A research article by Clemson University published in the “Journal of Applied Developmental Science” explores Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s leadership program for military-connected youth and their adult advisors.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is proud to share that our Military Teen Ambassador (MTA) Program’s Steering Committee has received a positive evaluation by Clemson University, which was recently published in the “Journal of Applied Developmental Science.”
For over 30 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Armed Services have partnered to provide support and services to military-connected youth on- and off-installation. Because military-connected youth face unique challenges such as frequent relocation and parental deployment, Boys & Girls Clubs of America helps them access specialized opportunities, cultivate lifelong friendships, and develop the necessary resilience to build great futures.
One such opportunity is the Military Teen Ambassador (MTA) Program, where military-connected youth work with their adult advisors to develop leadership skills that support personal growth and community impact. The program includes year-round support of young people, including mentorship opportunities, programmatic engagement via youth-centered activities, a Virtual Military Teen Summit, a national in-person training to bring together youth from Youth Centers globally, and post-training activities to reinforce learnings. Fluor Corporation partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support this program for over a decade.
MTA also includes advanced leadership opportunities through its MTA Steering Committee, a group of teens and advisors from U.S. military installations across the globe who set the structure and strategy for centralized training for all MTA program youth participants and their adult advisors. The Steering Committee members commit to a deeply collaborative year of service, setting programmatic structure and leading training experience for program.
In 2020, Boys & Girls Clubs of America partnered with Clemson University to assess outcomes associated with youth and advisor participation in the MTA Steering Committee. Clemson evaluated two separate years of Steering Committee cohorts to understand adult-to-teen and peer-to-peer impact. The study assessed the influence of participation on leadership skill development, college and career success, youth reception of mentoring from adult mentors, and youth and adult advisor development of effective relationships. An article of study findings was recently published in the “Journal of Applied Development Science.”
The positive evaluation of the MTA Steering Committee states: “While adult advisors and program administrators play a critical role in nurturing teens’ strengths (e.g., providing affirmational and informational support), teens also demonstrate a willingness to engage in leadership roles and work collaboratively with adults (e.g., teaching their peers and embracing shared accountability). In turn, teens’ experiences during the MTA Steering Committee not only elicit positive reactions and fond memories but also foster long-term benefits, reflected through teens’ capacity to apply leadership, social, and intrapersonal personal skills to thrive in community, college, and career settings.”
From rural communities, schools and urban areas, to military installations and on Native lands, a Boys & Girls Club or Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Center can be found in all 50 states and 16 countries worldwide, doing whatever it takes to provide a safe environment to help your child succeed.