Build Capacity for Quality Positive Youth Development by Training Trainers

Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a dynamic field that plays a pivotal role in shaping the lives of young people. Programs that employ a PYD approach strengthen young people’s skills and capacities needed to reach their full potential. To uphold this approach, adults who work with young people need comprehensive training and support. Fortunately, the Forum for Youth Investment’s Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality offers incomparable capacity-building solutions for leaders to deliver this type of professional development across the ecosystems that serve young people.

25 years ago, I had my first immersive training experience with the Youth Work Methods, a series of workshops designed to equip point-of-service staff with effective strategies and practical skills to implement in their programs. I was working in a residential treatment center for youth by day, and volunteering for a community-based LGBTQ support group in the evenings. As part of a community initiative, I was invited to attend a four-day workshop with two colleagues and two young leaders. The experience of attending training sessions on ‘Engaging Youth in Planning’ and ‘Using Questions to Support Youth Voice’ was even more powerful by having the ability to use those skills in real-time with the young people attending the workshop.

Participating in the Youth Work Methods workshops unlocked a toolbox of practices, activities, and strategies that I found I could implement daily in my interactions with young people—a toolbox I continue to draw upon today as a parent of a high schooler and as the Director of Design & Innovation at the Forum for Youth Investment. That’s why I think it’s so helpful that the Forum offers the Youth Work Methods Training of Trainers and the Youth Work Management Training of Trainer workshops, powerful learning experiences that help scale this work, so that all those who work with young people can unlock their own toolbox and effectively use the tools they find there.

“The quality and clarity of the materials and facilitation through them were top tier. Everything was relatable not only to life, but to my work, and I feel equipped with the tools to improve my delivery and set my team up for success.”

Unlocking and Equipping Toolboxes: The Youth Work Methods Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop

The Youth Work Methods TOT workshop is an intensive professional development experience that builds participants’ capacity to unlock and fill the toolboxes of those who work with young people.

Participants gain the skills and confidence to lead 10 Youth Work Methods workshops, focusing on Positive Youth Development (PYD) practices. These encompass practical strategies such as community-building activities, planning and reflection, and active learning. Participants can then disseminate their knowledge within their organizations and communities, training others to apply these practices effectively with young people. This fosters collaborative spaces where youth actively partner with supportive adults, enabling them to take leadership roles in their organizations and communities.

Coaching People to Use the Tools: The Youth Work Management Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop

Effective youth work management is about more than just overseeing programs; it’s about engaging staff in planning for effective use of quality youth development practices and improving those practices over time. The This workshop transforms managers into leaders who can nurture a culture of continuous improvement and quality in their organizations, helping youth workers become more effective and empowered in their roles.

The Youth Work Methods and Youth Work Management TOT workshops provide indispensable tools and resources for professionals in youth-serving fields, preparing leaders to grow the ability of their organization, system, or community to positively impact the settings where adults interact with young people. Leaders who complete our Training of Trainers workshops become certified trainers of our nationally recognized training content. They are well-equipped to inspire, mentor, and support other youth workers, creating a ripple effect that elevates the entire field of youth work.

The Forum typically hosts TOT workshops in the spring and fall of each year. Registration is open for our spring 2024 workshops, set to take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

To be notified when new workshops are scheduled, fill out our TOT interest form. We also work with many networks and organizations who host the TOTs in their communities. To talk with someone about this option, please email us at email us at