Circle of Courage®
Age group: Not age specific
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous
Topic: Gang and/or related criminal activities; Social development
Setting: Rural/remote area; Urban area; Community-based setting; Residential/home; School-based
Location: Manitoba; Saskatchewan
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 3 or more
Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention
The Circle of Courage®Footnote1 is an approach of youth empowerment that integrates the best of Western educational, Indigenous cultures and emerging research on positive youth development. This approach is graphically represented by a circle – the medicine wheel – that is divided into quadrants which correspond to the four core values: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The central theme of this approach is that a set of shared values must exist in any community to create environments that ultimately benefit all.
The crime issues and risk factors addressed by the program vary depending on the context in which it is implemented; for this program, youth gangs/gang-related activities have been addressed in certain implementation sites.
This approach is centered on community mobilization; conflict resolution; job employment; leadership and youth development; skills training; and social emotional learning.
The main goals of Circle of Courage® are to:
- Develop positive relationships and experiences that protect young people from negative influences and behaviours; and,
- Help young people develop belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.
Because the Circle of Courage® is based on universal needs, it applies with any population.
Circle of Courage® is a strengths-based approach which consists of a circle – the medicine wheel – that is divided into quadrants. The circle is sacred and suggests that there is an interconnectedness of life. Each quadrant stands for a central value: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. While the four dimensions of the Circle of Courage® can be described individually, they must be viewed as one.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
- Partnerships: There is no clear indication but as this approach emphases the importance of having a comprehensive and holistic approach, the more family, school and community members that are involved together, the better it is for youth.
- Training and technical assistance: The Circle of Courage® has piloted an innovative Response Ability Pathways® – or simply RAP – curriculum which offers “basic training” for all who deal with challenging children and youth. RAP provides essential strengths-based strategies for all who deal with young persons in family, school, or the community.
- Risk assessment tools: For information about risk assessment tools used by various adaptations of the Circle of Courage® approach, consult the specific program descriptive sheets.
- Materials & resources: For more information about the four values of the Circle of Courage®, consult the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future by L. Brendtro, S. Vanbockern & M. Brokenleg (2002).
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
In total, from 2007 to 2012, 3 organizations were supported by Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy to implement a program based on the Circle of Courage®.
For more information about these local adaptations, refer to the specific program descriptive sheets.
Programs are listed alphabetically:Footnote2
- Regina Anti-Gang Services (RAGS) (North Central Community Association Regina Anti-Gang Services – RAGS) (Saskatchewan) (2007-2012) (process and outcome evaluation completed)
- Winnipeg YGPF Project - Circle of Courage® (Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc.) (Manitoba) (2007-2011) (process and outcome evaluation completed)
- Youth Alliance Against Gang Violence (YAAGV) (PA Outreach Program Inc.) (Saskatchewan) (2007-2012) (process and outcome evaluation completed)
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
For main findings pertaining to particular adaptations of the Circle of Courage®, consult the specific program descriptive sheets.
For the cost information pertaining to particular adaptations of the Circle of Courage®, consult the specific program descriptive sheets.
For references pertaining to particular adaptations of the Circle of Courage®, consult the specific program descriptive sheets.
For more information on this program, contact:
Circle of Courage® - Reclaiming Youth
104 North Main Street
P.O. Box 57
Lennox, South Dakota 57039
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Circle of Courage® allows for some flexibility in the way it is implemented and adapted to fit local needs, resources and specific crime issues. Indeed, Circle of Courage® is not a “one size fits all” nor a manualized program; rather it should be envisioned as a general crime prevention approach. For this reason, Circle of Courage® is briefly described here. To obtain detailed information on how Circle of Courage® has been adapted and implemented in local Canadian communities, please refer to the specific program descriptions listed herein.
For more information about the process evaluation studies of this program that have been conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.
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