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Perceptions about Traditional 4-H Clubs among the Hispanic Clientele in Southwest Miami-Dade County


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PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TRADITIONAL 4-H CLUBS AMONG THE HISPANIC CLIENTELE IN SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY By GINA MARIA CANALES HERNANDEZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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Copyright 2007 by Gina Maria Canales Hernandez

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To my parents, Eduardo Canales a nd Georgina Hernndez de Canales.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people supported me during this researc h. First and foremost I want to thank God for his immense love, help, and fidelity. I give him the honor and glory of this journey. I would l like to thank my supervisory committee members (Dr. Nick Place, Dr. Tracy Irani, Dr. Lisa Guion, and Dr. Marta Hartmann) for giving me the opportunity to work with them, and for th eir great contributions to my personal and professional development. I am especially grateful to Dr. Nick Place. Without his guidance, perseverance, and patience this would have not been possible. I will always admire him personally and professionally. I also want e xpress my gratitude to the Fulbright Program, Dr. Ed Osborne, and the faculty of Agri cultural Education and Communication for enabling me to pursue my graduate studies, and for all their support and encouragement. I extend my thanks to all the Agricultur al Education and Comm unication Department staff for their help; especially Ms. Betty Yaretzki. Further more I want to express my deep gratitude for Dr. Marilyn Norman and the 4-H program at the University of Florida for allowing me to work with such a wonderful program. I want to express my deep gratit ude to Dr. Hartmann and Dr. Russo for their guidance and support through this journey. I tha nk all of my friends (Elena, Kelly, Tirhani, Dilcia, Pili, and Alejandra) for th e memories and friendships. Finally I would like to thank my parents, brothers, grandparent s, family, and friends for all of their love and support from a distance.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Background...................................................................................................................1 Cooperative Extension..................................................................................................4 The 4-H Youth Development Program.........................................................................5 Problem Statement........................................................................................................7 Purpose........................................................................................................................ .9 Objectives..................................................................................................................... 9 Limitations..................................................................................................................10 Operational Definitions..............................................................................................10 Summary.....................................................................................................................11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW...........................................................................................12 Youth Development....................................................................................................12 Positive Youth Development Approach..............................................................14 Positive Youth Development Constructs.............................................................16 Youth Development Programs............................................................................18 Hispanics.....................................................................................................................1 9 Diversity and Cultural Traits...............................................................................20 Hispanic Youth....................................................................................................23 Youth Programs...................................................................................................27 Learning Styles....................................................................................................29 Cultural Barriers..................................................................................................32 Volunteerism.......................................................................................................33 History of 4-H.............................................................................................................34 The 4-H Program.................................................................................................35 The 4-H Delivery Methods..................................................................................37 Urban 4-H Programming.....................................................................................38 The 4-H Clubs.....................................................................................................40

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vi Impact of 4-H......................................................................................................41 Outreach to Hispanics..........................................................................................44 Summary.....................................................................................................................46 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................47 Research Design.........................................................................................................47 Population...................................................................................................................48 The 4-H Members................................................................................................49 Parents of 4-H Members......................................................................................49 Non-4-H Members...............................................................................................50 Parents of non-4-H Members..............................................................................50 The 4-H Professionals.........................................................................................51 Instrumentation...........................................................................................................51 Data Collection Procedure..........................................................................................53 Data Analysis..............................................................................................................57 Summary.....................................................................................................................58 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................59 Participants.................................................................................................................59 Objective 1..................................................................................................................60 4-H Members Perceptions and Impacts of 4-H...................................................61 4-H is agriculture and fun.............................................................................61 Learning about 4-H......................................................................................62 Youth involvement.......................................................................................63 Development of life skills............................................................................64 Start small, offer diversity, r ecognition and have a good leader..................66 Join our club! Its fun and we accept everyone.............................................68 Parents of 4-H Members......................................................................................69 4-H is agriculture, friends and community...................................................69 Learning about 4-H......................................................................................70 Development of life skills............................................................................71 A good program is a collaborative effort.....................................................73 Objective 2..................................................................................................................73 Non-4-H Members...............................................................................................74 Parents of Non-4-H Members.............................................................................76 Objective 3..................................................................................................................80 Current Programs and Types of Clubs................................................................80 4-H Members.......................................................................................................82 Successful 4-H Clubs..........................................................................................83 Summary.....................................................................................................................84 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................88 Discussion of Key Findings........................................................................................88 4-Members and Parents of 4-H members............................................................88

