IMPACT: The influence of Junior Coaches

We are so honoured when researchers use our programs to advance knowledge about children in this country! The purpose of Majidullah Shaikh and Tanya Forneris’ study was to explore youth leaders' involvement and influence on younger program participants in a physical-activity-based positive youth development program. The program they choose to use was the Start2Finish Junior Coach program within the Running & Reading Clubs.

The case study was conducted where 16 youth leaders and 15 program participants from four of our Running & Reading Clubs. They participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews regarding their program experiences. From the analysis five themes were identified:

  • A learning and building skills

  • Receiving support

  • Enjoyment

  • Relatability

  • Challenges faced

Program participants shared several ways in which the youth leaders they interacted with had a positive influence on their personal experi- ences. The youth leaders’ perceptions largely aligned with those of the program participants. Conclusions: This study provides insight into the value that youth leaders can bring to youth programming.

The conclusion of the study was that it helped to provide a greater understanding of how the influences of youth leadership are perceived within the junior coach program. There appear to be several benefits that result from creating meaningful leadership roles for youth. The researchers recommended that those working in the field of programming for at-risk youth begin to create meaningful leadership opportunities in programming like Star2Finish does with the Junior Coach program. These opportunities and the associated training would help further empower at-risk youth and provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in their futures!

To read the study from Majidullah Shaikh and Tanya Forneris, click the button below

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