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Current Youth Issues and 4-H Youth Development. Bonita Williams, Ph.D. Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, 4-H Northeast District Quarterly 4-H Meeting Virginia Tech, Cooperative Extension March 2009. What We Will Cover Today. Indicators of youth success

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current youth issues and 4 h youth development

Current Youth Issuesand 4-H Youth Development

Bonita Williams, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, 4-H

Northeast District Quarterly 4-H Meeting

Virginia Tech, Cooperative Extension

March 2009

what we will cover today
What We Will Cover Today
  • Indicators of youth success
  • Protective factors and affected domains
  • Trends in child wellbeing
  • Millennial trends and communication
  • Implications for 4-H Youth Development programming
prr slide participant response required
PRR SlideParticipant Response Required

Question(s) will be asked

If you want to answer indicate by the thumbs up icon

dimensions and indicators of young adult success1
Dimensions and Indicators of Young Adult Success
  • Physical health- Good nutrition, regular exercise, no substance abuse or dependence, safe sexual behavior, avoiding violence, no drinking and driving
  • Psychological and emotional well-being- Positive self identity, life satisfaction, positive outlook, sense of purpose, pro-social orientation
  • Life skills- Decision-making-emotional self regulation, interpersonal skills, self-efficacy, financial responsibility
  • Ethical behavior- Telling the truth, keeping promises, avoiding crime, obeying the law, calling in sick only when really sick, demonstrating care and concern for others, taking responsibility for oneself

Benson and Scales, 2004

dimensions and indicators of young adult success2
Dimensions and Indicators of Young Adult Success
  • Healthy family and social relationships- Bonding and frequent interactions with a parent, an intimate partner, and with peer(s); involvement in groups such as community sports teams, church groups, music groups, dance classes
  • Educational attainment- High-school completion, completion of post-secondary degree or occupational certification
  • Constructive engagement- Over 35 hours per week in school, employment, or homemaking
  • Civic engagement- Volunteer work, political participation, charitable giving

Benson and Scales, 2004

protective factors


…any circumstance(s) that promote healthy youth behaviors and decrease the chance that youth will engage in risky behaviors.

protective factors individual search institute
PROTECTIVE FACTORS - IndividualSearch Institute
  • Healthy / conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • High expectations
  • Perception of social support from adults & peers
  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Positive expectations / Optimism for the future
  • Religiosity / Involvement in organized religious activities
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills
protective factors family search institute
Protective Factors—FamilySearch Institute
  • Effective parenting
  • Good relationships with parents / Bonding or attachment to family
  • Having a stable family
  • High expectations
  • Opportunities for prosocial family involvement
  • Rewards for prosocial family involvement
protective factors school search institute
Protective Factors—SchoolSearch Institute
  • Above average academic achievement / Reading and math skills
  • High expectations of students
  • High quality schools / Clear standards and rules
  • Opportunities for prosocial school involvement
  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Rewards for pro-social school involvement
  • Strong school motivation / Positive attitude toward school
  • Student bonding (attachment to teachers, belief, commitment)
protective factors community search institute
Protective Factors—Community Search Institute
  • Clear social norms / Policies with sanctions for violations and rewards for compliance
  • High expectations
  • Nondisadvantaged neighborhood
  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Prosocial opportunities for participation / Availability of neighborhood resources
  • Rewards for pro-social community involvement
  • Safe environment / Low neighborhood crime
protective factors peer search institute
Protective Factors—PeerSearch Institute
  • Good relationships with peers
  • Involvement with positive peer group activities
  • Parental approval of friends
give an example s of how protective factors are applied in the 4 h setting
Give an example(s) of how protective factors are applied in the 4-H setting

Give the setting

The protective factor(s)

The outcome or the result

What do youth trends and issues have to do with yoursituation analysis, plan of work and eFARS report?


racial ethnic diversity
Racial/Ethnic Diversity

In 2007, 57 percent of children were White,

non-Hispanic, 21 percent were Hispanic, 15 percent were Black, 4 percent were Asian, and 4 percent were of all other races (FCFS, 2009).

Racial and ethnic diversity has grown dramatically in the United States in the last three decades. By 2020, 1 in 4 youth will be of Hispanic/Latino origin.