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vii Non-4-H Members and Parents of Non-4-H Members.......................................90 4-H Professionals.................................................................................................92 Conclusion..................................................................................................................94 Recommendations.......................................................................................................94 Future Research Needed...........................................................................................101 Summary...................................................................................................................102 APPENDIX A THE 40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS..................................................................103 B MODERATOR’S ASSENT TEXT FOR THE FOCUS GROUPS WITH PARTICIPANTS UNDER 18..................................................................................104 C MODERATOR’S INTRODUCTORY TEXT FOR THE FOCUS GROUPS.........105 D FOCUS GROUP YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H......................................................106 E FOCUS GROUP FOR PARENTS OF YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H....................108 F FOCUS GROUP YOUTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H.............................................110 G FOCUS GROUP PARENTS OF YO UTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H....................112 H QUESTIONS TO GUIDE INTERVIEW OF 4-H PROFESSIONALS...................114 I INFORMED CONSENT..........................................................................................118 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................120 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................132

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viii LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Formal versus nonformal education.........................................................................46 3-1 Categories of question for focus groups...................................................................58 4-1 Four-H members focus group participants...............................................................86 4-2 Parents of 4-H member s focus group participants...................................................86 4-3 Non-4-H members focus group participants............................................................86 4-4 Parents of non-4-H members focus group participants............................................86 4-5 Themes emerged from focus groups with 4-H members and parents of 4-H members...................................................................................................................86

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TRADITIONAL 4-H CLUBS AMONG THE HISPANIC CLIENTELE IN SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY By Gina Maria Canales Hernndez May 2007 Chair: Nick Place Major Department: Agricultur al Education and Communication According to the US Census Bureau, ther e has been a modest increase in the nonHispanic White, African American and Americ an Indian population. On the other hand, the Hispanic population is now considered the largest minority in the country (37 million). The 37 million does not include the estimated 3.5 million immigrants who have illegal status. Florida’s Hispanic P opulation increased by 70.4% (from 1.6 billion to 2.7 million) between 1990 and 2000. In sheer numbers, Miami Dade County will experience the largest increase, where the numbe r of Hispanics is projected to increase by nearly 900,000, followed by Orange, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties. Hispanic youth have become the fastes t growing youth population in the country. Hispanics make up a significant percentage of the population in many cities and will continue to comprise larger portions of school-age and co llege-age populations. This situation clearly shows the need to pay mo re attention to youth development programs targeting Hispanic youth.

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x The purpose of this study is to describe the perception of Hispanics about 4-H programs offered by the Cooperative Extensi on System in the State of Florida in southwest Miami-Dade County. The speci fic objectives of the study are to: Describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic members and their parents. Describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of traditional 4-H clubs in the s outhwest area of Miami-Dade County. Describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regardi ng Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. The overall purpose is to in crease the ability of ex tension to respond to the Hispanics needs in Miami-Dade County. Miam i-Dade County was intentionally selected due to the high percentage of Hispanic population. Four focus groups were conducted 4-H members parents of 4-H members non-4-H members and parents of non-4-H members In addition, interviews w ith 4-H professionals were conducted to achieve the objectives. Overall, results provide an insi ght that involvement in traditional 4-H clubs does affect the development of life skills among Hispanic youth. It also shows that non4-H members and parents of non-4-H members ar e eager to participate in 4-H programs, Four-H has the potential to provide the Hisp anic population in Miami-Dade County with youth development programs that focus on provi ding youth with skills to become capable and competent adults. Finally, results showed the need to hire more bilingual/bicultural 4-H agents, to be able to outreach Hi spanics and increase their enrollment.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background Population counts from the 2000 Census indi cate that the Hispanic population is the fastest growing group in the United Stat es. The United States Hispanic population increased from 22.4 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000. These numbers indicate that the Hispanic population grew more than 57% since 1990. This is over four times the growth of the total population, which increased by 13% during the same period (Alba-Johnson, 2003; Brindis, Driscoll, Bi ggs & Valderrama, 2002d; Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Guzman, 2001). According to Valdez (2000), this reported increase among Hispanics in the United States does not include the immigrants who ha ve an illegal status, who are estimated to account for approximately 3.5 million people. Fu rthermore, Hispanics have continued to grow very rapidly since the last US Census ; for example, the Hispanic population grew 9.8% between 2000 and 2002, while the population as a whole only had an increase of 2.5% (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004). This high increase is a c onsequence of the high rates of immigration among Hispanics. Immigration to the United St ates has been greatest among Mexican and Central Americans fleeing the pol itical and economic events in their countries of origin (Ortiz, 1995; Ramirez, 2004). The increase can also be attributed to the high rates of birth among Hispanics; in 2004 the rate wa s 22.9 per 1,000, which is the highest as

