Youth Development Roadmap

Learn how you can support youth development from cradle to career.

Explore the Youth Development Roadmap to learn about key developmental milestones and opportunities to support youth on their journey from birth to career.


birth

Birth

Youth development begins the moment a child is born. All youth need support to help them develop in spirit, mind and body so they are prepared to meet developmental milestones during their unique journey.



Ages 0-4

Ages 0-4

Cognitive

  • Has a caregiver that sings, reads and talks to them
  • Actively explores surroundings
  • Develops basic recognition of letters numbers and shapes
  • Receives effective preschool preparation

Physical

  • Receives quality pre-natal care
  • Achieves basic developmental markers, including crawling, walking and weight gains
  • Has access to lifelong basic dental/health/eye care
  • Has a routine of healthy eating, playing and sleeping

Social/Emotional

  • Forms positive attachment to a caregiver
  • Makes eye contact and responds to social engagement
  • Responds to environmental stimulation

Tip:

Help early readers practice how to differentiate one letter from another and to attach a sound to a letter by providing partner reading or reading aloud.

Supports: Cognitive Development

Program: Camp Readers



Grades K-5

Grades K-5

Cognitive

  • Attends Kindergarten
  • Reads at grade-level by the end of 3rd grade
  • Sets academic expectations of good grades

Physical

  • Has access to healthy foods
  • Masters fine and gross motor skills through activity
  • Learns basic safety habits

Social/Emotional

  • Exhibits a desire to learn
  • Forms positive peer relationships
  • Engages in activities that strengthen social emotional competencies

Tip:

Ensure lunches and snacks provided by the Y are healthy and nutritious. If children bring their own lunch to camp, post reminders about making healthy choices at home.

Supports: Physical Development

Program: Day Camp



Grades 6-8

Grades 6-8

Cognitive

  • Has an expectation of attending college
  • Masters Algebra 1
  • Self-directs part of his/her learning

Physical

  • Self directs healthy eating
  • Is engaged in positive physical activity
  • Establishes resistance to risk-taking activities

Social/Emotional

  • Has a positive non-parent adult mentor
  • Has positive peer influence
  • Participates in leadership-building activities

Tip:

​Have youth think of a question about their world, create a plan and investigate.

Supports: Cognitive Development

Program: STEM



Grades 9-12

Grades 9-12

Cognitive

  • Passes most of his/her classes
  • Masters a “favorite” subject
  • Masters math and/or science

Physical

  • Establishes a peer group that supports healthy habits
  • Engages in activities that promote mental health (service learning, sleeping and faith)

Social/Emotional

  • Develops healthy values including, caring, honesty and responsibility
  • Feels supported by others
  • Feels empowered
  • Connects with community, school and/or church

Tip:

Provide volunteer service opportunities for youth, giving them the chance to interact with community members and give back in a positive way.

Supports: Social-Emotional Development

Program: Year-Round Food Program



After High School

After High School: Four Years

Cognitive

  • Has a financial plan to support post-secondary studies
  • Makes strong connections with a postsecondary institution
  • Has a career plan
  • Transitions into career of choice

Physical

  • Establishes a peer group that supports healthy habits
  • Engage in activities that promote mental health

Social/Emotional

  • Begins working on a career plan
  • Develops time- and stress-management skills

Tip:

Connect career-bound teens with a caring professional who can help them plan for their future.

Supports: Social-Emotional Development

Program: Achievers


Career

 

Career

The development journey continues into adulthood. The support youth receive at the Y is instrumental in helping them realize their potential to be active, engaged, and thriving members of the community.

 

 

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.