Before You Worry About Destination Travel Tips

This year folks will be traveling less by car due to the outrageous cost of fuel and thus, they need to get everything in order before they go. If you are planning a road trip to your favorite destination, then you must realize that one wrong turn could easily cost you $20 to 40 in fuel before you figure out what happen. If you are planning on going to a resort or vacation rental, you will need to plan that in advance too, as to not have to drive all the way back into town for your supplies.

Still, before you even start considering all these destination tips or go online to seek out expert travel advice and tips, I’d like you to consider something that you have already been considering; ditching your SUV or Mini-van for an economy car. Now might be the time to buy a new car to take on your summer travels, because new cars do not break down as much and you will save a ton on your fuel costs. May, I be so bold as to recommend a very good book on this subject to you?

“Buying Your Next Car – an easy-to-use, step-by-step guide to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars” by J. Michael White. 1993.

Many times when people buy a car they forget the real costs, such as insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking, etc; the first part of this book helps the purchaser determine their budget and then determine their real needs. The next section talks about dealer tactics, knowing your strengths in negotiation and how to go about shopping as well as determining the seller’s cost, profit points and position.

What to look for when inspecting and test driving the car and how to negotiate the deal you want without giving up your needs. Also there is a section on all the paperwork and your rights as a car buyer and how taking delivery matters in the deal.

After you get a good deal on your new car, you can reward yourself with your summer vacation knowing that the money you save in fuel will make your new car purchase even sweater. Think it through, because vacations can be expensive and you need to play your trips prior to reaching your destination.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Destination Tip – Visit San Francisco on Your Next Vacation

San Francisco is one of the best places to visit for your next vacation, and not just because of the Golden Gate Bridge, or a ride on a World famous trolley car. In fact, there are many great places to see and things to do while you are here, some that many don’t even think about. Many know about the enticement of Fisherman’s Wharf, but there is also Pier 39, just a few blocks away, that has more entertainment value.

There are just as many interesting shops, including the kite store, that is filled with nothing but different kites from all over the world. There are local street performers, and you can even watch the sea lions at the end of the pier.

Another overlooked attraction that San Francisco has to offer is the Exploratorium, located on Lyon Street, just South of the Golden Gate Bridge. This fully interactive museum is housed in The Palace of Fine Arts, a San Francisco Landmark. It has hundreds of interactive exhibits, in all fields of technology, Nature, art and science, and is sure to thrill visitors of any age.

There are many other features of San Francisco that are worth at least one look at. There is the Japanese Tea Garden, Aquarium, and even a large outdoor amphitheater in Golden Gate Park. While visiting the Park, a stop at Children’s Playground is a must if you have kids. There are many large climbing structures, and even a carousel.

Then from there you should travel down to Ocean Beach, and explore the Pacific Shoreline. At the top of the hill, at the end of Geary Street, is the remnants of the old Sutro Bath House, and a chance to watch the sea life at Seal Rock.

Do you want to know about more cool places to visit and some cool ways to get discounts on travel?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Affordable Travel Destination Tips

Your first stop should be at your local travel agent. Ask about special packages to specific destinations that don’t cost an arm and a leg to get to and see the sights. This opens the door to what is sometimes called ‘adventure’ travel. Ever been to the Galapagos Islands? This is an affordable vacation destination, as many travelers are now hearing. Costa Rica, a U.S. territory, is another popular and affordable travel destination. You have no exchange rate to worry about and by going to some of the more out of the way beach locations, you get a better flavor of the culture, enjoying pristine beaches that aren’t overrun with other tourists and at a very attractive price. Give your travel agent the parameters of what you’d like to get out of your vacation, as well as how much you can spend. He or she is going to work very hard to find an affordable travel package that satisfies your objectives and budget.