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2 compared to 11.7 per 1,000 of non-Hispanic White and 15.7 per 1,000 of African American (Hamilton, Ventura, Martin & Sutton, 2005). Hispanics tend to remain heav ily concentrated in certain regions of the United States, notably the Southwest (most si gnificantly, California), the Nort heast, Florida and several urban centers of the Midwest (Department of Health & Human Services [DHHS], 2005; Kandel & Cromartie, 2004). Florida has the four th largest population of Hispanics in the United States, it has increased by 70.4% fr om 1.6 million to 2.7 million between 1990 and 2000 (Guzmn, 2001). In sheer numbers, th e top five counties in Florida with the highest Hispanic populations are MiamiDade with 1.3 million, Broward with 271,652, Hillsborough with 179,692, Orange with 168,361, and Palm Beach with 140,675; Osceola County ranks sixth with 50,727 Hispanics (US Census Bureau, 2000). These numbers demonstrate that this nationality group is gaining ground in Florida. As result there are several places in Miami, like Hi aleah, where the majority of people are Hispanic, and Spanish is the predominant spoken language. Hispanics are a young population. The 2000 Census and the most up-to-date projections indicate that Hispanics are the fastest growing youth population in the country. Projections indicate that by the ye ar 2050 Hispanics will represent 29% of the youth population. Guzman (2001) and Chapa a nd De la Rosa (2004) report that more than one third are under age 18, as compared to about one quarter of non-Hispanics; they have much younger age distributions (med ian age of 26 years) compared to nonHispanics (median age 36 years). This verifies that Hispanics make up a si gnificant percentage of the population in many cities and will continue to compromise large portions of school age and college-age

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3 populations. This rapid grow th clearly demonstrates the need to focus on youth development programs that target youth (Alba-Johnson, 2003; Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Chapa & Valencia, 1993; Mehan, Hubbard & Villanueva, 1994; Valdivieso, 1990). Currently, Hispanic youth face a number of obstacles that obstruct them from developing competencies to succeed. The 2000 Census reported that Hispanics are the most undereducated group in the United Stat es (Alba-Johnson, 2003). The educational conditions of Hispanics has been characterized by: Below-grade level enrollment High drop out rates High illiteracy rates Low number of school years completed According to Therrien and Ramirez (2000) only 46% of Hispanics had completed high school or had some college and only 10% had a bachelor ’s degree. Unfortunately this contributes to lower-status occupations that translate into lower income and higher poverty rates among Hispanics. Alba-Johnson (2003) states that in the United States, a successful young person is expected to graduate from high school, gain the education and skills necessary to be economically independent, and consequently contribute to societ y. Furthermore she explains that, Hispanic youth are not meeting these expectations because they do not have access to basic opportunities and resources. Th ey encounter a number of obstacles that get in the way of their development such as language barriers, poverty and limited access to education (Brindis et al., 2002a). Therefore, it is essential and reasonable to take into account the cultural differences among Hisp anics and then develop appropriate youth programs that are going to prepare youth to lead productive and healthy lives (Alba-Johnson, 2003).

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4 Cooperative Extension Cooperative Extension is the world’s larg est nonformal educational organization and is widely known for its achievements in addressing the concerns of a changing society (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). The term extension was first used during the late 1800’s, in conn ection with education, to describe the methods that were being used to disseminate knowledge from the University of Cambridge in England to the people that lived near thei r surroundings (Brewer, 2001; Jones & Garforth, 1997). According to Rivera and Gustafson (as cite d in Brewer, 2001) it was after World War II that a number of countries decided to estab lish extension systems. The main reason was the considerable backlog of science and t echnology that had accumulated during the war and the fact that soldiers were returning to the farms. Extension work was seen as a way to promote economic growth and enhance th e use of modern input through nonformal education. In the United States extension is faci litated through the C ooperative Extension System (CES). In 1914 the Smith Lever Act formally created the CES, and it is a cooperative educational relationship between three different levels of government the federal partner USDA, the state partner be ing land-grant univer sities and the county partner being the local government. CE S is a public funded, nonformal educational system that links the education and research resources (Graham, 1994; Seevers et al., 1997). Extension does not offer credit courses, grades or grants degrees but it enlarges and improves the abilities of the people to adop t more appropriate prac tices to adjust to changing and societal needs (Graham, 1994).

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5 The mission of the CES has evolved over the ye ars, but in essence it is to enable people to improve their lives as well as their communities. Cooperative Extension System accomplishes the mission by providing peopl e with practical and useful education that they can use in addressi ng problems they face on a daily basis (Seever et al., 1997). For example, during World War I, extension mobilized the war food production efforts; while food production, preservation and clothing conservation proj ects were stressed. In the 1920’s, the emphasis changed from productio n to economic concerns, farm efficiency and the quality of life. During the great de pression the farm seed and loan program was organized and extension managed it. Moreover farm families were drawn into active participation in county, state and national public affairs, home economics programs were geared towards family self sufficiency. In the post depression and the new deal era, extension became involved in the manageme nt of many federal programs such as: Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Soil Conservation Service, Rural Electrification Program, and the Farmer’s Home Administrati on (Pennsylvania State University, 2005). The 4-H Youth Development Program The 4-H program of the CES started as an American innovation. It originated at the turn of the 20th century because of a vital need to improve life in the rural areas. According to Kelsey and Hearne (as cited in Russell, 2001) the main purpose of the program was the development of boys and girls so they would turn out to be responsible and capable citizens. The program intr oduced improved methods of farming and homemaking to youth by practical and “hands-o n” learning. During th e early stages of 4-H, the clubs consisted of growing corn, pl anting a garden, testi ng soil, club meetings,

