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Positive Youth Development & Life Skill Development. 4-H 101: Return to the Basics CES Staff Development Series Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 9:00-12:00 noon IP Video Presentation by Steve McKinley mckinles@purdue.edu; 765-494-8435. 4-H 101 Series. Effectively Utilizing Volunteers (10/4)

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positive youth development life skill development

Positive Youth Development & Life Skill Development

4-H 101: Return to the Basics

CES Staff Development Series

Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 9:00-12:00 noon

IP Video Presentation

by Steve McKinley

mckinles@purdue.edu; 765-494-8435

4 h 101 series
4-H 101 Series
  • Effectively Utilizing Volunteers (10/4)
  • Starting and Maintaining 4-H Clubs (11/15)
  • Expanding 4-H Opportunities (12/13)
  • Characteristics of Positive Youth Development & Life Skill Development (1/10)
  • 4-H Purpose, History, and Structure (2/14)
  • Conflict Management Techniques (3/14)
program information
Program Information…
  • Disconnected? Contact the AgIT Help Desk at 765-494-8333
  • Provide feedback to: Steve at 765-494-8435, or mckinles@purdue.edu
  • Discuss characteristics of youth development.
  • Define the 8 essential elements and 4 concepts of positive youth development.
  • Identify life skills developed by 4-H members.
  • Explain the components of the Experiential Learning Model.
  • Discuss methods to help youth develop life skills.
  • Identify characteristics of successful youth and adult partnerships.
objective 1

Objective 1

Discuss characteristics of youth development.

youth development approach
Youth Development Approach
  • Focus on positive outcomes desired for youth, not on negative outcomes to prevent.
  • Provide programs that are available to all young people.
  • Youth are seen as “central actors in their own development.”
  • Develop the whole person – not just a single characteristic or problem.
youth development approach1
Youth Development Approach
  • Mastery of competencies for productive adult life.
  • Not something done TO youth, but results from programming WITH youth.
  • Guided by caring, knowledgeable adults – dependent on family and other adults in community.
  • Programs offered in safe, nurturing, healthy environments.
to master skills young people need
To master skills young people need…
  • Safety and structure
  • Sense of belonging and membership
  • Closeness and several good relationships
  • Experience of gaining competence and mastering skills
to master skills young people need1
To master skills young people need…
  • Independence and control over some part of their lives
  • Self-awareness and ability and opportunities to act on that understanding
  • Sense of self-worth and ability and opportunities to contribute
positive youth development
Positive Youth Development
  • Is an intentional process
  • Promotes positive outcomes for young people
  • Provides opportunities, relationships and the support to fully participate. 
  • Takes place in families, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods and communities.
      • Source: National 4-H Leadership Trust
4 h youth development
4-H Youth Development
  • Non-formal, youth education program
  • Housed in the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Part of land grant university system
  • Access to most current knowledge and research
  • Located in each county in the nation
4 h program strengths
4-H Program Strengths
  • Nationally-recognized
  • Strong local, state, and national infrastructure
  • Outreach opportunities support community efforts
  • Research-based curriculum
  • Professionals trained in adult education and youth programming
  • Record of successful partnerships with youth-serving organizations
approaches to 4 h youth development
Approaches to 4-H Youth Development

Focus: Risks & Risk Factors

Target: Social Norms

Goal: Fewer Problems

Focus: Skills & Knowledge

Focus: Developmental Needs

Target: Individual Learners

Target: Opportunities for Youth

Goal: Competency in knowledge or skill

Goal: Maturity & Potential

understanding the different approaches

Community, Family, Peers,

School, Work, Leisure

Contextual Influences




3. Cognitive/Creative



4. Vocational/Citizenship




6. Independence/Control


Safety and Structure

over one’s life




7. Self Worth/Contribution



8. Capacity to enjoy life

5. Competency/Mastery

Cognitive Changes

Psychosocial Changes

Biological & Physical Changes

Understanding the Different Approaches



Developed by Cathann A. Kress, Ph.D.

objective 2

Objective 2

Define the 8 essential elements and 4 concepts of positive youth development.

i pledge my head to clearer thinking
I pledge my head to clearer thinking…
  • Youth need to know that they are able to influence people and events through decision-making and action.
  • These youth are…Confident, Assertive, Responsible, Self-disciplined, Leaders


i pledge my heart to greater loyalty
I pledge my heart to greater loyalty…
  • Current research emphasizes importance for youth to have opportunities for long-term consistent relationships with adults other than parents.
  • Belonging may be the single most powerful positive ingredient we can add to the lives of youth.
  • These youth are…Loving, Friendly, Social, Cooperative, Trusting


i pledge my hands to larger service
I pledge my hands to larger service…
  • Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.
  • By participating in 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth connect to communities and learn to give back to others.
  • These youth are…Caring, Sharing, Loyal, Empathetic, Supportive


i pledge my health to better living
I pledge my health to better living…
  • In order to develop self-confidence youth need to feel and believe they are capable and they must experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges.
  • These youth are…Achieving, Successful, Creative, Problem-solvers, Motivated, Persistent, Competent


objective 3

Objective 3

Identify life skills developed by 4-H members.

