by Amy J. A. Arbreton; Molly Bradshaw; Rachel Metz; Sarah Pepper; Jessica Sheldon

Mar 1, 2008
Written midway through a three-year longitudinal evaluation of the role Boys & Girls Clubs play in the lives of the youth they serve, this report explores a topic of continuing interest to program operators and funders: What does it take to involve teens in positive out-of-school-time activities? Drawing on survey data from a low-income, ethnically diverse sample of approximately 400 seventh and eighth graders, Clubs attendance data tracked over a period of 17 months, and in-depth interviews with a sample of ninth graders, More Time for Teens identifies a set of factors that appear to contribute to three specific aspects of Club participation: frequency, duration and retention. The report highlights links found between accessible, safe places that provide a variety of informal and formal activities of interest to teens and higher levels of participation. It also distills lessons for programs interested in boosting teen participation. These include establishing relationships when children are younger (these relationships often endure through the teen years), taking into account the importance teens place on friendships and working with teens to establish flexibility in attendance policies as they enter their high school years.
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