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6 and visits to club member’s plots and exhibi ts (National 4-H Headquarters [N4H], 2005a; North Dakota State University [ NDST] Extension Service, 2005). The first record of any known 4-H type activity was in 1898. Liberty Hyde Bailey of Cornell University inaugurated a system of junior naturalist broc hures in rural schools and assisted in the organization of natu re study clubs. Around 1907, 4-H began to work under the auspices of the US Department of Agriculture. In 1914 through the Smith Lever act, Congress formed the Cooperative Extension Service, and it included boys and girls clubs also known as 4-H clubs. In 1915 there were 4-H clubs in 47 states in the United States. During World War I, the en ergies of 4-H member s were devoted to raising food. Projects cons isted of raising corn and canning tomatoes. Following a period of readjustment after World War I, 4H club work showed continual growth. Some states developed 4-H programs in close rela tionship to local school districts. Others established clubs as community programs separate from schools (NDST Extension Service, 2005). As the 4-H program continued to grow through the 1920's and 1930's more emphasis was placed on the development of the individual rather than the product produced. The focus of the program was the development of skills in farming and homemaking. The 1950's and 1960's saw increasing numbers of non-farm youth enrolling in the program. In 1948, 4-H went in ternational with the establishment of the International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE), first called the Inte rnational Farm Youth Exchange (N4H, 2005b; NDST Extension Se rvice, 2005). According to the N4H (2005a), the program has evolved considerab ly through the past 100 years; 4-H offers youth opportunities in communicat ions, leadership, career development, livestock, home

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7 improvement, and computer technology. Nowa days, programs are found in rural and urban areas throughout the country, and it has be en able to integrate boys and girls in clubs and reach a diverse cultural audience. Florida 4-H reached a total of 240,563 youth in 2004-2005 (September 1st to August 31st) through their programming. Four-H serves youth from all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Florida 4-H provide s curriculum and programming in the following areas: citizenship and civic edu cation, communication and expressive arts, consumer and family sciences, environmen tal education and earth science, healthy lifestyle education, personal development a nd leadership, plant and animal, and science and technology. In Miami-Dade 4-H reached a total of 10, 368 through organized clubs (community /project, in school, after school, and military clubs), 4-H special interest/short term programs and 4-H campi ng programs. Only 480 youth was involved in community/project clubs representing only a 4.63% of the total youth reached (University of Florida, 2005). Problem Statement Hispanics are drawn to large counties like Miami-Dade, where more jobs are available and large numbers of Hispanics ha ve already establishe d their residence. Nevertheless, some of Florida’s smaller count ies will experience the greatest changes of proportions of their population. These incl ude Osceola, Flagler, and Lake counties, which were expected to grow by 281%, 257% and 217% respectiv ely, between 2000 and 2003 (Smith, 2004). The youth population (0–1 9) in Florida has shown increasing growth rates over the last 30 years, from 15.5% between 1970–1980 to 25.2% between 1990 and 2000. It is projected, that the 2010 census will count 4,495,447 people ages

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8 19 and younger, representing 23.7% of th e total state populat ion (Economic & Demographic Research, 2006). As previously mentioned, this increa se in the youth popul ation indicates the increase of Hispanic youth in the State of Fl orida. That is why a lack of attention to Hispanic youth development could lead to gr eater economic and social problems such as decline in worker skill levels, below average income, and increases in health and social services costs across the country. All th ese problems can affect the economy and structure of today’s society (Meh an et al., 1994). In order to address this issue, extension programs in the United States should foster cu lturally sensitive c ontexts that target specific needs of Hispanic youth, promoting mo re adequate strategies that help them achieve positive development. Reports suggest that Hispanics unde rgo unique educational and language challenges (Carlo, Carranza & Zamboanga, 2002) A good example is that Hispanics are less likely to complete high school and obtain a college degree compared to White non-Hispanic youth (Ramirez, 2004; Therrien & Ramirez, 2000). For this reason, it is important to consider that Hispanic youth ha ve particular character istics and obstacles to overcome such as: language barriers, poverty, immigration, acculturation, low educational attainment, low self-esteem, and mobility. These are obstacles that place them in very disadvantaged situations (C hain, 1993; Chapa & Valencia, 1993; Hurtado &Gauvain, 1997; Narro-Garci a, 2001; Orum, 1986; Va ldivieso, 1990). Changing demographics and distinct cultural factors relevant to Hispanics have prompted the necessity for culture-specific programmi ng (Zamboanga & Knoche, 2003). To work

