Youth programs seek to enhance the lives of the youth by meeting their developmental, social, and physical needs. They also help them acquire the competencies they need to succeed as adults. Youth programs in Utah such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah play a part in young people’s lives through mentorship relationships.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah uses an approach that aligns with the changes that transformed the layout and functioning of youth programs in Utah.

The Previous Approach

Early programs regarded children as miniature adults who would naturally incline to poor behavior without close observation and guidance. They would become aggressive, stubborn, idle, and exceedingly sinful leading up to worsening situations.

The sole objective was to keep them from ‘themselves’ and quickly direct them to gainful occupations before it was too late.

The Current Approach of Youth Programs

Youth programs in Utah no longer treat the youth as ‘ticking timebombs that could explode if left unattended.’ The current approach is positive and strength-based. Rather than keeping children from taking up risky behavior, the goal is to develop them and nurture them into happy and healthy adults.

The focus now is to meet the needs and grow the competencies of all youth, not just the seemingly troubled. The care and help offered to meet their needs, and more importantly, helps to unleash their hidden strengths, which keep them from getting into trouble.

There is also a strong belief that youths are products of their communities. The variables the programs now address are community-level rather than individual-level. The youth programs in Utah now mandate community-wide participation and support as the way to achieve their objectives.

Lastly, programs now require the youth’s active participation in the design and implementation of program activities. Youths are now program partners rather than just care recipients.

Youth Programs Today

Youth programs in Utah now focus on helping individuals gain the power to better their lives presently and as adults. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah continues in this pursuit in the hope of helping all youth achieve their potential and receiving the mentorship they deserve.