life skill development
Life Skill Development
  • Life Skills – competencies that help people function well in their environments.
  • Learned in sequential steps related to their age and developmental stage.
  • Acquired through “learn-by-doing” activities.
targeting life skills model
Targeting Life Skills Model

Source: Pat Hendricks, Iowa State

objective 4

Objective 4

Explain the components of the Experiential Learning Model

experiential learning model
Experiential Learning Model
  • Process for youth to learn through a carefully planned experience followed by leader-led discussion questions
  • Basis for 4-H activity manuals
learn by doing
"Learn by Doing"
  • We remember:
    • 10% of what we read
    • 20% of what we hear
    • 30% of what we see
    • 50% of what we see and hear
    • 70% of what we see, hear and discuss
    • 90% of what we see, hear, discuss and practice
  • You can tell or show members how to do something, but the actual experience of doing it themselves is the best way to reinforce learning






experience just do it
Experience… “Just do it!”
  • Action on the part of the learner
  • Leader provides guidance, but is not directive
  • Goal is for youth to “experience” the activity to develop life skills
  • Opportunities for practice
share what happened
Share… “What happened?”
  • Ask the group some of the following questions…
    • What did you do?
    • What happened?
    • What did it feel like to do this?
    • What was most difficult? Easiest?
process what s important
Process… “What’s important?”
  • Ask questions to focus on thinking about the process…
    • How was the experience conducted?
    • How was the activity performed?
    • What steps did you complete during this activity?
    • What problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
generalize so what
Generalize… “So what?”
  • Focus questions on individual experiences…
    • What did you learn or discover?
    • How does what you learned relate to other things you have been doing?
    • What skill did you practice? What similar experiences have you had with learning this skill?
apply now what
Apply… “Now what?”
  • Emphasize how this activity helped the members learn subject matter skills and practice life skills.
    • How does what you learned relate to other parts of your life?
    • How can you use what you learned?
    • How might this experience change the way you will approach a similar task in the future?
debriefing the activity
Debriefing the Activity
  • Debriefing allows members to complete their learning from the activity.
  • Leaders should be well-prepared for the debriefing.
  • Build in adequate time for members to reflect on their experiences.
  • Listen to youth carefully.
  • Most important outcome: members demonstrate new knowledge gain & practice targeted life skill.
objective 5

Objective 5

Discuss methods to help youth develop life skills.

methods used in 4 h to help youth develop life skills
Methods used in 4-H to help youth develop life skills
  • 4-H projects
  • Activity manuals
  • Demonstrations/Public Speaking
  • Judging events
  • Skill-a-thons
  • Project workshops
  • Educational trips
  • Resume building
  • Camp Counselors
skill a thon
  • Method to involve 4-H members and parents
  • Challenging, non-competitive, learn-by-doing activities
  • Series of mini learning stations with assistants at each station
  • Participants rotate from station to station to perform the given task
skill a thon1
  • All team members test their knowledge and ability before assistant provides hints
  • Can involve several project groups at one time on the program
  • Entire club can be actively involved at one time
  • Provides recognition to projects and leaders
planning a skill a thon
Planning a Skill-a-thon
  • Determine subject matter for stations.
  • Create realistic tasks to complete at each station.
  • Delegate responsibility for securing adequate equipment and supplies.
  • Identify an assistant for each station (youth or adult) familiar with the topic.
  • Identify volunteer to divide group into teams of 2-4 and to assign each team to a workstation.
  • Advertise event to members and parents.
conducting a skill a thon
Conducting a Skill-a-thon
  • Set up stations
  • Divide group into teams by age
  • Allow teams to experience activities
  • Listen to answers and presentations
  • Ask questions to help build on presentation
  • Praise efforts
  • Review major points and appropriate solutions
  • Evaluate the skill-a-thon
objective 6

Objective 6

Identify characteristics of successful youth and adult partnerships.

