There are multiple factors that influence the health, wellness, and ultimately successful transition to adulthood of youth today. To improve youth outcomes, one key strategy involves gaining control of young people’s time through Out-of-School-Time settings (OSTs). OSTs, such as Boys & Girls Clubs, offer educational and positive youth development experiences that take place before and after school, on weekends, and/or during summers. In particular, OSTs provide opportunities to engage youth in experiences that allow for participation in organized sports, fitness, recreation, and leisure activities that promote health and wellness.
As one such OST, the core mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America is to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” As promoting health and wellness is a key part of achieving this mission, BGCA contracted CAYCI to conduct a comprehensive review of best practices to promote health overall health in the OST. Available research as well as recommendations from leading institutions (e.g., Centers for Disease Control) were distilled into key strategies that BGCA could implement to further create a culture of wellness and improve the health & physical literacy among participating youth.