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
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?
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
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?
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
Study Design Compared with
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”
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.
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.
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.
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
4-H experiences become TRANSFORMATIONAL when we provide opportunities for young people to • Belong • Master Skills • Lead • Learn the meaning of service
I feel that the experience I’ve gained from being a 4-H member puts me “a notch above the rest.”
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.
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…