FCFS, 2009

racial ethnic diversity1
Racial/Ethnic Diversity
  • In 2007, 18 % of children were native-born with at least one foreign-born parent, and 4 percent were foreign-born with at least one foreign-born parent.
  • Overall, the percentage of children living in the United States with at least one foreign-born parent rose from 15 % in 1994 to 22 percent in 2007.

FCFS, 2009

economic circumstance
Economic Circumstance
  • In 2006, 17% of all children ages 0–17 lived in poverty. The poverty rate for younger children was higher than for older children.
  • About 20 % of children under 6 years and 16 percent of children 6–17 years lived in poverty in 2006.
  • 17% of youth are food insecure.

USDA, 2009

  • The average National Assessment of Education Progress reading scores at 4th grade increased 4 points through 2007.
  • At 8th grade, reading scores in 2007 had increased 1 point. At 12th grade, reading scores declined between 1992 and 2005 (the most recent year of data).

NAEP, 2009

affluent communities
Affluent Communities
  • A disconnect between over-involved achievement focused parents and their youth struggling to discover their own identity.
  • Dramatic increases in youth drug use (three times the normal rate of depressive youth).
  • Excessive emphasis on individualism, competition, and materialism, over friendship, reciprocity, caring, and connection.
  • Because the families are affluent, they may be reluctant to disclose family problems.

Arlington Alliance for Youth

  • The increasing cost of college education has created career road blocks for many high school grads and accelerated debt of others who attend.
  • More careers are now demanding graduate degrees due to the increasing complex world.
associated youth issues
Associated Youth Issues
  • There are many children with chronic health limitations (15.5% of children ages 5-11; 18.8% of children ages 12-17).
  • 87% of youth, ages 10-17, say it is important to have caring adults in their lives, yet 45% of

the kids express a need for more adults they can go to when they have problems.

millennial trends born from 1980 through 2000
MILLENNIAL TRENDSBorn from 1980 through 2000
  • The Times
  • Focus on children and family
  • Multiculturalism
  • Terrorism
  • Heroism
  • Patriotism
  • Parent Advocacy
  • Globalism
  • Compelling Messages
  • Be smart-you ‘re special
  • Connect 24/7
  • Achieve Now
  • Serve the community
millennial characteristics work ethic
Millennial CharacteristicsWork Ethic
  • Confident
  • Hopeful
  • Goal and achievement oriented
  • Civic-minded
  • Inclusive
millennial management
Millennial Management
  • You are the leader
  • Challenge me
  • Let me work with friends
  • Let’s have fun
  • Respect me
  • Be flexible
getting ready for the millennials
Getting Ready for the Millennials
  • Be Prepared For…
  • high expectations
  • possible involvement of parents
  • Don’t…
  • expect them to pay their dues
  • throw a wet blanket on their enthusiasm
  • Do…
  • encourage them
  • mentor them
  • learn from them
millennial learning preferences
Millennial Learning Preferences
  • Teamwork
  • Technology
  • Structure
  • Entertainment & excitement
  • Experiential activities
millennial communication expression
Millennial Communication/Expression
  • Core values of uniformity and conformity
  • Averse to individual recognition
  • View ritual as “ties that bind” community
  • Cite religion as second-most influence on their lives, just behind their parents
millennial communication preferences
Millennial Communication Preferences
  • Positive
  • Respectful 
  • Respectable
  • Motivational
  • Electronic
  • Goal-focused
millennial communication preferences1
Millennial Communication Preferences
  • Think more highly of themselves
  • Hold conventional values & seek traditional

life styles

  • Admire consistency in rules & actions
  • Risk-averse and afraid of failure
  • Score higher on scales of warmth, sensitivity,
  • apprehension, openness to change, reasoning, emotional stability, and social boldness

M.P McNeill, Columbia University

implications for youth development
  • Indicators of adult success are a path to measuring 4-H Youth Development programming outcomes.
  • Generational trends should be considered in all phases of 4-H Youth Development programming.
  • Other visible implications?
extension resources

Understanding Gen X’ers and Millennials

Walk in My Shoes Program

Talking about My Generation