The Five C’s of Youth Development

Welcome to the first Mentor Minute of 2020! We are excited to start a new decade of mentoring the next generation together. Our hope is to continue to give you great weekly mentor training that’s both encouraging and empowering for you as a mentor.

This month, our focus will be on key character qualities that we can look to build into our students in 2020. Youth development researchers have come up with five key qualities that have proven to be essential for youth to develop in order to grow up into healthy and successful adults. These qualities are known as “The Five C’s of Youth Development,” and include: competence, confidence, connection, character, and compassion. The challenge for us as mentors is, how do we build these kind of qualities into our students? Before we answer the “how” question, let’s start with asking the “what” question. As in, what exactly are these qualities?

Competence: having a positive view of one’s skills and abilities (including social, academic, cognitive, personal, and vocational)

Confidence: having a strong internal sense of self-worth, identity, and belief in the future.

Connection: having positive bonds with people and institutions (including peers, family, school, and community) that provide a sense of membership, safety, and belonging.

Character: recognizing the rules of society and culture, and having a sense of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, personal values, spirituality, and integrity.

Caring and Compassion: having a sense of sympathy and empathy for others, leading to a desire to help or serve them.

Next week, we’ll start to answer the “how” question for each of these qualities. Until then, take a minute to think about which of these character qualities might represent areas of strength for your student, and which ones might represent areas of growth.

–Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach