The latter component emerged as critically important in a 2004–05 research effort conducted by the Search Institute and BGCA to identify quality strategies and practices that Clubs use to promote the positive, healthy development of youth. The findings showed that Clubs have the potential to increase their impact on young people when they make concerted efforts to implement five key elements in their operations.
These Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development are:
- A Safe, Positive Environment
- Supportive Relationships
- Opportunities and Expectations
Subsequent research conducted for BGCA highlighted the importance of regular attendance for achieving impact. A 30-month study published in 2009 found that youth were more likely to demonstrate greater positive outcomes related to Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles when they attended the Club at least 52 times per year. The positive effects were even greater when they attended 104 times per year.