After taking the assessment and planning for behavior support policies, the next step is to implement policies, practices and programs that contribute to a culture that supports behavior. The tools outlined below are a combination of new, and familiar BGCA resources. Behavior support is an ongoing process that requires continued engagement from Youth Development Professionals at all levels. Each of the tools referenced helps contribute to creating a Club or Youth Center experience that supports and responds to behavior in ways that establishes emotional safety and builds social-emotional skills.
Equity & Inclusion
Equity and inclusion are core components of building a Club or Youth Center environment that supports youth behavior. In order to fulfil our mission, Clubs and Youth Centers must create safe, positive and inclusive environments for youth of every race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, religion or cultural belief. When we create inclusive environments at our Clubs and Youth Centers, we ensures that youth feel safe, represented, and accepted by the Club community, and able to participate in meaningful ways. This feeling of emotional safety and sense of belonging supports positive behavior.
Youth Development Professionals are our most valuable resource when it comes to supporting youth behavior. Youth attend Clubs and Youth Centers for the safe and supportive relationships they form with the people there. They continually look to staff for guidance, expectations, and feedback on their actions. Invest in providing ongoing staff training and development opportunities so that staff can respond with confidence and understanding to youth behaviors.
Behavior support starts with meeting the physical and emotional safety needs of youth and staff. When youth don’t feel safe, they are often unable to make decisions using logic and instead react based on their emotions. It is important that youth feel seen, heard, and validated in their identities, feelings, and ideas.
Equity & Inclusion
Equity and inclusion are essential when developing Club or Youth Center policies, but must also be a part of everyday staff practices. These resources support Club professionals in developing an equitable and inclusive Club environment that supports and affirms youth’s identities, cultural backgrounds, and beliefs.
When it comes to behavior, gathering meaningful information from caregivers is critical to responding to youth in ways that value their family and culture. Culture plays a central role in establishing social norms, which in large part determine our ideas of acceptable and unacceptable actions. It is important to gather information and build relationships with caregivers to better understand and support youth behavior.
Supporting Positive Behavior
Responding to Concerning Behavior
Responding to Unsafe Behavior
Structure & Routines
Establishing structures and routines with youth is essential to creating a culture that supports youth behavior. Structures and routines lay the foundation for a safe environment that supports young people. They provide both youth and staff with a clear understanding of what can be expected at the Club. When youth know what to expect, and the routine for engaging in various Club activities is clear, it’s easier for youth to demonstrate positive behavior.
Social-Emotional Skill Building
Social-emotional skill building promotes positive behavior by enhancing a youth’s ability to regulate their emotions when facing challenging situations, express their needs to others, maintain healthy relationships with staff and peers, and make responsible decisions when faced with a challenge.
BGCA offers both social emotional (SE) targeted skill building curriculum, as well as SE integrated skill building into all newly released targeted programs.
Mental health is a component of overall wellness that focuses on youth’s thoughts, feelings, and their behaviors. Sometimes youth may need additional support to help them be successful at your Club or Youth Center. This may include targeted programming to help them build skills or referrals to external agencies.