Do some research on the net, too. Scope out travel destinations you find appealing and try to get a baseline on cost of accommodations. Consider alternative accommodations, such as youth hostels, convents and monasteries (great places to stay, BTW) and residency apartments, sometimes known as ‘efficiencies’. For about the same price as a hotel, you can rent a furnished apartment, with a kitchen, cookware and bedding. It’s obvious you’ll cut your costs by shopping locally and eating at home. Affordable travel plans require flexibility.

Another strategy is to simply throw your wish list out in a Google search. For example, you’ve got a budget of $1000 and would like to get away for 7 days to a beach holiday in Costa Rica. Google it! Something like ‘travel package Costa Rica 6 nights’ ought to get you to a site offering a deal.

Your travel agent is your best ally in finding a good, affordable travel package. The agency makes a commission, but only if you buy the package! After making your own online investigations, see what your travel agent has found. It may be far better than what you were able to find on your own. Especially in difficult economic times, the sharp travel agent’s connections serve your needs well.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Bali Destination Tips For Aussie Travellers

Bali Travel Tips

Seasons/When to go

Anytime is a great time to head to Bali. Dry season, which roughly runs from May to October is the most popular time to visit (with June/July sometimes totally overcrowded). Although during the wet season November to April still has some fantastic weather there is just more chance of rain. Having to sit back and wait for the rain to ease up is a good way to recover as it makes you stay in the one place long enough to soak up your surroundings that you may have strolled past quickly in a normal sunny day. The rainy season doesn’t really stop people enjoying their time in Bali, as any time here is a good time!

Getting cheap flights from Australia to Bali

There are quite a few airlines that can take you to from Oz to Bali. If you can try to avoid the peak times like the Australian school holidays (both secondary and university) and Christmas. June/July is the busiest period. Currently outside of these times you can get return flights into Bali from around $400 in tax, depending on your departure point. Very cheap!

Air Asia Asia’s budget airline. Extremely cheap, all you have to pay for is your food and drinks while onboard. There isn’t any in-flight entertainment although some of the flights can hire you a movie screen where you can watch TV shows and movies on demand.

Jetstar Another cheap option. Both airlines have great service, best to sign up to their websites email list and book when they send out their specials.

Strategic Air – A new full service airline from Perth to Bali, with rates similar to the no frills Jetstar and Air Asia

Check out sites like Jetabroad for cheap deals as well.

Don’t forget to check out qantas.com.au, garuda-indonesia.com, and singaporair.com even those these are known to be a bit more expensive than the no-frills airlines; they still have great specials that will bring them into line with the no-frills airline prices.

Costs

Bali is a very cheap destination, and with the Aussie dollar now buying almost double what it did last year a trip here is usually cheaper than staying within Australia. Depending on the type of traveler you are, you can opt for the 1 star hotels and guest houses to the 5 star and anything in between.

Food is extremely cheap as you can get your classic Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Mee Goreng (fried Noodles) for 20,000 Rupiah a meal (approx AUD$2.20). This usually comes with a couple skewers of meat and a fried egg on top with the rice crackers on the side.

Bintang is the local beer and if you are a beer drinker, a delightful drop. A small Bintang will set you back 8,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$1) and a large Bintang 640ml’s 16,000 rupiah (Approx AUD$2.00). You can find Bintang anywhere from the local 7 eleven store to the markets (just ask the shop owner).

If shopping is your reason to go then Bali is the right choice! Anything from market shopping to retail outlets you will be able to find it here. In the retail outlets all prices are marked but head into the markets and its bargain time. Don’t forget to start off very cheap around 1/3 of the price they first gave you. Just remember that towards the end of the bargain you may only be arguing over a couple of dollars. Remember that bargaining is a custom, a way of laughing and interacting with the locals, it’s a way of life so don’t get mad or treat them like they are ripping you off just keep bargaining till you both agree on a fair price.

Domestic Airlines

If you want to travel around some of the surrounding islands to Bali quickly then flights is your option.

merpati.co.id

lionair.co.id

mandalaair.com

All these airlines are quite cheap; they can be booked online or through a travel agent while you are in Bali.

