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SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Youth Ages 12-14



Authors as Published

Jeremy Johnson, Associate Specialist for Volunteer Development for Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech

While young people learn at their own rate and in their own way, they typically share some common characteristics during certain stages of development. It’s important to consider those characteristics as you begin planning learning activities for your club.

Ages 12-14

Characteristics of Age Group Implications for SPIN Clubs
  • Grow in spurts. Typically, girls mature faster than boys.
  • Be sensitive to the fact that they maybe uncomfortable with their changing bodies. Avoid drawing attention to the changes.
  • Are entering puberty and may begin to experience the emotional and physical effects of changing hormones.
  • Be prepared for the range of emotions and drama that the physical changes can bring. Listen and offer support as needed.
  • Are self-conscious about their changing bodies which can lead to low self-esteem.
  • Be accepting of their feelings and insecurities; provide support and encouragement; pair them with supportive peers. Avoid comparisons or pointing individuals out in front of others.
  • Want to be liked by their friends; the opinions of their friends are more important than adults’.
  • Provide opportunities for them to work with friends in the group.
  • Desire a sense of independence; they explore and test their identities through clothing, new friends, music, and entertainment; but, they still want and need the help of adults.
  • Allow youth to experiment with the work they are doing. Provide suggestions, but allow them to make the final decision. That may mean helping them to learn from mistakes.
  • Want more responsibility.
  • Provide opportunities that allow them to learn and develop responsible behavior.

Adapted with permission from University of Illinois Cooperative Extension
*18 U.S.C. 707

Produced by Communications and Marketing, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016

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Publication Date

September 1, 2022