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9 effectively with any ethic group, educators and extension agents need to be aware of the values in their own culture, as well as sens itivity to differences in other cultures. Hispanics are not only growing in numbers, but they are also moving to areas not previously populated by them. As a result extension’s Spanishspeaking audience has increased and understanding and addressing th e needs of the Hisp anic population is becoming increasingly important (Watson, 2001; Zamboanga & Knoche, 2003). One of the biggest challenges of exte nsion is to attract and increa se Hispanic clientele and to deliver programs that are cu lturally sensitive (Schauber & Castania, 2001). Based on the above, this study seeks to assess the factors th at limit the extension system’s ability to meet the needs for the Hispanic population specifically in the 4H Youth Development program. Through examining the impact on youth of past or present programs; interviews between 4-H professionals, youth a nd parents were be c onducted. The goal is to identify areas for improvements that can be translated into pr actical recommendations for the UF/IFAS extension system. Purpose This study aims to describe the perc eption of Hispanics about 4-H programs offered by the Cooperative Extension System in the State of Florida in southwest MiamiDade County. An aim of the study is to improve and develop programs that account for their specific needs. The ove rall purpose is to incr ease the ability of extension to respond to the Hispanics needs in Miami-Dade County. Objectives To describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic members and their parents. To describe the perceptions of 4-H and ar eas of interest of potential Hispanic members of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County.

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10 To describe the perceptions of 4-H prof essionals regarding Hispanics in MiamiDade County. Limitations The diversity of Hispanics in Florida. Hispanics are not only different from the general anglo and non-anglo population by most demographic and socioeconomic measures, but they also differ among them selves, representing a diverse collection of economic groups, nationalitie s, acculturation stages a nd English fluency levels. The resistance of Hispanics to participat e in the study as a result of the current situation of their immigration status in the United States. Researcher bias. She has a preconceived idea of why Hispanics do not participate in 4-H programs. In order to minimize this effect a third person, who is more objective, will collaborate w ith the researcher on data collection and interpretation to assure validity. Operational Definitions 4-H member: a youth that is currently involved in a 4-H traditional club in Miami Dade County. The researcher determined this for the purpos e of this study. Traditional 4-H club: a club consisting of boys and girl s from eight to 18 years of age. The club provides the members w ith high ideals of civic responsibility, community leadership, and contributed to youth and growth development. It has a planned program that is carri ed out throughout the year. The researcher determined this for the purpose of this study. Acculturation: is the multifaceted process of adjusting to a host culture and taking on the values, beliefs and behavior s of that culture (Dana, 1996). Assimilation: is the process of social, economic and political integration of an ethnic minority group into mainstream soci ety (Keefe & Padilla as cited in Shaull & Gramann, 1998). Cooperative Extension Service: is a nonformal educational program implemented in the United States, designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives (S eevers et al., 1997). Cultural awareness: this requires one to understand similarities and differences between one’s own culture and other cultures. This process begins by understanding qualities impor tant to one’s own culture (Oakland, in press). Focus groups: these are group interviews, fundame ntally for listening to people and learning from them. A moderator gui des the interview while a small group of

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11 six to eight participants who come from similar backgrounds discuss the topic the interviewer raises (Morgan, 1998). Hispanic: person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, C uban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race (Ramirez, 2004). Nonformal education: any organized educational activ ity outside the established formal system: whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity. It is inte nded to serve identifiable le arning clienteles and learning objectives (Smith, 2005). Youth development: is an ongoing process in whic h all youth are engaged and invested, a process where young people need to meet their basic needs and develop competencies they consider necessary for success (Pitmann, 1991). Summary In summary, Hispanics in the United Stat es and in the state of Florida are the fastest growing minority, and they are gaini ng ground. As a result, their presence will continue to be noticed, as more and more tim e goes by. This increase translates into an increase in the Hispanic yout h population, fifty percent of the Hispanic population in the country is under the age of 26 and thirty fi ve percent is younger than 18. Hispanics are the most undereducated group in the United Stat es. Consequently this contributes to lower-status occupations that translate into lower income and high poverty rates. In addition the lack of youth development program s targeted to Hispanics has hindered them from becoming successful young adults. Th is chapter provided a background, and a description of the importance and relevancy of the study as well as an overview of the current situation of Hispanic s in the United States and the need for youth development programs targeted to Hispanic youth.

