Although researchers and policymakers have focused on school as the critical place in which learning occurs, organized youth programs offer different environments in which early adolescents can learn. However, early adolescent learning in organized youth programs is an under-researched area of learning, which may limit the ability of youth development practitioners to respond appropriately to early adolescent learning needs. The purpose of this article is to describe the experience of learning in an organized youth program by finding meaning in early adolescents’ lived experience through a phenomenological methodology. For youth in this study, learning in an organized program is an experience of discovering new ways of seeing themselves and others in their worlds. Learning is comprised of feelings of anxiety that are tempered with the comfort young people find within themselves. Learning is also a relational experience marked by an emerging sense of ownership that shapes one’s sense of self. This study invites youth development practitioners to recognize the significant role they can play in cultivating early adolescent learning



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.