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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Participation in out-of-school time programs is a key ingredient to achieving positive outcomes for young people. Harvard Family Research Project was asked by Plus Time New Hampshire to present its latest research on participation at Plus Time's 3-day training institute in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, July 27–29, 2004. Priscilla Little presented the two workshops, which provided overviews of key participation challenges: collecting meaningful attendance data and attracting and sustaining youth participation in OST programs. Both presentations were followed by facilitated discussions about how to use the information presented to inform and improve program practice.

Workshop 1
Attendance in out-of-school time programs is generally recorded in two categories: those who participate in OST activities and those who do not participate. However, measuring attendance in such global terms glosses over critical information about how often youth attended activities—intensity (how many years they have participated), duration, and breadth (whether they have participated in one or several activities). This workshop provided an overview of how evaluators have measured and used these more nuanced ways of tracking attendance to understand program outcomes and to improve programs. Participants were asked to work with their own raw data to look for patterns and determine how they would like to use it for program improvement.

Workshop 2
This workshop provided an overview of 10 research-derived strategies for attracting and sustaining youth in out-of-school time programs. Participants were asked to reflect on their own recruitment and retention practices and examine their current participants in light of their program goals and target population to develop a recruitment and retention plan that ensures the youth most in need of out-of-school time program experiences are the youth that are participating in their programs.

Free. Available online only.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project