Youth Development Strategy Table (YDST)

Building & strengthening access to youth development programs across Washington

The Youth Development Strategy Table is a coalition of stakeholders from the public and nonprofit sectors and from the broader community. We’re working to secure long-term commitments from funders and legislators to enable programming that supports the well-being of young people by sustaining early learning gains, improving academic and social-emotional outcomes, and preventing deep-end system involvement.


The youth development field has grown in recognition over the past few decades, but continues to be under-resourced and under-valued as an essential partner to the K12 Education system in Washington State. In 2018, the creation of a Youth Development office was proposed at the, then newly established, Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). However, no office or department is currently responsible for funding and supporting programming for youth in the expanded learning space.

While legislation to solidify a home for youth development was not successful at that time, advocates and partners continue to work towards the shared vision of equitable access to high quality programming for all Washington young people.

School’s Out Washington (SOWA) is the backbone organization for The Youth Development Strategy Table

SOWA’s mission is to ensure equitable access to high-quality, youth development programs across Washington state—especially for low-income youth and youth of color. Through advocacy, professional learning, and grants we have created a foundation of support and expertise that enables and enriches the critical work of youth-serving organizations. We facilitate the The Youth Development Strategy Table through: 

Coordination: SOWA provides the central administrative resources needed to steward and convene members and committees.

Collaboration: The Youth Development Strategy Table is collaboratively owned and governed with dedicated support from SOWA staff.

Celebration: SOWA is committed to honoring and championing the work of youth development programs throughout Washington State. SOWA uses its marketing platform—including social media, email campaigns, and other means of sharing stories—to create and implement advocacy campaigns for the The Youth Development Strategy Table.