Youth development professionals are interested in how to attract and retain participants in after-school programs. In open-ended interviews and a focus group, seven adolescents in an urban after-school youth development program provided rich descriptive data regarding their participation and potential barriers. There were many reasons why adolescents joined and continued to participate. Themes of caring adults, homework assistance, program environment, program opportunities, fun, learning, friends, character development, and life skills emerged from the data. Although these themes are consistent with those from past research, the process of soliciting youth input is itself important. Implications for youth programs are discussed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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