The true work of Boys & Girls Clubs–the heart of what they do– lies fittingly at the center of our Formula for Impact. To create the optimal Outcome-Driven Club Experience, Clubs provide high-yield activities and targeted programs, actively encourage young people to attend more frequently, and employ Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development.
The latter component emerged as critically important in a 2004–05 research effort conducted by the Search Institute and BGCA to identify quality strategies and practices that Clubs use to promote the positive, healthy development of youth. The findings showed that Clubs have the potential to increase their impact on young people when they make concerted efforts to implement
five key elements in their operations.
These Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development are:
- A Safe, Positive Environment
- Supportive Relationships
- Opportunities and Expectations
Subsequent research conducted for BGCA highlighted the importance of regular attendance for achieving impact. A 30-month study published in 2009 found that youth were more likely to demonstrate greater positive outcomes related to Academic Success, Good
Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles when they attended the Club at least 52 times per year. The positive effects were even greater when they attended 104 times per year.
Now, through the data being collected in NYOI, we have new insights on just how much of a positive difference these components of a high-quality Club Experience may make for young people.
Some Key Definitions
NYOI measures regular attendance by collecting member attendance data from Clubs on a weekly basis. Once a Club has submitted sufficient member attendance data (at least six months’ worth), the system calculates a Frequency of Attendance score for
Members who are scored as Highly Engaged are those who attend the Club, on average, two or more times per week. Engaged members attend, on average, at least once a week, but less than twice a week.
Occasional Attenders attend, on average, less than once a week. In addition to asking questions related to our priority
outcomes, the National Outcomes Survey asks youth about their perceptions of the Club using questions related to the Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development. Responses to these questions are scored
to identify how many members are having an Optimal Club Experience and how many are not.