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ACT for Youth

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 Karen Schantz. For more presentations and articles, see our PYD publications.

PYD Web Series 1: Foundations
Webinar Recording
Edited Transcript

Introducing the Supervisor's PYD Toolkit
Webinar Recording

How is COVID-19 Impacting the Emotional Well-Being of Adolescents?
Webinar Recording

PYD Web Series 2: Positive Youth Outcomes
Webinar Recording

PYD Web Series 3: Youth Voice and Engagement

PYD Web Series 4: Youth Development Programming
Webinar Recording

PYD Web Series 5: Youth Work Ethics
Webinar Recording

Engaging Youth, Not Managing Youth!
Webinar Recording
Behavior Management Techniques

Building Developmental Relationships
Webinar Recording
Simple Interactions
Search Institute: Developmental Relationships Framework
Search Institute: Relationships First
Search Institute: The 4 S's Interview

Building Organizational Support for PYD
Webinar Recording

Hidden Biases
Webinar Recording

Motivation and Goals
Webinar Recording
YouTube: What is Self Determination Theory?

Strengthening Self-Regulation
Webinar Recording
SEL Toolkit: Self-Management
Mindfulness Activities
Character Lab: WOOP

Attention Please!
Webinar Recording

Responding to Hate Language
Webinar Recording
Warm-Up: Human Scavenger Hunt
Diversity Iceberg Activity
Diversity Bingo
Dot Activity

What Do Youth Workers Have to Know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Webinar Recording

Fair Weather Ahead: Coping with Adolescent Stress
Webinar 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.