This report summarizes the proceedings of a conference held at the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton, Virginia, October 5-7, 2009, that brought together 35 leaders and practitioners from the youth development and relationship education fields to discuss the needs of disadvantaged youth and the capacity of the field to deliver relationship education to this population. Key themes from the conference are discussed and include: relationship education is essential and youth leaders and practitioners broadly agreed that the need for relationship education in youth work is apparent; relationship education is a development strategy and healthy intimate partner relationships can have a positive impact on young people's lives; relationship education is focused on skill building, interpersonal skills, safety, knowing oneself, and setting the stage for healthy marriage; youth should have a holistic understanding of relationship education, recognizing both benefits and challenges; relationship education is not just an outcome and youth development professionals can model healthy relationships as well as teach relationship skills; relationship education may be delivered as a curriculum and through an experiential learning model, and these strategies may be stand-alone programs or integrated into the spectrum of youth development services; and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to delivering relationship education to youth, the content and service delivery method must resonate with the youth you are trying to reach. Implications of the themes for practice and next steps are discussed.
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Relationships Matter: Strengthening Vulnerable Youth. Proceedings Summary.