Earlier this week, the Wallace Foundation and Next Level Strategic Marketing Group released a much anticipated and highly useful report, along with a series of videos, Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts. (There’s even an infographic.)
I suspect I will be referring to this report and its findings for a long time as I help people build new programs and reflect on current work.
Among the highlights:
- Understanding that in choosing afterschool opportunities, teens and ‘tweens are consumers (whether programs are paid-for or free, young people are shopping with their time) and programs need to meet the young people where they are.
- The market research offers some highly actionable insights on what the consumers are looking for (and NOT looking for).
- The success principles for quality programming stress the importance of addressing artistic excellence AND youth development principles — the either/or is a false dichotomy.
- There is strong alignment between what the consumers (young people) say they want in a program and what providers (practitioners, program people) say are the elements of success (safe spaces, opportunities for mastery, sense of belonging, presenting to larger world…).
The title of the report is also pretty great.
I think this is a really terrific contribution to the field. What do you think?