Getting from Denpassar airport to Kuta/Legian area

After collecting your bags and heading to the exit you will probably face the crowds of people holding signs and taxi drivers ready to pick you up. Just ignore these people and turn right to an isle of small shop windows.

Along this wall is a Taxi shop that sells one way fares for the taxis at 50,000 rupiah (about 6 Aussie dollars). This is the easiest way, as describing your hotel they will then organize a taxi to grab you and take you there. Don’t pay more than 50,000!

Accommodation options

You can get everything from backpacker accommodation to 5 star resorts.

Backpacker guest houses range from AUD$5 per night which normally also come with breakfast. Just make sure that you check out the room before checking in. You want to make sure that the standard is exactly what you’re after. Your $5 in backpacker accommodation will change depending on the area, the further away from the tourist trail the more you will get. In most backpacker accommodation in Bali you will get an en-suite, fan and double bed for your money.

If you’re on a budget but can afford to splurge a little then going with a 3 star is always a good option. There you will usually receive a pool, possibly a swim up bar, en-suite, double room, aircon, breakfast and usually a couple of other things thrown in.

Just remember with all the options, you are never in your hotel as there are so many activities to do during the day. It’s just a bed for the night; you just need to decide what level of luxury you want to sleep in.

Popular 1 star options are scattered around Poppies One and Two, two roads at the heart of Kuta (also the noisiest and most shambolic).

Popular and still cheap 3 Star options around Kuta are places like the Legian Jayakarta, and the infamous Bounty hotel.

Seminyak, up the beach from Kuta, is the more civilized alternative to Kuta/Legian. This area houses some spectacular 5 star hotels, as well as a few decent cheapies and some of the best restraunts on the island. This area is better for families if you feel the need to get away from the bogan/crowd factor in Kuta.

For a good website to look for rooms of all varieties check out asiarooms.com.

Getting around Bali

Taxis are around on every corner and will drive past you as you walk down the street asking if you need a taxi, so these are not hard to find. They are relatively cheap and if you catch the Blue Bird taxis they have a meter. Just make sure you tell them you want a meter before you hop into the taxi.

For the more adventures hiring a Motorcycle or Car is an option. Both are reasonably cheap and you have the freedom of driving wherever you want. The only downfall is the lack of road rules might be hard to navigate. A lot is done from the horn. Just remember its not rude to toot like it is regarded in Australia, it’s just signals to warn the other drivers.

1 toot – “hi I’m here”

2 toots – “move”

The other option is to hire a car with a driver. They are more than happy to drive you around and show you all the tourist destinations.

Beach Destinations

Kuta beach is the most popular and with all the action you can understand why everyone hangs around. You can hire a sun bed with a umbrella and relax while you watch all the action from the hawkers, masseuse to the tourists learning to surf.

If you want some quiet time with a more picturesque beach then heading over to Sanur or Nusa Dua is where you want to go. Only 30min drive from Kuta it’s a nice day trip to get out of the hustle and bustle of Kuta/Legian area.

Nyepi day

Nyepi day is Bali’s day of silence. This is Bali’s first day of the New Year celebrated in March; make sure to check out the coming dates as it changes each year.

The night before Nyepi day the Balinese celebrate by creating huge floats which they parade down the street. These floats seem to look like they are made out of papier-mâché but don’t be fooled into thinking they are like children’s art these have so much detail on them from the long eyelashes to the finger nails. Every inch of their creations have been thought about and well designed. These floats are Ogoh-ogoh which symbolizes the evil spirits which they have to get rid of out of their lives. These floats are tied onto bamboo which is then lifted by the dancers and they dance the floats around to the music. It’s quite incredible watching these huge creations dance around in fluid movements.

The next day is the day of silence, no one is to walk outside and this includes the tourist. Apparently as the story goes, the gods come down on the day of silence, look around Bali and then decide that Bali is inhabitable so they leave.

