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Facilitating Programs for Youth: A Training Manual

How can we make our workshops, presentations, and programs for youth more engaging and effective? The Facilitating Programs for Youth curriculum is designed to help youth development professionals and volunteers build their skills and focus on what works for young participants.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the elements of quality facilitation
  • Engage youth with interactive, youth-centered activities
  • Put effective facilitation skills into practice
  • Provide and receive useful feedback

Intended Audience

This curriculum is designed for professionals and volunteers who work directly with youth in late childhood and adolescence in a wide range of educational, recreational, or residential programs. It is especially appropriate for 4-H and community educators and volunteers within the Cornell Cooperative Extension network.

Curriculum Design

Facilitating Programs for Youth is a two-day skill-building workshop covering the following content areas:

  • Effective Facilitation
  • Working with Youth
  • Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Challenging Behaviors
  • Self-Care

Drawing on an experiential learning model, the curriculum uses small and large group activities to allow for active participation, discussion, and reflection, in combination with short lectures, informative handouts, and web-based resources. For the central skill-building activity, each participant gives a brief presentation, assesses their own performance, and takes/gives feedback.



Activity Guide


The Facilitating Programs for Youth curriculum was developed by Heather Wynkoop Beach and past and present members of the ACT for Youth Training and Capacity Building Team. Additional writing and editing by Karen Schantz. Some portions of the curriculum are drawn from ACT for Youth's Positive Youth Development 101 manual. Special thanks go to:

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team
  • Facilitating Programs for Youth pilot participants