Summer Sport and Life Skills Camps
Summer Sport and Life Skills Camps (4–5 weeks in length) grounded in principles of positive youth development (e.g., caring climate, support for autonomy and competence) and sponsored by the National Youth Sport Program or universities were assessed in 11 studies (8 quantitative, 2 qualitative, 1 mixed methods). Eight studies with quantitative components were classified as weak evidence, with only McDavid, McDonough, Blankenship, and LeBreton classified as moderate evidence . Most studies were single-group, pre-test post-test designs. Of the 2 qualitative studies and 1 mixed methods study, 1 was assessed as having no methodological coherence, while 2 were assessed as partial methodological coherence [26, 27].
Overall, the findings suggest a limited effect of Summer Sport and Life Skills Camps on youth outcomes, with major limitations being short assessment periods and/or a lack of follow-up. In 1 follow-up study, slight increases were reported in assessment scores for those who returned to camp, but the findings did not account for those who did not return . Given that the outcomes assessed could be considered rather stable (e.g., perceptions of competence, hope, self-worth), it is possible that the short intervention and observation phases were not sensitive enough to show possible changes.
One strength of this body of evidence is the use of mediational and moderation analyses to identify key critical factors. For example, establishing a caring climate increased empathic concern , and affective self-regulatory efficacy and empathic self-efficacy helped mediate the link between caring climate and social behaviors . Moreover, leader behavior and perceived leader support were important predictors of child-level outcomes and camp participation in subsequent years [28, 31]. These findings imply that ongoing intervention involvement may enhance outcomes. Ulrich-French and McDonough reported that lower BMI, higher self-worth, and higher intervention attendance were also predictors of ongoing engagement . Finally, findings suggested that the camp interventions were most effective for older children  and those who entered with higher levels of baseline risk . Qualitative findings suggested that summer camp interventions were safe places where relationships were developed . No physical health data were assessed.
Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility
Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility is a professional practice model that has been used for decades by practitioners and scholars, with intentional programming supporting the development of personal and social responsibility in youth. All 17 studies (2 quantitative, 13 qualitative, 2 mixed methods) were designed and conducted by university faculty and/or students. Three of the 4 studies with a quantitative component were judged as having a weak level of evidence, with 1 study  rated as strong evidence. Of the 15 studies with a qualitative component, 6 studies were assessed as having no methodological coherence, 8 studies partial methodological coherence, and 1 study full methodological coherence . Common weaknesses of qualitative studies were a lack of philosophical or theoretical basis to the study, an over-reliance on deductive/confirmatory analyses, and an over-reliance on participant perspectives, without triangulation with other agents in the intervention. Strengths of qualitative studies included multiple sources of data.
Overall, lower-rated qualitative studies reported that participants experienced some development related to the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility levels (e.g., respect, effort, leadership), and the higher-rated qualitative study  identified life skills learned through the intervention including, but not limited to, these levels (e.g., self-belief, courage, responsibility, self-control, self-direction), although the findings were based on participants’ self-reporting. Critical intervention elements that may have enhanced youth outcomes included quality adult-youth relationships, youth leadership, and a youth-centered task-oriented climate [35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42]. Additionally, sustained intervention engagement was perceived to enhance youth development outcomes [36, 38].
While studies often discussed participants transferring skills learned in the intervention to other life domains, actual evidence of transfer was scarce and inconsistent. Hayden et al.  and Cryan and Martinek  reported a transfer effect into classroom settings, while Jacobs  and Wright et al.  reported no group differences for intervention and control participants. Despite the fact that the ultimate goal of the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model is to have participants transfer life skills outside of the intervention, the current evidence base does not support this outcome. Findings did indicate the need to design a curriculum with opportunities to practice life skills within and outside of the intervention context , which may support life skill transfer.
The 1 study with strong evidence  examined an intervention within the context of self-determination theory and goal perspective theory, while targeting moral reasoning. Results showed positive effects on distributive justice reasoning and perceived competence for those in the intervention. Thus, it appears that the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model can yield some desired outcomes; however, a more substantive and theoretically based intervention may need to be used in conjunction with this professional practice model to elicit positive changes in youth development outcomes.
Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization that engages girls in community running interventions designed to build physical, psychological, and social assets. Five published studies and 3 evaluation reports (6 quantitative, 2 mixed methods) were assessed. All 8 studies were rated as weak evidence, with 6 single-group studies and 1 cross-sectional study examining exposure and no exposure to the intervention along with 1 study with a 3-group, quasi-experimental design. For the 2 mixed-methods studies, the qualitative components were assessed as having no methodological coherence.
While pre-post data provided consistent evidence of small, but positive effects for self-esteem and body image satisfaction, these findings were not upheld by multiple-group designs. Pettee Gabriel, DeBate, High, and Racine  found a group x time interaction for self-reported levels of physical activity, with those not exposed and those newly exposed reporting increases in physical activity, while those previously exposed not reporting physical activity increases. More rigorous research should be conducted to examine how changes in physical activity might mediate mental health and wellness-related outcomes. Overall, findings suggested that initial exposure to Girls on the Run likely has the greatest effect and that there may be a ceiling effect for intervention benefit . Social support and the development of self-worth also appear to be important factors in intervention success .
Playworks is a non-profit organization which places trained coaches in schools serving low-income communities, with a focus on providing opportunities for developmentally appropriate physical activity. Two quantitative studies (published across 4 reports [49,50,51,52]), 2 qualitative studies [53, 54], and 1 mixed methods study  assessed the Playworks intervention. Two quantitative studies were rated as strong level of evidence, and the mixed methods study by Massey et al.  was rated as moderate level of evidence. The 2 qualitative studies [53, 54] and the mixed methods study  showed partial coherence, as none discussed their underpinning ontology/epistemology or provided a clear rationale for sampling.
Madsen et al.  reported that with each additional year of exposure to Playworks, youth reported significantly higher scores in physical activity, school participation, problem solving skills, and goal aspirations. While the effects reported were small on a yearly basis, they were clinically meaningful when considered cumulatively (e.g., approximately 1 SD increases in physical activity, meaningful participation, and problem solving across the analysis period). Similarly, other researchers reported higher levels of objectively measured physical activity; higher levels of teacher-reported safety and inclusion both at recess and in school; lower levels of transition difficulties and bullying behaviors; and higher levels of student-reported positive behavior and attention in the classroom [49,50,51]. However, these same researchers reported no differences between Playworks and control schools on several variables (e.g., student perceptions of safety at recess and aggressive behavior at school, teacher-reported classroom behavior, positive youth development, academic performance). Finally, Massey and colleagues reported improved classroom behavior over time for those in the Playworks peer leadership training intervention, and both within and between-group improvements in playground conflict and positive playground interactions . Qualitative data from London et al.  and Massey et al. [54, 55] documented increased recess quality over time, as well as students’ perceptions of an improved recess experience and their own roles as leaders on the playground. Given the quality of the reported evidence, in conjunction with the findings, data suggest that the Playworks intervention facilitates several positive outcomes aligned with public health goals.
The First Tee
The First Tee is a non-profit organization that provides youth with facilities and education interventions designed to foster the development of character and values through golf. Three studies conducted on The First Tee were assessed. One study used a qualitative methodology and was assessed to have partial methodological coherence, while 2 studies used quantitative designs, with 1 rated as weak evidence and the other as moderate evidence.
The qualitative study  identified various life skills that youth perceived to have developed (e.g., ability to meet/greet others, show respect, control emotions), with findings corroborated by a quantitative longitudinal study . Notably, findings implied significant group differences (when controlling for parent education and socioeconomic status) on 5 of 8 life skill transfer domains and 6 of 8 development outcome domains for those with and without exposure. Longitudinal findings also implied that 3 life skills (i.e., meeting/greeting, appreciating diversity, getting help) increased over time and with increased intervention exposure. Brunelle, Danish, and Forneris’ study was more limited in scope, as it only tested outcomes after a 1-week intensive intervention . Results showed short-term improvements in social responsibility and goal knowledge, although no findings were reported on physical health outcomes.