You cannot leave your hotel so make sure you have chosen one that has a restaurant inside and perhaps rent a DVD player and pick up some DVD’s to watch as if you try to leave the hotel staff will stop you as well as the police on the streets. Some of the hotels even go to lengths to put up black plastic to cover the entrances.

The Balinese love Nyepi day as it’s a day where they travel back home to spend it with their family, like how we spend Christmas.

Off the beaten path

Not really off the beaten trek, but Ubud is definitely worth a look. With awesome arts and crafts to monkey forest its worth the 1 hour drive to get there. You can stay up there with plenty of hotels offering cheap rooms. As you wonder around the town which is situated up in the mountains you will fall in love with the shopping, atmosphere and culture.

Balian is a village an hour or so north from Kuta.. A quiet alternative and more a village than the free for all of Kuta.

Also check out along the relatively new highway on the opposite side of the Island from Kuta. There’s some great surf spots and interesting villages to pass through.

Visas

Australians can get a 30 day visa on arrival which costs US$25 per person. It’s a bit of a myth that you need to have this $25.00 in USD: they will take Aussie dollars and you will get through just as quickly as if you had bothered to get the same in Us dollars before you arrive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Family Summer Vacation Destinations

Where to go seems to be on the minds of everyone planning a summer vacation. The following ideas are tips and hints for summer vacation destination ideas. Whether you like the beach or love the fanciest of resorts, below we have the options for you and your family for a fabulous summer vacation.

Beach-oriented vacation goers will likely love the beaches in Florida. Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, St. Augustine and many others will be wonderful choices for the family in search for the best beach vacation. Miami Beach is a wonderful beach vacation for couples but not recommended for teenagers who love to find trouble.

On the west coast, Malibu and Venice beaches seem to appeal to tourists. However, keep in mind that Venice beach is a bit different at night and many people find that Venice beach isn’t where you want to be when the sun goes down.

If you are looking for another type of family vacation this summer, then consider the dude ranches of Colorado. These vacations offer families the best in family vacation fun. Horseback riding and many other opportunities await the family who wants to explore the great outdoors.

The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulpher Springs, Virginia offers families the opportunity to see a luxurious resort while taking a piece of history into consideration too. The resort is one of the oldest resorts in America and has been the resort many Presidents and famous leaders have chosen to frequent in the past.

In Asheville, North Carolina, the Grove Park Inn is the most luxurious of resorts. Located near the Biltmore House, the Grove Park Inn defines luxury and offers families the opportunity to breathe in the fresh mountain air while staying in the most luxurious accommodations in Western North Carolina.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offers fabulous vacation opportunities for families who love theme parks, water parks and lots of shopping venues. The mountains are a great getaway and with Dollywood and other area attractions, vacationing this summer is easy and affordable for everyone in the family.

Another summer vacation destination tip is to consider going to the Big Apple. Especially around the fourth of July, New York City offers tourists something year round. Washington DC is also an awesome vacation for teens who will be curious about many of the museums and monuments.

Whether your family wants to have a summer vacation by the sea or not, these tips will give you some ideas of where to start. So, make a decision and get busy packing!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

These Are the 6 Best Indicators You Should Know

Every Forex trader knows that you must supplement the information in your charts with a number of technical indicators. Among the indicators commonly used are strength indicators, volatility indicators, trend indicators and cycle indicators. These indicators not only help us determine in which the market is moving, but also when a trend is about to end and we should either exit the trade or, with a good signal, reverse the trade.

