Youth development is often described as an “emerging field.” Yet youth development principles have long been at the core of community-based youth-serving organizations. In the past 100 years, youth development practice has evolved and there have been advancements in youth development research. This session discusses key trends, major contributions, and core issues that frame the field’s “coming of age.” Guest editors and commentary authors for the volume provide an engaging discussion of the historical context and three themes for the 21st century: the impact of divergent perspectives on youth development, value of translational scholarship, and the importance of leveraging systems support.
This issue of the Journal of Youth Development commemorates the 100th anniversary of many national youth-serving organizations. In ten articles, authors reflect on research trends and influential contributions over time as well as on issues of practice that continue to evolve and challenge the field. The volume concludes with two commentaries about future directions for field building.