Engaging Older Youth: Program and City-Level Strategies to Support-Sustained Participation in Out-of-School Time.
The new report, Engaging Older Youth, examines the program practices and structural features of almost 200 OST programs across six cities, primarily serving low-income youth. Among these programs, providing leadership opportunities to youth participants and having staff members stay informed about their participants outside of programs stand out as two of the most important practices for retention. In addition to identifying key characteristics of OST programs, this study also compares and contrasts the practices that are effective for middle school - versus high school-aged youth, noting that a “one-size-fits-all” strategy does not work well. Engaging Older Youth also details the influence of city-level OST initiatives on programs and identifies the types of city-level services that are likely to support participation Together, these findings can help OST leaders and city initiatives alike to improve their existing recruitment and retention strategies for older youth.