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  1. 4-H Club Study Does participation make a difference in the lives of youth? Cathann A. Kress, Ph.D. Black Hills Seminars 2001 Rapid City, South Dakota

  2. What difference does 4-H Club participation make? • Two year study • To what extent and in what ways do 4-H Clubs influence and contribute to the “context” for positive youth development?

  3. Youth Development defined… • In this study, youth development was understood as a process of growing up and developing one’s capacities in positive ways -Walker & Dunham, 1994

  4. Is success related to active participation and involvement in public demonstrations, community service projects, and events? • Is success due to the relationships developed and the long-term membership?

  5. Study Design • Focus Groups • Profile of 4-H Clubs • Electronic Survey of 4-H Staff • 4-H Members Only Survey • Secondary Analysis of Search Institute Profiles

  6. Study Design Compared with

  7. Findings – Focus Groups Participants were 4-H members, program leaders, volunteers, and parents of 4-H members. Themes: • Emphasis in 4-H is on life skills • Key elements include relationships with other adults, active participation in program efforts, and community service. • Success of 4-H is attributed to dedication of leaders who are “youth-centered”

  8. Findings – 4-H Club Profiles • 4-H Club Profiles Nearly half (27 counties) have 26-50 active clubs. Over half (31 counties) have a total club enrollment between 251-550 members.

  9. Findings – Staff Electronic Survey • 4-H as a transformative experience Story themes: • Acceptance and belonging • Safe place to take risks and increase self-esteem; how life skills learned gave 4-H members a “leg up” • How 4-H members channeled negative attitudes into positive action and transferred leadership skills to other settings • learning the value of helping others and the meaning of service.

  10. Findings- Members Only Survey • 4-H Club youth in New York scored higher than both the Search Institute’s youth with club participation and without club participation on all developmental assets tested. • The type of club was not important. • There was a difference for youth who remain in 4-H for one year or more.

  11. Findings- Members Only Survey What do you feel you have gained? • 4-H changes lives • Fun & Friendships • Teamwork • Opportunities for Leadership • Multiple Skills • The Value of Community Service

  12. 4-H experiences become TRANSFORMATIONAL when we provide opportunities for young people to • Belong • Master Skills • Lead • Learn the meaning of service

  13. I feel that the experience I’ve gained from being a 4-H member puts me “a notch above the rest.”

  14. Without 4-H I don’t know where I would be right now. I have benefited greatly from this program. It helped me grow from a shy girl into a productive young woman. I have learned how to be a leader and take on challenging tasks.

  15. Results? • The results show that the process of youth development is positively influenced in multiple ways by 4-H Club membership. • When membership includes some key essential elements…

  16. Places where youth belong…

  17. Opportunities to influence events and other people…

  18. Opportunities to learn skills

  19. Meaningful ways to contribute…

  20. 4-H makes life better for youth.