The following 6 indicators are the most commonly used among Forex traders:

Stochastic oscillator – The stochastic oscillator helps a trader determine the strength or weakness of a currency by comparing the closing price to a price range over a period of time. When the trader identifies a high stochastic that said currency may be overbought and you should go short or bearish. Conversely, a low stochastic indicates that a currency may be oversold and you should go bullish or long.
Bollinger Bands – Bollinger bands contain the majority of a currency’s price between the bands it displays. Each band has three lines – the lower and upper lines show the price movement and the middle line shows the average price of the currency. When the market is experiencing high volatility, the gap between the lower and upper bands will increase. In you candlestick or bar chart, the currency is considered overbought if a bar/candlestick touches the upper band and oversold if bar/candlestick touches the lower band.
Average Directional Movement (ADX) – ADX is used to determine whether a currency is entering into a new uptrend or a downstrend. The ADX is also used to determine how strong the trend is.
Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) – RSI uses a 0 to 100 scale to indicate the highest and lowest prices over a period of time. When prices of a currency rise over 70 the currency is presumed to be overbought. On the other hand, a price below 30 would most likely indicate that a currency is oversold.
Simple Moving Average (SMA) – The SMA is the average currency price for a given period of time compared to other prices during the same time periods. To illustrate how SMA works, the closing prices over a 7 day period will have a SMA equal to the addition of the previous 7 closing currency prices divided by 7.
Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD) – MACD is another oscillator that shows momentum of a currency as it relates to the two moving averages. As we discussed in previous articles, when the MACD lines cross, that crossing may indicate the start of an uptrend or a downtrend.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Only Level Playing Field in Investing – Options

I learned options late in life, accidentally, trawling the pages of the ancient magazine Exchange and Mart in 1995. A full page article showed how an options trader could work from home, (actually in bed) using prices from the BBC’s teletext, back in the day. A lot has changed, but options have been around for centuries-pre-dating shares, being used for pricing ships’ cargoes. In the 1980s options became exchange traded, and fortunes were made. Warren Buffett is a keen options trader, Nassim Taleb was the most prolific. They are not idiots and neither are you if you have read thus far.

Investing is the word we use for a trade that went wrong! Investing is mostly passive and requires you to be right and/or to tuck your stocks away for decades. With markets hitting new highs and valuations stretched, you have to realise the stock market cannot keep going up. If you are happy with paltry dividends and the certainty that your stock will at some point in the future be worth half what it is today, then read no further. QE is no longer on the table and that is all that has separated stocks from realistic valuations.

So what are options all about? In our world we only trade the FTSE100 options. Why? Because the entire index is unlikely to get arrested for fraud/sexual harassment/bogus accounting/toxic products, and all the other nasties that can destroy a company’s rep in a heartbeat. So FTSE is the underlying on which our derivatives are based. Options are the right to buy or sell the underlying (priced by the exchange at £10 per point cash settled) but NOT the obligation. In the same way as insurance companies collect premiums, however, options can be sold. Did you ever see a poor insurance company? When you get it right, selling options can bring you a monthly income stream of a comfortable 2% per month, consistently. Nothing else comes close.

So who are the buyers of options if everybody sells them? Well that is the biggest part of education, and the reason I have traded profitably since 1999. Yes I have had failures, and panics- but I made nice profits in February while the market dropped 10%, despite being a bit dim! I learned about options from an expensive course and from much of the free training on the internet. A while ago I met a like-minded options trader, he runs the website to which I contribute every week, with a real trade, and general tittle tattle about our world. It’s utterly mind-blowing when you start to understand options and the endless combinations, and 20 or more strategies that we use. I love options trading and I want to reach those with a pot of cash who seek income, and a sensible method with risk management, but who don’t know where to start. We are not just about newbies though-there are insights for all. And… we don’t want your money.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

3 Tips for Short Term Investments

Today’s marketplace is competitive, especially as the traditional system takes a backseat to the global economy. Practices such as international money exchange, offshore investments, and outsourcing opportunities are constantly changing the financial landscape- some for the better, and others for the worse. But there are still opportunities, right?

In the recent past, most of us have turned to financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, to manage our money. However, conventional investment opportunities are becoming outdated as distrust for lending institutions has grown alongside interest rates and bankruptcy filings. So, how do you know who to trust and where to invest your hard-earned money?

