Logic Model and Theory of Change
The Game Loft program is based on Positive Youth Development as defined by the national 4-H Program and delineated in “Eight Keys to Positive Youth Development” (University of Michigan). The approach used by The Game Loft is sequenced, uses active learning styles, is focused on social and emotional learning, and is explicit about what we hope to accomplish. This so-called SAFE system is widely recognized as effective in out-of-school time programs. (University of Wisconsin 2008) The program methodology uses games as a “trail of bread crumbs” to lower barriers to access and practice inclusivity. Out of over 400 unique drop-ins over the course of a year, 200 youth are enrolled as members (membership is free). Members are tracked for program outcomes in three stages, modeled on the overall logic model of the program:
Under initial outcomes, we work on basic social competencies under the rubric of “Friends, Food and Safety”;
Under Intermediate outcomes, we work on pro social behaviors organized around “Belonging, Ownership and volunteering”;
Under Long-term outcomes, we focus on “Leadership, Mentoring and Life skills”.
Our Ultimate goals are youth who are Confident, Competent, Caring, Connected and Contributing members of the community. These are known as the 5cs.
The Logic Model shows the relationship between activities and outcomes in both the core program and the special programs.
The special programs are designed to make our outcomes more intentional and to assist young people with academics, work force training and life transitions. They also raise our profile in the community and among donors and supporters. They expand our “service window”, energize our youth, excite our donors and funders and keep our program in the public eye. For funding purposes they are organized into three clusters: Trailblazers, Navigators and Pathfinders each targeted to specific age groups: Trailblazers works on building social competencies; Navigators works on academic competencies and Pathfinders works on life management and transition skills.