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Strong Directors-Skilled Staff

Guide to Using the Core Competencies

This handbook describes a major city youth service agency’s conclusions about the key skills needed by afterschool workers, and offers tools to develop these skills.
February 2013
A black female instructor sitting with a young black female student, writing on a paper
  • Author(s)
  • Marta Gredler, Ellen Gannett, and Jan Gallagher
  • Publisher(s)
  • New York City Department of Youth & Community and The National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women
Page Count 31 pages


This handbook, developed for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, outlines key skills—core competencies—needed by afterschool program directors and those they supervise. For directors, those competencies include adopting a systematic approach to ensure that all staff members consistently embrace positive child and youth development practices; leading and managing change; and advocating on behalf of the program, its participants and staff. For staff, competencies include knowing the principles and practices of child and youth development; promoting an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful environment that embraces diversity; and effectively implementing curricula and program activities.

The handbook also offers guidance and tools for developing these core competencies, including questionnaires managers and youth workers can use to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The handbook was developed for the department by Wellesley College’s National Institute on Out-of-School Time, drawing on field efforts and research.

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