While most financial advisors are still pushing long-term investments, short-term are undoubtedly the most sought after- and with good reason. Investing a small amount of money in a short-term investment can produce a high-yield in just a short time, but it can also be a quick “game over” for the unprepared investor. That’s why we’ve prepared a few tips for the short-term investor; a bit of due diligence to help you avoid common mistakes and save you from losing your shirt.

Do Your Homework
An effective investment requires thorough research, including the collection of data concerning the market, the company and/or project you’re investing with, and the feasibility of that company and/or project being successful. Before you dive into an investment opportunity that looks “too good to be true”, remember that sometimes those opportunities are too good to be true.
One way that you can protect your investment is to research the company or project that you’re supporting. Make sure it is a reputable and legal operation, check reviews, and look for fraud alerts on the internet. Once you are sure everything is legit, make sure the opportunity is one that has a high chance of success and you’re on the right track.

Don’t Be a Hero
The global marketplace is crawling with innovative ideas, especially when it comes to technology. Crowdfunding has changed the way people view, find, and support projects however not every innovative project is a success. History repeats itself for a reason and sometimes, trending investments are short-lived.
Be wary of investment opportunities that claim to have a high-return in a short-period of time. They may have the possibility of yielding a high-return, but they also have the possibility of instant bankruptcy for the entrepreneur who has nothing to lose. And, you don’t want your investment listed on the bankruptcy roster.

Follow the Money
Where there is already a steady cash-flow, there is bound to be more. Of course, this is not always true and businesses do occasionally take a turn for the worst, but for the most part, a business with revolving capital and assets is less likely to take a dive. So, if you see a good investment opportunity with a stable company, chances are they are running a short-term campaign for a special project using your investment. This is a win-win situation because they want to fund something that they know will make money while you benefit from their success.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Image Optimization for SEO – Best Practices

Quality content is the key to SEO success. Content doesn’t just mean your text contents. Images must be an integral part of your content strategy. At times, single images can be far more effective than your 1000 word blog post. It also helps you improve blog post quality and performance.

Images, Infographics, Videos and all other multimedia contents on your web page will help you in increasing the user engagement on your site and makes the visitors stay on your site for longer duration which helps in reducing the bounce rate.

Not just adding images to your contents, you should also optimize those images for better SEO performance. Optimization of images must be the one important aspect of your on-page SEO process.

If you are using images in your content, there are many aspects to be considered related to SEO.

Relevancy

Using images doesn’t mean that you should fill up your content with loads of pictures. You should use it only when it is required and also you should use images that are more relevant to your content.

Placement of your images is an another important aspect. It should be placed at a relevant location in your content according to your text content.

Use original images

Originality always helps in improving your user experience and your authority. Usage of original images will be helpful in improving your SEO performance. You can create original images with a graphic designer or you can take your own photographs with a quality camera. It is the reason top White hat SEO companies employ talented graphic designers for creating quality images.

If you are not able to employ an in-house graphic designer or if you are running out of time, you can always use high quality images from the web. But the important factor to be considered is it should be copyright free.

There are many tools available for getting copyright free images without any cost. The most popular ones are Unsplash, Flicker, Freeimages.

Image Size

Images are the main source for damping your site’s speed. And site speed is a crucial factor in your SEO performance. So, you should be extra cautious in using images without compromising your page speed.

It should not also affect your image quality, you should have a correct balance between. You can achieve this by reducing the file size by compression. You can use tools like Photoshop for compression.

File name

Search engine crawlers are visually impaired, it can even interrupt a 5000 word text content, but it cannot interrupt a single image and what the image is about. It is the reason using a keyword rich file names for your images is an important aspect in image optimization.

Google bots and other search engine crawlers can read your image’s file name and if it is named with your target keyword, it gives a signal to search engines about the image topic and thus helps your SEO performance.

For example, if your image is related to selling sports shoes, rather than using the file name as “IMG_89868″ you can use it as “Black_Tennis_Shoes”.

