Module 6: Qualities & Needs of Adolescents

Watch the YouTube video below, entitled “Qualities and Needs of Adolescents and At-Risk Youth,” and then complete the readings and activities that follow.


  • List the needs of adolescents
  • Review testimony about how the ChalleNGe program addressed the needs of at-risk youth

Key Points:

According to Larry Brendtro, an expert on at-risk youth, young people have four basic needs, in addition to physical needs. They are:

  1. Belonging – The need to be accepted and loved by others, rather than be alienated from them. Youth seek to gain the acceptance, attention, and affection of others.
  2. Mastery – The need to be good at something, rather than staying caught in a cycle of failure. Youth
    seek to master their environment and achieve their goals.
  3. Independence – The need to gain control of one’s destiny, rather than be at the mercy of others. Youth seek to control their world and gain the respect of others.
  4. Generosity – The need to give to others, rather than to always be receiving. Youth need to be needed in
    the lives of others, to contribute to someone else’s life and to be worth something to that person or culture.

Beneath all four needs lies the search for meaning. Youth strive to meet their basic needs because they want their lives to have meaning and importance. The drive to meet these needs becomes even more urgent when their environment is unsafe or inadequate.


___ Review the Resources
___ Complete Activities
___ Complete the Module 6 Training Questions



  • Reflect on the basic needs of young people from this lesson. Pick one of those needs and write about how being a Mentor will help meet that need for your Cadet.

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