USU Extension Creates Fun Programs To Aid Youth Development

Jan 19, 2021

  Kailey Foster: To help promote positive youth development USU Extension has created the Hidden Gems Project for families at home. Weber County Extension professor who focuses on healthy relationships Naomi Brower joins me today to talk about this project.

First, can you explain what the Hidden Gems Project is?

Naomi Brower: Well, the Hidden Gems Family Fun at Home Adventure Guides is a free resource created to help to strengthen families through having fun together and also focusing on some aspects of positive youth development. We have also made an effort to provide activities that appeal to a wide range of ages and work for different family dynamics.

KF: So, you talk about these programs focusing on positive youth development- what does that refer to and, why is this important?

NB- So positive youth development is all the skills, attributes, and traits that youth need to become healthy, caring, competent, contributing members of society. Each guide incorporates one of those qualities such as competence, boundaries, or service, etc.

In addition to learning certain skills- perhaps even more importantly, the guides focus on family connections. This is important because research has shown that children who spend time with their families have fewer behavioral problems, fewer substance and delinquency issues, and better academic outcomes. They often feel happier and more fulfilled.

KF: Can you describe an activity that parents can do with their children?

NB: Sure. So, in one of the guides- the superhero training, family members create superhero identities. They can randomly select strengths and weaknesses to use throughout the rest of the activities. For example, during an obstacle course, family members might try to distract the person from going through the obstacles using that person's superhero weakness. And the person going through the obstacle course could then use their strengths to overcome those distractions.

Then, after all the activities there are questions to help families discuss what happened, how they felt about it, how they can apply it to everyday life-often tying in that positive youth development aspect of the guide.

KF: And finally, where can our viewers go to get more information?

NB: You can go to hiddengems.usu.edu. And once clicking on one of the guides that you're interested in. You'll fill out a brief information form so that we can follow up with you. And then you'll get the guides. There are currently five you can download, and we'll be getting more on there shortly.