Youth Development Program (YDP)

This program serves children ages 7-18 with the following developmental delays and disabilities:

Fine to gross motor delays

Speech and/or language delays

Auditory processing/hearing challenges

Interpersonal and/or social communication difficulties

Children’s Beach House (CBH) grants preference for admission to disadvantaged children with high contextual risks such as low family income or other circumstances.

Services are available to all regardless of race, creed, national origin, handicaps, or ability to pay. Referrals to the program come from school professionals, pediatricians, clergy, or parents.

The Youth Development Program is based upon Positive Youth Development, a current research-based theory.

Positive Youth Development is defined as a process which prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences, which help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. (Collaboration for Youth Members)

This asset-based approach seeks to strengthen the time-tested supports that reduce risks and foster resilience in children and youth.

Central to the CBH initiative is the belief that families are the most fundamental factor influencing young people. Therefore, our program directs a great deal of time and energy to cultivating and safeguarding the family unit.

Youth are further supported when given the opportunities to develop relationships with caring, competent adults. Our staff, volunteers, and case managers serve as additional positive adult role models with whom our children can relate.

Lastly, we believe that families are strongest when safe and thriving communities support them. Our program endeavors strengthen the connections among youth, families, and communities. Our case managers work with parents to identify local resources that supply additional support for their families.

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YDP comprises the following two components:

Case management

YDP case managers form the nexus between CBH and the families we serve. Case managers partner with parents to assess the child’s special needs, identify youth and family strengths, and collaboratively develop appropriate strategies. Case managers also interact with camp staff, and volunteers to ensure that CBH activities support the collaborative strategies. When necessary, case managers help families to identify and utilize additional community resources.

Summer and weekend camps

CBH offers camp programs on the Delaware Bay at the Lewes facility. These camps provide a unique experience for children with special needs to explore and learn from our natural environment. The camp is a multi-modal opportunity to extend the goals of the Youth Development Program. Case managers inform the camp’s programming team of individual and group needs, so that the most effective activities are chosen to enhance the participants’ strengths and address their weaknesses.

Daily activities include swimming, sailing, kayaking, arts and crafts, drama, nature, adventures, sports, and campfires. The staff takes teachable moments to model perseverance, listening, teamwork, and appreciation of differences, while creating an environment for learning. The staff modifies activities, so each camper can participate and realize some level of success. They encourage the children to try new experiences, thereby developing self-confidence and cooperation. Progressive sets of activities build on campers’ strengths and involve them in the decision-making processes of program planning and evaluation.

The weekend camps offer campers opportunities to remain connected to their fellow-campers, staff, and volunteers throughout the school year. Special family weekends offer opportunities for families to work as a unit or to share with other families. Family weekends often include parenting workshops or opportunities for parents to share effective strategies, resources and even frustrations with each other. The weekend camps present a safe place in which children and their families may find support and build optimism.

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YDP Outcome Measurement for Program Evaluation

The CBH board of trustees continually evaluates the effectiveness of the program by collecting and analyzing data from children, parents, staff, and volunteers.

Program Outcomes

To support youth as they move through developmental stages to build a set of the following core assets (competencies) that will carry them successfully into adulthood.

  • Social competencies—communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, and collaborative skills
  • Emotional competencies—personal identity, cultural awareness, and self-confidence
  • Moral competencies—personal responsibility, honesty, perseverance, and intrinsic motivation
  • Physical competencies—good health habits (eating, exercise) and hygiene
  • Cognitive competencies—curiosity to learn and strong academic skills
  • Commitment of service to the community and the environment
  • Aesthetic competencies—art and music appreciation

To support families in exerting a positive influence on special-needs youth by emphasizing the following activities.

  • Improving parental knowledge and skills
  • Extending support networks among parents and families
  • Empowering families to advocate for the necessary, effective, and accessible services
  • Promoting access to education or job training within families
  • Engaging families in the CBH program for ownership and involvement

To support communities by supporting the following endeavors

  • Fostering a commitment to community service by engaging youth and families in community projects
  • Encouraging families and youth to voice needs and mobilize community resources
  • Dedicating agency resources to further community goals associated with the CBH mission

Application Process

Pediatricians, school personnel, church leaders, youth workers, or parents themselves may request an application simply by calling either CBH office in Wilmington or Lewes, Delaware. Applications are reviewed in the spring of each year.

CBH extends preference to applicants with low to moderate disabilities and high environmental or contextual risk factors. Case managers often request home or school visits as part of the application assessment. Usually, children are accepted between 7 and 12 years of age to provide service as early and for as long as possible. In rare cases, staff will accept older children when a grave need is presented.


Costs for participating in the YDP program are determined by a sliding scale based on family income and number of individuals within a family. No child or family is turned down for admission to the program due to an inability to pay.

For more information, please contact us today.

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