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12 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter provides an overview of the av ailable literature on youth development, 4-H, and Hispanics. Youth development was discussed to give an overall purpose and need for youth development. Secondly, 4-H was di scussed to have an idea of what it is and what it offers youth for their developmen t. Lastly, the researcher provides an overview of the Hispanic culture its demographics and the cu rrent situation in the United States. Youth Development Youth can be described as young people, adolescents or teenagers. Making the transition from elementary school-age children to adolescents is a time with great change on many levels (National Re search Council & Institute of Medicine [NRCIM], 2002). Usually the most dramatic are the biologica l changes linked with puberty, that include shifts in the shape of the body, emergence of the menstrual cycle in females and onset of fertility (Herbert & Martinez, 2001). There are also major soci al changes linked with both school and shifts in the roles that adolescents are expected to assume as they mature. For example, teenagers select which peer groups to join and how to spend their time after school. They also make future educationa l and occupational plan s that they pursue through high school coursework and out-of-sc hool activities (NRCIM, 2002). Due to the impact that these choices and behaviors can ha ve over their future, it is important to look at different options on how to help yout h to make this transition smoother.

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13 Many researchers have proposed systematic ways to think about the developmental challenges, opportunities, and risk s of this period of life. The most prominent has been Erick Erickson with his theory of human de velopment. Erickson (1950) believed that humans develop through a life span; he developed eight psyc hosocial stages that humans encounter throughout their life. The stages identified by Erickson (Huitt, 1997; Sharkey, 1997) are as followed: Trust vs. mistrust Autonomy vs. shame and doubt Initiative vs. guilt Industry vs. inferiority Identity vs. role confusion Intimacy vs. isolation Generativity vs. stagnation Ego integrity vs. despair Erickson was one of the first theorists that recognized that the most important force driving human behavior and the development of personality was so cial interaction, and pointed out “ego strengths develop from trusting relationships” (Coughlan & WelshBreetzke, 2002; Huitt, 1997). Pitmann (1991) defined youth development as an ongoing growth process in which all youth are engaged and invested a proce ss where young people need to meet their basic needs and develop competencies that are considered necessary for success. It is a process that automatically involves all the people around youth includ ing family and community. A young person is not able to build essential ski lls and competencies and be able to feel safe; cared for, valued, useful, and spir itually grounded unless their family and community provide them with the supports and opportunities they need along the way (Center for Youth Development & Research, n.d.)

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14 In the past youth development was focu sing on problems that youth faced such as: learning disabilities, affective disorders; antisocial conduc t; low motivation and achievement; drinking; drug use; smoking; psyc hological crises triggered by maturational episodes such as puberty; and risks of neglect abuse, and economic deprivation that is common among certain populations (Damon, 2004; Lerner, Brentano, Dowling & Anderson, 2002). This approach viewed the a dolescence stage as a pe riod characterized with problems, where young people are seen as potential problems that need to be corrected before they harm themselves or others around them (Arnett, 1999; Damon, 2004; NRCIM, 2002). During the 1990’s youth development experien ced a shift from the approach that focused on the deficits of youth to an approach that emphasizes on supporting youth before problem behaviors arise (Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak & Hawkins, 1998, 2004; Damon 2004). Youth practitio ners realized that youth ha ve talents and needs that communities could no longer ignore. When so ciety fails to provide youth with support and opportunities, as adults they may experi ence unemployment, have drug or alcohol problems, commit crimes, and become a drain on community resources (National Clearinghouse on Family & Youth [NCFY], 2006) Positive Youth Development Approach According to Damon (2004) and Lerner et al. (2002), this approa ch begins with a vision of a fully able child eager to explor e the world, gain competence, and acquire the capacity to contribute importantly to its community. The approach recognizes the existence of adversities and developmental challenges that may affect children in different ways. It emphasizes that young people may appropriately be regarded as resources to be developed rather than a problem to society (Lerner, 2005).

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15 The focus of this approach is on providi ng services and opportun ities to support all young people in developing a sense of co mpetence, usefulness, belonging, and empowerment (DHHS, 2004). Another change brought by the positive youth development approach was the way child-co mmunity was understood. It considers the whole community in relation to the whole child rather than privileging any particular interaction of capacity (Damon & Gregory, 2002). This appro ach perceives the child as a full partner in the community-child rela tion, bearing a full sh are of rights and responsibilities. It works best when all the community, including young people, are involved in creating a variety of services and opportunities they need to develop into happy and healthy adults (NCFY, 2006). During the mid-1990’s the approach was solidified by the work of Benson (1997) and The Search Institute, they focused on the “developmental assets.” The Search Institute approach emphasizes the talents, en ergies, strengths, and constructive interests that every young person possesses (Damon, 2004). Th e Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities essential to raising successf ul young people. These assets are categorized into two groups of 20 assets (externa l and internal assets). External assets are the positive experi ences youth receive from the world around them. The 20 external assets are about supporting and empowering youth, about setting boundaries and expectations, and about positiv e and constructive us e of their time. Internal assets identify the characteristics and behaviors that refl ect positive internal growth and development of young people. Th ese assets are about positive values and identity, social competencies, and commitment to learning (Appendix A).

