Sponsored by the National AfterSchool Association, this issue is dedicated to the essential importance of learning and development in the nonschool hours and the need for a community commitment to support and fund these opportunities on behalf of youth today and community leadership in the future. Rethinking out-of-school learning opportunities in ways that better meet the developmental needs of early adolescents, the editors utilize their own recent experiences creating and leading a statewide effort to support community-based and school-linked nonformal learning opportunities for youth. Themes of intentionality, quality, engagement, and youth voice are illustrated with clear lessons learned in the field. The critical issue of the community role and responsibility to provide these opportunities for our nation's youth is fully illuminated. From how to frame an understanding of their experiences to increasing intentionality in their design, the contributors to this issue explore and young people's journeys into community during their non-school hours. This is the 112th volume of the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Youth Development.
Dale A. Blyth is the associate dean for youth development at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Center for 4-H and Community Youth Development and provides statewide leadership for the youth development program area of the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Joyce A. Walker is a professor and community youth development educator at the Center for 4-H and Community Youth Development at the University of Minnesota, where she also gives leadership to the Youth Development Leadership M.Ed. Program in the College of Education and Human Development.