Targeting Life Skills
Youth development is a process of mental, physical, and social growth during which young people prepare to live a productive and satisfying life within the customs and regulations of their society. People who develop programs and curricula for youth are in the business of providing educational opportunities through which youth can learn information and develop skills they need.
Youth development experiences of high quality dont just happen. The best ones are carefully planned (a) to encourage life skills development while delivering subject matter content and (b) to achieve specific results. It has become increasingly important to be accountable for resources expended by documenting program impact. By clearly stating desired changes as program objectives, youth development experiences can be evaluated more effectively to determine if the program succeeded in making the intended difference in the lives of youth.
A skill is a learned ability to do something well. Life skills are abilities individuals can learn that will help them to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life. Categories of life skills are identified and divided on the basis of the familiar four Hs from the 4-H Clover that represent Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.
The goal of youth programming is to provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for young people to experience life skills, to practice them until they are learned and be able to use them as necessary throughout a lifetime. Through the experiential learning process youth internalize the knowledge and gain the ability to apply the skills appropriately.