Alt text

Similar to the file name, search engines can read Alt text of the images. Alt text is known as “Aleternative Text”, is an HTML attribute used to describe the content of images.

You should use Alt text which is relevant to your images and it should be clear and descriptive. You can use your target keywords in the Alt text but be cautious about Keyword stuffing.

If you are not focusing on Image optimization, you are missing a huge opportunity in improving your SEO performance. You can use above mentioned best practices in your on-page optimization process.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Best Support And Opportunities For All Youth

American youth currently face challenging realities along their way to adulthood. With parents working longer hours and the absence of grandparents and other community adults who used to make up support systems, the intergenerational fabric of community has been frayed. Youth development strategies aim to reweave community fabric in a new way – one that takes the supports and opportunities young people should have, and re-institutes them in the context of young people’s realities today. While many of these realities are harsh ones, we know that young people themselves want to be involved in their communities. The importance of building positive youth/adult partnerships in this process cannot be stressed enough.

The mobilization effort is based on influencing three critical elements: information, attitudes, involvement. The transformation of each of these areas, both in the public and private domains, is a necessary condition for change. For example, in the area of information, the country is currently focused on collecting primarily negative youth information, e.g., teenage births, dropouts, and juvenile arrest rate. Inspiring a 180 degree shift, we need to collect information such as: average number of hours youth participate in after-school activities, computer to youth ratio in non-school hours, and the percentage of youth who hold part-time jobs. The three elements are intertwined, for how information is gathered and communicated impacts attitudes as well as how and if people choose to become involved.

Only through broad community commitment, strong public will, and diverse partnerships can youth development take root, go to scale, and be sustained over time. Ultimately, the mobilization must be supported by partnerships among all of the systems in a community that affect young people (i.e., education, corporations, health care, juvenile justice, religious groups, and recreation). To build these relationships and establish youth development infrastructures to improve developmental paths of adolescents will take at least 10 years.

Localities currently spending their resources on efforts to “fix youth” will need to pool, redirect, and increase their financial commitment to youth development. These additional dollars will ensure all youth equal access to supports and opportunities, especially youth living in economically distressed areas.

Our information on the services young people need, and use, is still hit or miss. Communities do not know what they have or what they need. They usually have no way to tell how well services are being used and what services need to be improved.

Good information is important for youth services for exactly the same reasons it is important for everything else. Accurate, accessible standardized information lets people find the services they need and use them effectively. It lets communities manage, evaluate and improve their services and determine the need for changing them, eliminating them, or developing new ones.

Many national efforts to measure outcomes presently use deficit-driven indicators to assess young people’s condition in society, such as teen pregnancy rates, juvenile crime numbers, and percentages of high school dropouts. Although these measures are important, they do not tell the whole story about young people’s experiences. Measures that reflect positive conditions and experiences of young people are also important.

The accelerated trend of the past decade toward empowering our nation’s young people to succeed has fostered a new awareness and commitment to this most valuable resource. Some basic questions are:

- How much do we currently spend?

- How much should we spend?

Some progress has been made through new initiatives in education finance reform and services integration, providing more effective delivery of social, health and educational services for children and youth from the classroom up to the government. This document establishes an initial framework and formula for assessing the financial resources and mechanisms necessary to move American society closer to this ideal. The following were found to be potential root causes of these trends in spending:

- Devaluation of adolescents.

- Lack of consensus on youth development.

- Lack of adequate and protected funding. Funds are not protected and dedicated in the manner necessary to sustain the long-term, comprehensive process that is youth development.

We can support the move toward the ideal by:

- Seeking new types of information.

- Building on the after-school momentum.

- Making a sustainable public investment.

Youth development is an investment that must be made by each sector of the wider community – public and private. Examination of the federal-state matching, local dedicated taxes an incentives for business and philanthropy could lead to models for providing adequate and sustainable funding for youth development. National intermediaries must work to cultivate this leadership at all levels of government, and at the grassroots, by creating constituencies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off