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Webinar: Youth and Gangs: Recreational Programs Targeted to Benefit and Protect Our Youth
April 18 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Youth gang membership is a severe national problem. The majority of gang prevention programs emphasize policing, while recreation programs have been conspicuously absent from prevention efforts. We examined the roles of recreation programs in addressing youth’s gang involvement based on 39 in-depth interviews with former gang members and recreation practitioners working with potential/current/previous gang members. The study showed that an absence of safe and adequate recreation resources can push youth to join gangs. Conversely, attractive, affordable/free, cooperative, consistent, mentoring-oriented, and supervised recreation programs that are tailored to the needs of at-risk youth can be instrumental in preventing youth from joining gangs, pulling them away from gangs, and helping them cope with the detrimental impacts of gang involvement. Recreation programs have the capacity to provide youth with needed safe spaces and positive activities as a counterbalance to a life of street crime and deviant leisure. Learn how to advocate for and encourage youth participation in positive recreational activities.