Youth who take part in Spy Hop's core programs in video, audio, and music production and design benefit from access to professional-grade facilities and technology. With the support of mentors who are professionals in their chosen discipline, Spy Hop youth collaborate with their peers to produce high-quality media works for authentic audiences. In the process, they learn critical skills that prepare them for college and careers. But just as importantly, they develop meaningful relationships with each other and with caring adults — and they learn how to become engaged and empowered citizens in their communities. They discover that they have a voice in shaping public attitudes and opinions.
Spy Hop's programs have a tremendous impact on the youth who take part in them, but also the community as a whole. In our study of Spy Hop's core programs during 2016-17, Convergence Design Lab observed that youth participants became more adept at thinking creatively and expressing themselves through media arts. They gained future-ready skills such as communication, collaboration, problem solving, and planning for success. And they developed meaningful, cross-cultural connections. What's more, as Spy Hop participants amplified their voices through digital media creation, audiences gained new perspectives they didn't have before. The entirecommunity benefited from the civic engagement of Spy Hop youth. These outcomes can be traced back to Spy Hop's exemplary approach to youth development, called the Spy Hop Way — as we will detail in the pages that follow.