The First Tee findings suggest several potential moderating variables. First, those who entered the intervention with the lowest life skills scores improved the most , suggesting this intervention is effective when targeting the appropriate youth. Additionally, those engaging in community service had more favorable outcomes , suggesting a need to engage youth outside of the intervention. Finally, girls reported greater increases in perspective taking, while those who identified as White reported greater increases in social interests , suggesting a need to better tailor the intervention and outcomes to the unique needs of males, as well as youth from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Overall, while limited, the findings suggested a positive effect on life skills development for youth in The First Tee, with those findings strengthened by the inclusion of multiple-group data, longitudinal data, qualitative data, and first-person reports, as well as the identification of various critical features (e.g., baseline risk, gender, race, engagement outside of the intervention). No physical health data were assessed.
Play It Smart
Study quality and outcomes
Play It Smart is a school-based intervention that promotes social and personal development for student-athletes, with approximately 50 schools still implementing the intervention in various forms. Two studies were assessed, with the intervention founder an author on both articles. The quantitative study was rated as weak evidence, while the qualitative study was assessed as having no methodological coherence despite using data from exit interview forms from 1361 youth. Overall, findings partially support positive youth development and academic outcomes for participants in Play It Smart, although an overall lack of methodological processes and procedures limits the interpretation of the findings. Physical health findings were not reported.
Study quality and outcomes
Two Urban Squash interventions facilitated by non-profit organizations were evaluated. Interventions focused on academic enrichment, sports, mentoring, and community service through after-school and summer programming. Three studies (2 quantitative, 1 qualitative) were assessed. Doctoral dissertations represented the quantitative studies, which were rated as moderate evidence and limited by possible selection bias and high attrition rates. The qualitative study was assessed as having no methodological coherence. Overall, there is inconclusive evidence to suggest that these Urban Squash interventions have a positive impact on academic skills, and physical health findings were not reported.
Coach Across America
Study quality and outcomes
Coach Across America is the flagship intervention of Up2Us Sports, where coaches are trained and supported in their efforts to provide quality sport-based youth development for participants in community-based organizations. Coach Across America was assessed with 2 evaluation reports (1 quantitative, 1 mixed methods). The mixed methods study was rated as moderate level quantitative evidence, with the qualitative component assessed as having no methodological coherence. The quantitative study was rated as weak due to missing data and unclear data collection procedures (e.g., reliability and validity of instruments, blinding). Despite findings suggesting improvements in self-reported physical activity and physical fitness tests and the development of high-impact attributes, the findings should be examined cautiously, given methodological concerns. Better results on youth development outcomes were reported for younger participants and those with higher levels of organizational contact.
Study quality and outcomes
Doc Wayne is a non-profit organization that provides sport-based group therapy interventions for at-risk youth, along with facilitating the use of its sport-based therapeutic curriculum in varied settings. Two quantitative studies (1 published, 1 evaluation report) were rated as weak evidence, although results demonstrated positive trends for those participating in a trauma-informed sports league on participant behavior (e.g., internalizing and externalizing behavior) and levels of emotional regulation. No findings were reported on physical health outcomes.
Study quality and outcomes
Through Sport Hartford (designed for preadolescent females) and Sport Hartford Boys (designed for preadolescent males), sport and physical activity are used to help participants develop their intellectual, social, and physical competencies. Both interventions are designed and conducted by university faculty and/or students. Three qualitative studies were published. One study was assessed as having no methodological coherence, while the other 2 were assessed as having partial methodological coherence. All studies were limited by low participant numbers. Findings suggest that Sport Hartford shows promise but currently lacks efficacy data, along with findings on physical health outcomes. Broader principles ascertained from these studies suggest that interventions need to maintain a sense of fun, provide unique experiences, help youth develop broader life and community outcomes, and create a positive structure that youth can count on for consistency and stability.