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• Implementation varied across the multi-site sport-based youth development program.
• Five themes emerged that represented factors that served as facilitators or barriers to programmatic implementation.
• These factors included contextual/environmental, organizational, and program-specific factors.
• Coach and youth factors also emerged as influential implementation factors.
Many positive youth development programs rely on physical activity as a primary program component. Referred to as physical activity-based youth development programs, these program designs have great potential for promoting healthy youth development. This study examined how one such physical activity-based positive youth development program was implemented in order to identify design features critical to maximizing positive youth outcomes. This mixed method, multi-site process evaluation of Girls on the Run (GOTR) utilized focus groups, site visits, and self-report implementation checklists. Implementation scores were calculated to assess implementation fidelity across twenty-nine sites, and qualitative data were inductively analyzed to identify factors influential for implementation. Results reveal variability in how GOTR was implemented. Five themes emerged from the data that represented factors serving as facilitators or barriers to programmatic implementation. These included contextual/environmental factors (e.g., parental involvement, relationships with school personnel), organizational factors (e.g., implementation support and responsiveness of staff), program-specific factors (e.g., curriculum design), coach factors (e.g., existing relationships with participants, responsiveness to participant's needs), and youth factors (e.g., behavioral and discipline issues). Study findings have implications for improving the design of physical activity-based and other positive youth development programs, with relevance to evaluators, program planners, youth development leaders, and others working with children and youth.
Journal: Evaluation and Program Planning - Volume 46, October 2014, Pages 1–9