The YAFA program has specific aims:
- increased participation and retention of families
- positive development of youth based upon chivalric ideals and building social responsibility and connections
- increased levels of knowledge of members and their families in areas of medieval studies
- developing the next generation of artisans and craftsmen of the society
Core values – The YAFA program also aspires to foster and encourage the seven noble virtues which provide the core values that the YAFA program is based upon. Mentors should consider how these ideals can be incorporated or highlighted in discussions with participants and the projects they complete.
● Courage – Courage is more than bravado or bluster, it is the strength of heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved.
● Justice – Justice is holding oneself to the highest standard of behavior, and knowing that “fudging” on the little rules weakens the fabric of society for everyone.
● Mercy - Words and attitudes can be painful weapons in the modern world, which is why we exercise mercy in dealing with others, creating a sense of peace and community.
● Generosity - Sharing what’s valuable in life means not just giving away material goods, but also time, attention, wisdom, and energy — the things that create a strong, rich and diverse community.
● Faith - In our Society, faith means trust and integrity; one is always faithful to a promise made, no matter how big or small it may be.
● Nobility - Although the word nobility is sometimes confused with entitlement or snobbishness, in our Society it conveys the importance of holding to the other noble virtues at all times, especially when no one else is watching.
● Hope - Hope is present every day in a one’s positive outlook and cheerful demeanor — it is the shining armor that shields him or her from the discouraging and depressing influences of daily life and inspires people all around.
Build positive relationships – The YAFA program is intended to foster positive associations between youth and adults. Youths learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Local group Officers, Peers of the Society, and adult mentors can be positive role models. In many cases, a responsible adult who is willing to listen to youngsters, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.
Service to the Society – The YAFA program encourages involvement in and participation at SCA events. It is at these events that youth can find positive social interaction, be involved in service to the Society and their local branch, and may be recognized for the completion of their achievements. At these events, the skills and activities practiced at home come alive with purpose before the populace.
Achievement with recognition – The YAFA program provides a series of challenges for youths to accomplish through a step – by - step process. Each youth plans their activities and progresses at their own pace as they meet the achievement requirements. The youth is recognized for each achievement, which helps gain self-confidence. The steps in this process of the YAFA program help youths grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others, while gaining understanding of the SCA’s focused time period.
Help youth achieve personal growth – As youths plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. Youths grow as they participate in SCA “community” projects and provide a helpful activity or service for others. The YAFA program also encourages individual participants to tackle large and difficult goals in an organized and achievable manner, building confidence, organizational skills, knowledge, and self-worth. Frequent conferences with Mentors help each youth to determine their growth toward the noble virtues.
Develop leadership - Through fun, adventure, socialization, and challenge, participants will become more confident, resourceful, and responsible persons who can be counted on to do their best even in difficult situations. The YAFA program encourages development of organizational and leadership skills based on the noble virtues, providing youth members an understanding of good judgment, critical thinking, and decision making skills