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  • Sarah Brunkhorst

QYD Quest — August 31, 2023

QYD – The First Five Years

In 2018, after several years of inception and incubation, the Quality Youth Development Project

was launched by Essex CHIPS (Essex VT). Over the following five years, ten communities in

New England and beyond, began the QYD quest. Four Vermont towns (Stowe, Brattleboro,

Essex, and Middleboro) successfully completed the initial 7 QYD Benchmarks and were

certified as QYD Communities, with funding support from the Vermont Department of Health.

Of the four, Stowe and Brattleboro set their sights on the remaining Benchmarks and each has

since been certified as a 2 STAR QYD Community (each having achieved an 8 the QYD


Since 2018, over 100 teens have been engaged in local QYD efforts with the following results:

  • At least two Benchmarks were achieved in nine of the ten participating communities.

  • Four of the ten participating communities achieved QYD certification.

  • Two local youth conferences were convened.

  • Two new youth centers were started.

  • More than 80 local businesses displayed signage indicating that “Youth Are Welcome” or signage that linked youth to available social services.

  • One Community Youth Council was established.

  • Six of the participating communities documented their investment in youth, through town funding, internship programs, and inviting youth to serve on nonprofit Boards of Directors or local community wide committee.

  • A two-year study by the Center for Rural Development at the University of Vermont validated the effectiveness of QYD as a youth engagement strategy.

  • National QYD was incorporated as a private non-profit organization under the guidelines required by the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

  • Several teens have served on the National QYD Board of Directors and the National QYD Certification Committee.

  • Vermont QYD sought feedback from local QYD Steering Committees, to guide the next phase of QYD Development.

Based upon lessons learned from the UVM Study and input from the local committees, the enhanced QYD strategy for 2023 – 2028 includes the following:

  • There is no longer an initial one-year time limit for the achievement of certification.

  • Local Steering Committees may now suggest alternative indicators for achievement of QYD Benchmarks for consideration and approval by the QYD Certification Committee.

  • Local Steering Committees may now suggest alternative QYD Benchmarks (with proposed indicators), for consideration and approval by the QYD Certification Committee.

  • QYD Certification is now available in all 50 states.

  • Although there is no fee to become certified, there is a Training and Consultation Fee for communities wanting to begin the QYD quest. The fee is based upon community population and local economic factors. National QYD can help the local group identify charitable sources to cover that fee.

Inquiries are now being accepted from teens, schools, libraries, and youth-focused non-profit

and groups that would like their town to be recognized as a QYD Community.

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