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1. This document is PE059, one of a series of the Department of Family Youth and Community Sc iences, Florida Cooperative Extens ion Service, IFAS, University of Florida. Publication: Ma rch 2001. Revised November 2005. Visit the ED IS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Lisa A. Guion, Ed.D., associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Scie nces, Cooperative Extension Servi ce, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educ ational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimina tion with respect to race, cree d, color, religion, age, disabi lity, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Ag riculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florid a, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean PE059 Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H1 Lisa A. Guion2 It is important that we, as 4-H youth development professionals, are able to communicate the difference that 4-H makes in the lives of young people. Whether we are writing the significance section of our Plan of Work, presenting before county commissioners or promoting our 4-H program to potential leaders and parents, it is paramount that we share information on the life skills and developmental assets that are being developed in youth through 4-H programs, projects and activities. This paper provides summaries of some research on the benefits of 4-H and other closely related youth programs. Also, included in this paper are the main findings of the studies that will help you communicate the benefits of 4-H. Affecting Environmental Attitudes through Camping Description: This 4-H study examines attitude changes as a result of camping experiences. Authors: Clinton L. Shepard and Larry R. Speelman Year Published: Not listed Findings: There is a relationship between program length and conservation attitude development; An initial acclimation period for urban campers is desirable before implementing conceptual activities; and, There is a greater opportunity to develop positive conservation attitudes in first-time campers. To get a copy of the study results: See: Shepard, Clinton L. and Speelman, Larry R. Affecting Environmental Attitudes Through Outdoor Camping. The Journal of Environmental Education. A 4-H study. Assessing Leadership Life Skills Gained Through 4-H Description: The goal of the study was to determine whether 4-Hers gain leadership skills through 4-H activities and examine which skills are developed. 125 youth responded. Year Published: 1998 Authors: Charlie Clark, Carol Wilcoxen, Cheryl Geitner, Dianne White, Sarah Anderson, and Diane Baker, Illinois Extension Service Findings: 69 to 86% gained moderate to many leadership skills during their involvement in a 4-H Club. 45 to 49% improved much of their leadership skills in getting along with others, having a friendly personality, respecting others and setting goals.
Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H Page 2 45 to 61% improved moderately in determining needs, using information to solve problems, showing responsible attitudes, and being tactful. 40 to 44% improved much of their skills in trusting other people and using logical thinking. 40 to 44% improved their skills in considering alternatives, solving problems, considering input from all group members, being flexible, selecting alternatives, handling mistakes, listening effectively, having positive selfconcept, clarifying values, and having good manners. 50% obtained leadership skills from animal projects, 11% from arts, 8% from special events and the remainder obtained leadership skills from other activities such as child care, safety and citizenship. To get a copy of study results: Contact any of the authors. 4-H Youth Voice Survey Description : The national 4-H Youth Directions Council conducted the study. Four hundred and forty youth staff, and program leaders from 44 states responded to a survey examining youth voices within the 4-H system. Authors: National 4-H Youth Directions Council team. Year Published: 20 00 Findings: 76% of youth ages 18 and under have input in fair board issues. 62% of counties have a youth council. 45% of youth play an active role in planning and leading state events and programs. 19% of youth have an equal voice in state advisory boards. 18% of youth are involved in the selection process for 4-H staff. 6% of youth have a voice in the selection process of state 4-H staff and faculty. To get a copy of study results: Check www. fourhcouncil.edu National 4-H Impact Assessment Description: A national survey of 1,300 youth and 195 adults associated with 4-H Youth Development Programs examined perceptions about the benefits of 4-H. Authors: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension provided leadership to this multi-state effort. Year Published: Preliminary results in 2000, m ore comprehensive results became available in 2001. Findings: Both youth and adults feel very positive about their experiences in 4-H. Youth in 4-H have a strong sense of belonging. Adults and youth form strong relationships in 4H programs. Adults were more glowing than youth in their responses. Youth in 4-H would like greater involvement in decision-making. 4-H dropouts may be due in part to best friends not being involved in 4-H. To get a copy of the study results: Check http://ag.arizona.edu/icyf/evaluation/4himpact.h tm or email Alison Titcomb firstname.lastname@example.org The Cornell Study Description: A two-year, multi-method study by Cornell Cooperative Extension on the impact of 4H club membership in 50 counties resulting in 3,198 youth respondents. Year Published: 19 99 Authors: June Mead, Eunice Rodriguez, Thomas Hirschl, and Stephen Gogan, Cornell Cooperative Extension. Findings: Controlling for the influences of age, gender, family structure, and fathers education, comparisons were made of all Search Institute survey respondents who did and did not participate in other clubs with youth in 4-H clubs.
Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H Page 3 4-H club youth in New York scored higher than both the Search Institutes youth with club participation and without club participation on all (significantly higher on most) developmental assets tested including: educational aspiration, achievement motivation, desire to help others, school grades, self-esteem, decision-making, having a value system, interaction with adults, and ability to make friends. To get a copy of the study report: Go to the Florida 4-H News and Info Research Findings Website at http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/newsandinfo/researchfinding s.htm The 4-H Great Lakes Natural Resources Camp Study Description: This particular study is a follow-up to the original study of the same name. Authors: Murari Suvedi and Shari L. Dann Year Published: 1992 Findings: The camp increased participants level of awareness of environmental problems, interest in the outdoors, developed leadership skills and influenced career decisions. To obtain a copy of the study results: See: Suvedi, Murari and Dann Shari L. The 4-H Great Lakes Natural Resources Camp: A Follow-up Study. AEE Center for Evaluative Studies. 1992. Identifying 4-H Camping Outcomes Using a Standardized Evaluation Process Across Multiple 4-H Educational Centers Description: The purpose of this study is two fold. The first purpose was to develop a standardized evalua tion process by: Generating buy-in through an open discussion of the benefits and lim itations of a standardized process, Identify the desired life skills targeted by the Virginia 4-H camping program, Creating standardized survey instrum ents that would provide consistency yet also allow programs directors to add site -specific questions or items, and Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the State 4-H Office and the 4-H Centers in the evaluation process. The second purpose was to evaluate camping participants outcom es using standardized instruments to: Identify 4-H cam ping benefits as perceived by youth campers and Identify 4-H cam ping benefits as perceived by youth campers parents/guardians. Year Published: 2003 Findings: 1. Youth attending camp indicated that 4-H cam p primarily helped them: Make new friends, Develop ne w skills in an area that they enjoy, Be more independent and take care of their self, Learn about different subjects, Develop closer friendships with people they already knew, and Improved their self-confidence. 2. Parents/guardians were asked to rate their child both before and after cam p on 24 different life skill items on a scale of 1-5, where 1 = almost never and 5 = almost always. Three hundred and sixty-three parents returned the survey. The most gains were found for the following items: Takes care of his/her own things, Shares work responsibilities, Takes in itiative and is a self-starter, Handles success and failures,
Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H Page 4 Has a good m ental attitude Adapts to change To get a copy of the study report: Please visit http://www.joe.org/joe/2003june/rb2.shtml T The Montana Study Description: A statewide study conducted in 21 randomly selected counties with approximately 2,500 youth to examine students out-of-school time. Year Published: 20 01 Authors: Kirk Astroth and George Haynes of Montana State University. Findings: Compared to other youth, 4-H youth are more likely to: Succeed in school, getting more As than other kids; Be involved as leaders in their school and the community; Be looked up to as role models by other kids; and Help others in the community. Also, 4-H youth reported that they are less likely than other youth to: Shoplift or steal, Use illegal drugs of any kind to get high, Ride in a car with someone who has been drinking, Smoke cigarettes, Damage property for the fun of it, or Skip school or cut class without permission. To get a copy of the study report: Go to the Florida 4-H News and Info Research Findings Website at http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/newsandinfo/researchfinding s.htm The Texas 4-H Impact Assessment Description: A study conducted in 1999, with 52 counties and 1,313 youth respondents, examined the impact that Texas 4-H has on its youth participants. Of the 1,313 youth participating in the study, 545 were community club members. Forty percent of the respondents reside in a nonrural setting. Year Published: 2000 Authors: Te xas 4-H Youth Research Unit, Texas Agricultural Extension Service Findings: 88% indicated that 4-H teaches them to work out differences peacefully. 86% indicated that 4-H has taught them problem-solving skills. 89% indicated that 4-H has taught them decision-making skills. 91% indicated that 4-H has helped teach them how to develop a plan to reach their goals. 94% felt that 4-H has helped them accept differences in others. 91% felt th at 4-H helped teach them skills to be a leader. To get a copy of the study report: Go to the Florida 4-H News and Info Research Findings Website at http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/newsandinfo/researchfinding s.htm Research Studies on the Outcomes and Impacts of Youth Programs Similar to 4-H An Environmental Education Survey Description Educators in the field of Environmental Education within the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service were surveyed to produce these findings, among others. Author: N. J. Smith-Sebasto Year Published: 19 98
Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H Page 5 Findings: 88.2% of the surveyed environmental educators perceived that their programming contributed to the development of environmentally literate citizens. To get a copy of the study results: See: SmithSebasto, N.J Environmental Education in the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service: An Educator Survey. The Journal of Environmental Education, 1998, Vol. 29, No. 2, 21-30 A Study on Camping Description A study of the benefits of youth camping. Authors: James C. Stone Year Published: 19 86 Findings: Campers made a statistically significant gain overall, and increases in the following characteristics: Responsibility. Skill in being accountable for ones own behavior. Decision Making. Skill in thinking for ones self. Self-concept. Skill in getting along with others. Interpersonal Relations. Skill in making friends and being accepted. Citizenship. Skill in respecting the rights of others. Environmental concern. Skill in appreciating ones natural surroundings. To get a copy of the study results: Not Provided Note: Even though this study dates from 1986, the results continue to be validated in other studies and this study is viewed by some as the original source. Building Vibrant Youth Groups Description: The author studied two research questions: Why are some youth groups more effective than others? What are the distinguishing characteristics of highly effective youth groups? Five youth groups were studied for a total of 163 youth. Author: Kirk Astroth, Montana State University Year Published: 1996 Findings: Vibrant youth groups have ten essential characteristics. Vibrant youth groups: Concerned with weaning, not winning (i.e., help youth have ownership of the group). Change how they do things, but not what they do. (i.e. firm yet flexible). Work hard and play hard. Empower young people (i.e., authorize, delegate meaningful responsibilities). Communicate with and listen to young people. Balance chaos with rigidity (i.e., can change with and respond to changing times and circumstances). Affirm and support one another. Use mentoring system to socialize newcomers into the club. Value and practice service to others. Take time for training. Recognize that the whole is greater that the sum of its parts (i.e. each individual brings skills, talents, etc. that can work together to achieve the larger goal of the group). To get a copy of the study results : Contact the author at Montana State University, 210 Taylor Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717-0358 Moral and Ego Development Study Description This study was intended to serve as a program evaluation checklist for peer-helping activities. Author: N.A. Sprinthall Year Published: written in 1997 Findings: Programs that effectively demonstrate impact on the moral and ego development of participants have five common elements. Young people who take leadership in helping/service programs benefit greatly when these five conditions are present. The five elements are:
Communicating the Outcomes and Impacts of 4-H Page 6 1. Role-taking experience in real-life helping 2. Guided reflection 3. Continuity 4. Balance of reflection and activity 5. Blend of support and challenge for the young Study of Community Youth Programs Description: The authors studied community youth programs offering developmentally appropriate adult monitored activities. Authors: S.B. Heath and M.W. McLaughlin Year Published: 19 91 Findings: The successful organizations had these things in common: A positive hopeful vision of the future. A clear, focused mission. A dedicated staff who value youth and are dedicated to their success. An identification not linked to social institutions or social problems (i.e., an after-school or pregnancy-prevention program). They provide diverse opportunities for activities, varied rhythms of work and play, opportunities to value different talents and ages, and approaches that are firm and flexible. They create a sense that members belong to an intimate group. They give power to young people rather than treat them like infants. They have clear goals and rules of membership. Their range of developmentally appropriate activities are overseen by consistent and reliable adults who send the message that everyone involved is responsible for enforcing the rules and taking leadership for pieces of the program. To get a copy of the study results : See: Heath, S.B. & McLaughlin, M.W. 1991. Community Organizations as Family: Endeavors that Engage and Support Adolescents. Phi Delta Kappan. April, 1991, 623-627 Acknowledgements The author wishes to thank Jerry Culen, Ph.D, acting Program Director and associate professor, Youth Development, Family, Youth and Community Sciences department, for the camping studies.