Youth Perceptions of the Benefits Received From Participating in a Structured Leisure Activity
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This study examined youth participants in a structured leisure activity and their perceptions regarding the benefits accrued as a result of participation. 4 male and 12 female youth between the ages of 13-16 participated. Data was collected through focus group discussions and analyzed using a thematic analysis. The perceived benefits of participation and the characteristics of the program that caused this accrual were identified. Perceived benefits included improvement in school marks and self-confidence, increased volunteer participation, and the development of prosocial behaviours, social competencies and cognitive skills. Program characteristics included meaningful and supportive relationships, opportunities to build an identity, and involvement in unique learning opportunities. The study was not generalizable to other programs and focused solely on the benefits of participation; not the negative repercussions. It has implications for program design and implementation, and provides support for the need to develop programs that incorporate a positive youth development philosophy.