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16 The fundamental idea was that, the more of th ese assets that you pr ovide teenagers with; the less likely they are to become involve d in risky behaviors (Damon, 2004; Search Institute, 2006). Currently researchers are finding new evidence that offers an empirical demonstration of why increasing positive youth development outcome is likely to prevent problem behavior (Catalano et al., 2004). Th is evidence shows that the same risk and protective factors that studies have shown predict problem beha viors are also important in predicting positive outcomes (Catalano, Ha wkins, Berglund, Pollard & Arthur, 2002; Pollard, Hawkins & Arthur, 1999). Positive Youth Development Constructs According to Catalano et al. (2004, p. 102) The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretar y for Planning and Evaluation financed an evaluation project to look into youth deve lopment programs in the US. The project aimed at defining how youth development program s have been defined in the literature. The project also intended to locate, through a structured search, strong evaluations of these programs and summarize the outcomes of these evaluations. As result of the study an operational definition of youth developmen t was created. Positive youth development programs are approaches that seek to achieve one or more of the following objectives: Promotes bonding: bonding is an emotional attachment and commitment a child makes to social relationships in the family, peer group, school, community, or culture. Bonding is key to the developmen t of the child’s capacity for motivated behavior. Strategies promoting bonding combined with the development of skills are an effective intervention for adolescents at risk for antisocial behavior. Fosters resilience: resilience is an indivi dual’s capacity for ad apting to change and to stressful events in healthy and flexible ways. It is a charac teristic of youth who when exposed to multiple risk factors, show successful responses to challenges and use this learning to achieve successful outcomes.

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17 Promotes social competence: is the range of interpersonal skills that help youth integrate feelings, thinking, and actions to achieve specific social and interpersonal goals. Promotes emotional competence: is the abil ity to identify and respond to feelings and emotional reactions in oneself and others There are five elements of emotional competence, including knowing one’s em otions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognizing emotions in ot hers, and handling relationships. Promotes cognitive competence: it includes two overlapping but distinct sub-constructs. The first cons truct is defined as the abil ity to develop and apply the cognitive skills of self-talk, the reading and interpretation of social cues, using steps for problem-solving and decision-ma king, understanding the perspectives of others, the behavioral norms, a positive att itude toward life, and self awareness. The second construct is rela ted to academic and intellectual achievement. The emphasis is on the development of core capac ities including the ab ility to use logic, analytic thinking, and abstract reasoning. Promotes behavioral competen ce: it refers to effectiv e action. There are three dimensions: nonverbal communication, verb al communication a nd taking action Promotes moral competence: is the abil ity to assess and respond to the ethical, affective, or social-justice dimensions of a situation. Moral development is defined as a multistage process through which childre n acquire society’s standards of right and wrong, focusing on choices made in facing moral dilemmas. Fosters self-determination: it is the ability to think for oneself and to take action consistent with the thought. Self-determi nation is defined as the ability to plan one’s own course. Fosters spirituality: spirituality is defined as “relating to, consis ting of or having the nature of spirit; concerned with or affec ting the soul; of from our relating to God; of or belonging to a church or religion.” Researchers have found that religiosity is positively associated with prosocial values and behavior and negatively related to suicide ideation and attempts, substance a buse, premature sexual involvement, and delinquency. Fosters self-efficacy: is the perception th at one can achieve desired goals through one’s own action. Self-efficacy beliefs f unction as an important set of proximal determinants of human motivation, affect and action. Some researchers document that the stronger the perceived self-effi cacy, the higher the goals people set for themselves and the firmer their commitment to them.

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18 Fosters clear and positive identity: is the internal organization of a coherent sense of self. Identity is viewed as a “self structure,” an internal self-constructed, dynamic organization of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history, which is shaped by the child’s navigation of normal crises or challenges at each stage of development. Fosters belief in the future: it is the internalization of hope and optimism about possible outcomes. Research demonstrates that positive future expectations predict better social and emotional adjustment in school and a stronger internal locus of control. Provides recognition for positive behavior: behavior is strengthened through reward and avoidance of punishment and loss of reward. Reinforcement affects an individual’s motivation to engage in similar behavior on the future. Social reinforcers have major effects on behavior. Provides opportunities for pros ocial involvement: is the presentation of events and activities across different social environmen ts that encourage youth to participate in prosocial actions. It is es pecially important that youth have the opportunity for interaction with posit ively oriented peers and for i nvolvement in roles in which they can make contributions. Fosters prosocial norms: this seeks to en courage youth to adopt healthy beliefs and clear standards for behavior through a range of approaches. For example, providing youth with data about the sma ll numbers of people their age who use illegal drugs, so they decide they do not need to use drugs to be “normal.” Youth Development Programs Catalano et al. (2004, p. 115) examined tw enty-five effective youth development programs and summarized the main characteristics that made these programs successful. According to Catalano the characteristics of an effective positive youth development program include: Youth development construct: All the progr ams addressed at least a minimum of five positive youth constructs. The main constructs addressed were: competence, self-efficacy and prosocial norms. Measurement of positive and problem outco mes: There is a need for all positive youth development programs to measure bot h types of outcomes to assess fully the effects of these programs on youth. This integrated measurement approach will provide the field of youth development a greater understanding of programs effects on all important youth outcomes.

