What comes with experience? Veteran practitioner experiences in the field of positive youth development through physical activity
Cooper, Jacob William
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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of practitioners and scholars in the field of positive youth development through physical activity (PA-PYD) and gather what they have learned during their experience. The primary investigator conducted interviews with a purposeful sample of 10 expert practitioners (5 men and 5 women) in the field of PA-PYD that met inclusion criteria. Participants had a combined 162 years of experience running or researching 24 different PA-PYD programs that took place in 11 different countries. A semantic thematic analysis was conducted to systemically code, categorize, and distill the shared experiences of the participants. The results were organized into five primary themes according to what was shared: (a.) Participants’ journey (b.) Participants’ values (c.) Key factors to consider in perceivably effective programming, (d.) Common barriers, (e.) Strategies for navigating barriers. Finally, these results were then discussed within the scope of systems theory in an effort to propose strategies and future research directions that might better inform PA-PYD future practitioners that aim to achieve distal outcomes within complex systems.