Exploring Belonging in Youth Aged 8-12

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Ewart, Erin
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Few studies have attempted to explore the area of belonging as experienced by youth aged 8-12. This qualitative research study used a case study methodology to explore the experiences of eight youth aged 8-12 attending an after-school program run by the Boys & Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria. Data was collected through two focus groups: one with the staff of the program and one with the youth. The data was then analyzed as part of an in-depth data analysis process. Four themes emerged from this process: lack of choice, community, inclusion and connection. These themes are discussed along with the strengths and limitations of the study and the implications for practitioners. Implications for practitioners include: allowing youth a role in the construction of their program, creating a sense of connection and community, having adult staff who actively engage with youth and appreciating the benefit of routine.
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