youth adult partnerships
Youth-Adult Partnerships
  • Provides opportunities for youth and adults to work together
  • Excellent learning opportunity for both groups
  • Adults work with youth as equals in the partnership (not do activities to or for youth)
youth adult partnerships1
Youth-Adult Partnerships
  • Benefits of youth involvement:
    • Youth recruit other youth more effectively than adults
    • Youth have a fresh perspective
    • Youth have access to information
    • Youth gain self-esteem and new skills.
    • Communities gain new source of potential leaders
youth adult partnerships2
Youth-Adult Partnerships
  • Benefits of youth involvement:
    • New role models are formed.
    • Negative youth activities are reduced.
    • Adults learn they don’t need to be responsible for everything.
    • Adults better understand youth and become re-energized.
    • Youth better understand adults and the roles they play.
tips to develop effective yap s
Tips to develop effective YAP’s
  • Don't expect more from youth than you would from an adult. Youth have busy schedules and deadlines too.
  • Treat youth as individuals. Don't ask one youth to represent all youth.
  • Encourage youth & adults to work as equal partners with balanced voices.
  • Respect youth as having a significant contribution to make and do not view them only as program beneficiaries.
tips to develop effective yap s1
Tips to develop effective YAP’s
  • Don't interrupt. Allow youth the chance to finish their thoughts.
  • Help the group feel comfortable with each other and overcome the initial anxiety.
  • Outline expectations and responsibilities of youth and adult members. Establish a set of shared values, such as respect, equality, openness, listening, and trust.
  • Work toward outcomes that address real issues and needs of youth & community.
tips to develop effective yap s2
Tips to develop effective YAP’s
  • Allow youth and adults to learn together and explore beneficial new program ideas.
  • Take joint responsibility for decision-making, identifying issues, planning, and implementing plans.
  • Provide challenging and relevant roles for participation in the organization.
  • Evaluate results and give positive reinforcement. Allow time to reflect on the work accomplished.
overcoming barriers to youth service
Overcoming Barriers to Youth Service
  • Discuss organizational “mindset” so that adults and youth working together is a productive and enjoyable experience for both groups
  • Advise adults about “dos and don’ts” on how to work with youth, and youth on how to work with adults
  • Hold open discussion about stereotypes that adults and youth have of each other
  • Lead exercises to practice “shared power”
overcoming barriers to youth service1
Overcoming Barriers to Youth Service
  • Train various age groups appropriately
  • Provide clear definition of roles and responsibilities for both adults and youth
  • Include youth in meaningful decision-making processes
  • Be sensitive to logistics such as the availability of transportation, suitable scheduling, and snacks for young volunteers who come after school

Source: Independent Sector

youth as volunteers
Youth as Volunteers
  • 44% of adults volunteer and 2/3 of these began volunteering when they were young.
  • Adults who began volunteering as youth are twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not volunteer when they were younger.
  • High school volunteering recently reached the highest levels in the past 50 years.  
  • In every income and age group, those who volunteered as youth give and volunteer more than those who did not.
  • Those who volunteered as youth and whose parents volunteered became the most generous adults in giving time.

Source: “Youth Service America”, Independent Sector

this i believe
This I Believe…
  • The 4-H boy and girl are more important than the 4-H projects.
  • 4-H is not trying to replace the home, the church, and the school, only to supplement them.
  • 4-H’ers are their own best exhibit.
  • No 4-H award is worth sacrificing the reputation of a 4-H member or leader.
  • Competition is a natural human trait and should be recognized as such in 4-H club work. It should be given no more emphasis than other fundamentals in 4-H.
this i believe1
This I Believe…
  • Learning how to do the project is more important than the project itself.
  • A blue ribbon 4-H’er with a red ribbon pig is more desirable than a red ribbon 4-H’er with a blue ribbon pig.
  • To “learn by doing” is fundamental in any sound educational program and is characteristic of the 4-H program.
  • Generally speaking, there is more than one good way of doing most things.
  • Every 4-H member needs to be noticed, to be important, to achieve, and to be praised.
  • Our job is to teach 4-H members HOW to think, NOT what to think.

Source: Utah 4-H

  • Hendricks, Pat. 1998. “Targeting Life Skills Model.” http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/lifeskills/previewwheel.html.
  • Independent Sector. http://www.independentsector.org/programs/research/engagingyouth.html.
  • Kress, Cathann. “Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development.” National 4-H Headquarters. http://www.national4-hheadquarters.gov/library/elements.ppt.
  • USDA/Army Youth Development Project. 2003. “4-H 101, The Basics of Starting 4-H Clubs.” http://www.national4-hheadquarters.gov/library/4h_docs.htm.
  • Utah 4-H website. “This I Believe…” http://utah4h.org/vol-handbook/handouts.htm.
  • Woessner, Lisa. “Youth and Adult Partnerships.” University of Illinois 4-H. http://www.4-h.uiuc.edu/opps/articles003.html.
thanks for joining us

Thanks for joining us!

Next 4-H 101 Program:

“4-H Purpose, History, and Structure”

Tuesday, February 14, 2006,

9:30-11:30 a.m.