Youth development occurs, regardless of what adults do, as youngsters grow from infancy into childhood, then through adolescence, and beyond. Some necessary developmental tasks, however, can be influenced and enhanced through positive intervention.
The youth development and youth-at-risk programs are University of Illinois Extension's responses to the pervasive conditions in northeastern Illinois that place young people whose basic physical and social needs have not been met and are at risk of not being competent enough to participate in adolescent and adult life successfully. Risk and protective factors within peer-group, family, community, and work environments also have serious consequences for successful development
The 4-H youth development philosophy and mission reach diverse audiences in metropolitan Chicago and suburban communities. Educators and volunteers alike have identified community needs and research-based information that can be integrated into activities that build one success at a time. Critical developmental tasks include:
Educators within Extension are prepared to collaborate with professionals and volunteers in a wide variety of training topics to initiate or enhance programs focused on youth development and youths who appear to be at risk. Topics that could be explored include: