CEO: Let's Focus on Asset Development For Kids

Aug 1, 2017, 09:20 AM by Chris Coker

I have three kids, and throughout their lives, I have always wanted to provide the best opportunities for them.

How do you know what programs, opportunities and care provide the best enrichment for your kid?

The YMCA has an entire department at our national offices in Chicago responsible for improving the quality of our programs. That is why you see us change program models and design from time to time. The most recent example of that is with our new program model for swim lessons. They are significantly better than they were before and are probably the best you can find.

A lot of what we do is based on "the developmental assets," which were developed by the Search Institute, based right here in Colorado. The Search Institute has researched the assets a child needs to be successful and then categorized them by age. This list is known as the 40 Developmental Assets.

There are internal and external assets, such as:

Family support: Parent(s) and/or primary caregiver(s) provide the child with high levels of consistent and predictable love, physical care and positive attention in ways that are responsive to the child’s individuality.

Motivation to Mastery: The child responds to new experiences with curiosity and energy, resulting in the pleasure of mastering new learning and skills.

These are two from their early childhood, ages 3-5, chart.

The developmental assets are clear and serve as a checklist of sorts for us as parents. But as parents, you are not alone in helping your child become successful.

At the YMCA of Boulder Valley, we have decided to take all of our programs from age 3 months to 18 years and organize them according to the developmental assets that they fulfill, creating for you a continuum of asset development for your kids.

We all know that an infinitesimal number of our kids will actually get college money for sports, but we still push them in their sport. Why? Because you know there are values and assets to be gained by participating in sports. At the Y, we believe in the power of sports as well. You and the Y are partners in helping kids in this community have as many advantages as possible, so our staff is working on a project to identify what programs will best serve your child's needs. You will be able to look at a guide that we will create and see what programs develop and provide what assets. 

You might say that your 5-year-old needs more help with asset #31 Self-Regulation: The child increasingly can identify, regulate, and control her or his behaviors in healthy ways, using adult support constructively in particularly stressful situations. Our soon-to-be-unveiled Child Watch Plus program specifically supports the development of this asset. This will be a very powerful tool for you to use as a parent or caregiver. 

Literally, as I write this, our staff is working on this project. We are also identifying holes in our program where we are not addressing asset development, and we will create new programs to ensure we are covering the spectrum of assets. We cannot be all things to all people, but we will absolutely fill the gaps where appropriate. 

Look for this in the next couple of months and as always please give us feedback on what your needs are. 


Thank You, 
Chris Coker 
CEO/President of YMCA of Boulder Valley