Positive youth development: Minority male participation in a sport-based afterschool program in an Urban environment


Purpose As there is little research that investigates the experiences of minority boys participating in youth development programs (Fashola, 2003), the current research focused on a sport-based youth development program for early adolescent Black and Latino boys in Hartford, CT. Specifically, the present study explored (a) what attracted minority boys to participate in youth development programs, (b) what kept them involved, and (c) whether their involvement translated into positive developmental outcomes. Method The study used semistructured individual interviews to collect data from 8 participants and their parents. The research team deductively coded interviews in accordance with the a-priori framework of the Five Cs and Sixth C of youth development (i.e., competence, character, caring, confidence, connection, and contribution; Roth & Brooks-Gunn, 2003). In addition, interviews were deductively coded to investigate why participants became involved in the program and why they continued participation. Results Findings from the study indicated that participants became involved with the Sport Hartford Boys (SHB) program mainly due to its emphasis on sport-related activities. Moreover, findings related to the youths' continued involvement revealed their value for the SHB program as a safe place that kept them out of trouble and provided experiences that led to positive personal development. Furthermore, results indicated that participation in the program facilitated the development of each "C" of youth development. Conclusion By promoting positive relationships and providing opportunities for self-exploration in a safe and trusting environment, afterschool programs can cultivate positive youth development in minority boys, at least in the short term. Copyright © AAHPERD.

Publication Title

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport