Who We Are

The Youth Development Strategy Table is a coalition focused on building and strengthening access to youth development programs across the State of Washington.

Our coalition members include a broad range of stakeholders from the public and non-profit sectors and from the community working to ensure there is a long term commitment to proving programs that support the well-being of young people: sustaining early learning gains, improving academic, social and emotional outcomes, and preventing deep end system involvement.

The Youth Development Strategy Table (YDST) is led by a Leadership Committee is made up of 12 members from a diverse set of youth development programs and intermediaries including:

  • Dylan Jude Harrell Community Center (Pacific Co.)
  • Arts Corps (King Co.)
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Center (Pierce Co.)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State
  • CIS Central Washington (Yakima Co.)
  • Communities In Schools Washington
  • Foundation for Youth Resiliency and Engagement (FYRE) (Okanogan Co.)
  • Mentor Washington
  • School’s Out Washington
  • Statewide Alliance of YMCAs
  • Washington State University – 4H Extension
  • Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC)

School’s Out Washington provides staffing support to the coalition. Various funders and voluntary member contributions help fund this collaborative effort.

“Participating in the YDST is a valuable opportunity for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest (Spokane). Through the YDST we have expanded our network of peer organizations, gained new insights and ideas, discovered new opportunities for collaboration, and bolstered our collective capacity to influence decision-makers to do the right things for Washington’s youth. YDST is well-organized and committed to making a difference – I am impressed by their effectiveness and encourage other youth development organizations to join us at the table.”

-Kyle West

(BBBS of the Inland Northwest)

What is “youth development?”

Youth development is an intentional, strength-based approach that inclusively engages children and youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is culturally responsive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances young people’s voice and leadership strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing equitable opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support for young people to reach the future they envision.

Youth development programs emphasize the importance of meeting young people where they are physically, academically, socially, and emotionally—to help them build the relationships, competencies, and confidence they need to thrive.

The youth development field includes
3 primary types of programs:

Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs)

Expanded learning programs amplify classroom based instruction, build critical life and career skills, improve academic performance and inspire youth to discover their passions. Afterschool, summer, and out-of-school time programs are other names for ELOs.


Quality mentoring is the presence of a stable consistent adult. These relationships help to support long-term health, social emotional learning and academic outcomes.


Wrap-around Supports focus on assessing and meeting the social, emotional and non-academic barriers of individual students often in partnership with school leadership and staff. It is a collaborative process that integrates student supports by establishing a network of community services and coordinates supports for students directly and by leveraging community partnerships and resources.

Background on the Youth Development Strategy Table

The youth development field has grown in recognition over the past few decades, but continues to be under-resourced and under-valued as an essential partner to the K12 Education system, and as the “older sibling” of the early learning field. In Washington State, no office or department is responsible for funding and supporting programming for youth that complements the school day, sustains the gains from early learning, and helps to prevent system involvement. In 2018, the creation of a Youth Development office was proposed at the then newly created Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). While the legislation was not successful at that time, advocates and partners have been meeting regularly since then to work towards the shared vision of equitable access to high quality youth development programming.

These are the beliefs & principles that guide our work:

  1. Young people deserve culturally and developmentally supportive services, opportunities, and supports to transition successfully to adulthood.
  2. Young people are full of strength and potential to be championed, not problems to be solved.
  3. The relationship between young people and their environment is reciprocal and dynamic.
  4. Young people need to experience connection to family, school, and community.
  5. Young people have both the need and the ability to contribute positively and meaningfully to society.
  6. Youth development programs are critical partners to ensure that children and youth have access to needed supports.

The Youth Development Strategy Table will work collectively to:

  • Advance the most critical goals and priorities in the youth development field.
  • Address the needs of youth experiencing the greatest disparities in educational, health and social emotional outcomes, including youth in foster care, adjudicated and homeless youth.
  • Center our commitment to ending racial inequity and improve outcomes for children of color.
  • Create opportunities for funding for and leadership by community-led organizations.
  • Facilitate cross-sector collaboration (public, private, CBO) and creates efficiencies between sectors to incentivize collaboration.


Membership is open to any organization, agency, or individual that agrees with the Youth Development Strategy Table operating framework and principles. Please feel out the form below to join the email list and learn more about being a member of the YDST.


Supporting efforts to improve access to youth development programming and enhancing the youth development field (not only causes directly connected to the individual or organizational member’s personal or professional interest).

Active communication of Youth Development Strategy Table priorities to members and affiliates as relevant and appropriate.

Members are responsible for governing their own potential conflicts of interest and deciding when it is or is not appropriate to participate and/or engage in subcommittee work, particularly around legislative advocacy.

All members will be required to affirm their continued membership annually.