Faith Formation Programs - Open to All Youth, both boys and girls!

Building Assets In Youth Through Faith Formation Programs

When children participate in a religious award program, they know that when they complete all the requirements they will receive an award. What they may not know is that they will also have received a great number of "assets".

Developmental assets, as defined by Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota, are the positive things that young people need in order to grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible adults. Research has shown that the more assets young people have, the more likely they are to engage in positive behaviors (i.e. volunteering or doing well in school) and the less likely they will engage in at-risk behaviors (alcohol use or violence). These 40 developmental assets fall into eight different categories: support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity.

Religious awards programs are uniquely designed to build assets in children and youth. Of course, the primary goal of religious awards is to help children grow stronger in faith, but a secondary goal is to help families and faith communities build assets in children.

When young people work alongside counselors, mentors, and religious leaders, and when parents are encouraged to share their faith with their children, the religious awards programs are helping provide the support mechanisms in their lives.

When young people design service projects for their congregations and take active roles in reaching out to their communities, the religious awards programs are contributing to youth empowerment.

When counselors, mentors, religious leaders, and scouting leaders have high expectations for young people and take the opportunity to talk about respect, obedience, and not only how people should behave but why, the religious awards programs are helping instill boundaries and expectations.

When young people do independent work at home, attend worship services and youth group, and do volunteer service projects for their community, the religious awards programs are helping them make constructive use of time.

When young people are motivated to earn an award, the religious awards programs are strengthening their commitment to learning.

When young people articulate their faith and embrace the values of honesty, responsibility, and restraint, the religious awards programs are nurturing positive values.

When young people talk about choices and learn how their faith impacts their choices, the religious awards programs are improving their social competencies.

When young people are brought up within a faith community and are valued members of that faith community, the religious awards programs are strengthening their positive identity.

The religious awards programs are excellent tools to help young people connect the values that they learn in Scouting with the values taught by their faith community. They are also tools that congregations can use to help build assets in children and youth. Take the time to learn about the religious awards programs. Your children and young people will benefit!