Examining Differences in Program Quality and Needs Support in two Physical Activity-based In-School Mentoring Programs
Keywords:program quality, basic needs support, mentoring, physical activity, youth programming, mixed-methods
The purpose of this study was to examine program quality and basic needs support across two physical activity-based in-school mentoring programs (one girls’-only, one boys’-only). Twenty-four youth participated in the programs. A mixed-methods approach was used. Program quality was assessed quantitatively from two perspectives: observations conducted by researchers and youth self-report. Needs support was assessed from the youth perspective. Researcher field notes were analyzed qualitatively to further understand the program context. Results revealed a significant difference in observed program quality and from the youth perspective. Significant differences were found related to needs support between programs. Moreover, program quality significantly predicted basic needs support within the girls’ program, but not in the boys’ program. Four themes emerged from the qualitative data: a) supportive environment, b) intentional opportunities for skill-building, c) supported leadership and mentoring opportunities, and d) planned opportunities for youth choice. Practical implications and future research directions are outlined.
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