ACT for Youth Center of Excellence

Professional Development for Youth Workers

ACT for Youth is committed to promoting the language of positive youth development (PYD) and integrating core PYD principles into the field of youth work. We aim to enhance the capacity, knowledge, and competencies of adults who work with and for young people, as well as their organizations.

Positive Youth Development 101 Training

The 10-hour training curriculum Positive Youth Development 101 offers an orientation to positive youth development for new youth work professionals. The curriculum includes five sections:
  • Theoretical Foundation of PYD and Adolescent Development
  • Positive Youth Development Outcomes
  • Youth Voice and Engagement
  • Youth Development Programming
  • Youth Worker Competencies

PYD 101 Online Courses

Positive Youth Development (PYD) 101 Online is a series of short, interactive courses intended to introduce PYD to new youth work professionals, volunteers, and advocates. The series can be used independently or to supplement the training curriculum listed above.

PYD Network Webinars

ACT for Youth sponsors occasional webinars for people interested in positive youth development. To be notified of upcoming webinars, contact Jutta Dotterweich. For more presentations and articles, see our PYD publications.

PDFResponding to Hate Language
Narrated PresentationWebinar Recording
PDFWarm-Up: Human Scavenger Hunt
PDFDiversity Iceberg Activity
WordDiversity Bingo
PDFDot Activity

PDFWhat Do Youth Workers Have to Know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Narrated PresentationWebinar Recording

PDFFair Weather Ahead: Coping with Adolescent Stress
Narrated PresentationWebinar Recording

Core Competencies in Youth Work

What does it take to be a good youth worker? On this page, we introduce core competency areas and discuss building expertise through "deliberate practice."

Facilitation Tips

The facilitation and implementation of program activities is essential to the work of youth professionals. Facilitation Tips offers general presentation techniques and tips as well as warm-up activities and energizers.

Teaching Techniques

Common teaching techniques such as brainstorming, small group activities, and role plays are discussed using behavioral checklists and video examples of good and weak facilitation.


On this page, we discuss the internal barriers youth work professionals may face when they seek to reach youth, and ways to become more inclusive and culturally competent.

Self-Care for Youth Work Professionals

Professionals in the field of youth development are often deeply dedicated and personally invested in their work. It is this commitment to others that makes self-care essential for staff. The Self-Care page suggests strategies and links to resources.

Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit

The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approach incorporates many principles of youth development. Originally developed for school settings, SEL focuses on the facilitation and implementation of learning activities and programming, which can be easily transferred into other settings. The SEL Toolkit provides a range of resources, strategies, and tools.