NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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More than Just a Game

More than Just a Game“Rush Hour” was the game of choice for my 9-year-old granddaughter when she was at my house last weekend.  “Rush Hour” is a play-by-yourself game of logic and strategy, although she and I sometimes put our heads together to solve the puzzles.  However, she needs my help less and less these days!

The game consists of a grid-lined platform and assorted plastic vehicles to arrange on the grid according to the diagram on any of the 40 different game cards. The cards are labeled as to their level of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, advance and expert.  Always, the goal is to get the red car out of the traffic jam on the grid.

At one point on Saturday afternoon I heard my granddaughter exclaim, “Whew!  I’m an expert!”  Yes indeed, she was solving the puzzles presented on game cards 31-40, which are labeled “Expert.”

“Expert” is a word that reflects having achieved a high level of mastery, and mastery is one of the key concepts in positive youth development.  As I heard and watched my granddaughter working through the game cards at the “expert” level of this logic/strategy game, I marveled at this moment being one piece of one plank of the foundation for my granddaughter’s positive youth development. 

Positive youth development doesn’t just happen.  It is intentional. It is the combination of positive experiences, positive relationships and positive environments, and it is a huge need of kids of all ages.

When life and activities in their family, school, organizations/programs and community include the three components of positive experiences, relationships and environments, youth are more likely to stay engaged and involved.  When that happens, they tend to have more and varied experiences that serve as the foundation of positive youth development for them. 

And then what?  Then we see positive outcomes for the child and his/her family, school, community and society.  These outcomes are known as the five “C’s”: competence, confidence, connection, character and caring. A sixth “C”, contribution, is the culmination of these five outcomes. In other words, they are prepared to be successful, contributing adults in society.

For the sake of our kids, their future and ours, let’s do all we can in our families, schools, organizations, programs, activities, and communities to provide the essentials in terms of positive opportunities, relationships and environments for them. 

When it comes to positive youth development, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  For more information contact me at cindy.klapperich@ndsu.edu.

Based on “Essential Elements for Positive Youth Development,” by Meagan Scott and Chloe Krinke, NDSU Extension YD 1482.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/games-children-child-girl-toys-2801332/ (downloaded 2/9/21)


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