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19 Structured curriculum: Having a structured curriculum or structured activities is critical for program replication. This allows researchers and youth development professionals to go over the curriculum and choose activities that have been successful and replicate them in diff erent settings making the necessary adjustments. Program frequency and duration: The mo st successful programs were delivered over a period of nine months or longer. For a program to be successful and have long term impact there is a need to have continuity and follow up with the targeted audience. According to Knox, Bracho, Sa nchez, Vasques, Hahn, Sanders and Kampfner (2005), change takes time; buildi ng community trust is a process that can take several years. Program implementation and assurance of implementation quality: implementation fidelity has repeatedly been shown to be related to effectiveness. Among multiyear, well funded studies, separate ev aluations of implementation, in addition to outcome evaluations are common. Eff ective programs consistently focus on the quality and consistency of program implementation. Population served: three-fourths of the programs served African-American and European American Caucasian youth. About half of them included Hispanics and approximately one-third reported Asian Am erican youth among their participants. In order to have a successful program th ere is a need to understand and determine the needs of the target ed audience. The majority of the participants (75%) in the successful programs were African-Ameri can and European Caucasian youth. These results indicate that youth deve lopment professional have had a better understanding of these two distinct groups. Hispanics Population counts from the 2000 Census indi cate that the Hispanic population is the fastest growing group in the United Stat es. The United States Hispanic population increased from 22.4 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000. These numbers indicate that the Hispanic population grew more than 57% since 1990. This is over four times the growth of the total population, which increa sed by 13% during the same period (AlbaJohnson, 2003; Brindis et al., 2002d; Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Guzman, 2001). According to Valdez (2000) this reported incr ease within Hispanics in the United States does not include the immigrants that have an illegal status who are estimated to account for approximately 3.5 million people.

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20 Furthermore, Hispanics have continued to grow very rapidly since the last US Census. For example, the Hispanic population grew 9.8% between 2000 and 2002, while the population as a whole only had an increa se of 2.5% (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004). This high increase is a conse quence of the high rates of im migration among Hispanics. Immigration to the United States has b een greatest amongst Mexican and Central Americans fleeing the political and economic even ts in their countries of origin (Ortiz, 1995; Ramirez, 2004). The increase can also be attributed to the high rates of birth among Hispanics; in 2004 the rate was 22.9 pe r 1,000, which is the highest as compared to 11.7 per 1,000 of non-Hispanic White and 15.7 per 1,000 of African-American (Hamilton, Ventura, Martin & Sutton, 2005). Diversity and Cultural Traits In an attempt to provide a common denominat or to a large, but diverse, population with connection to the Spanish language or cu lture from Spanish-speaking countries the US federal government in the early 1970’s cr eated the term “Hispa nic” (Clutter & Nieto, 2006). In the past, Hispanics have been c onsidered a homogeneous group. Nevertheless, research has been able to show that Hispan ics are different from the general Anglo and non-Anglo population, as well as among themselves. Even though this entire popul ation is classified as Hisp anic there are major ethnic subdivisions within Hispanics, as well as di fferences in their socioeconomic and family characteristics (Ortiz, 1995; Ramirez, 2004; Suarez & Ramirez, 1999; Warrix & Bocanegra, 1998). The three main Hispanic groups in the country are: Mexican American, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans. Mexican American. They account for the 60% of th e total Hispanic population. Some are indigenous to the southwestern US and were already residing there when the

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21 territory was taken over by the US in 1848. Since the early 1900’s, immigration from Mexico has occurred at a high rate, although th e extent of immigration and the level of acceptance of Mexican Americans by non-Hisp anic white society has varied with economic conditions. Mexican immigrants have typically been poor and from rural areas. Puerto Ricans. They account for 10% of the total Hispanic population. Approximately 50% of the Puerto Ricans living in the US were born in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican migrants have typically been young, with a very low level of literacy and low occupational skills. In the past they have not done well economically in the US and are very disadvantaged in comparison to other Hispanic groups (Ortiz, 1986). Cuban American. According to Bean and Tienda (1987), the reasons why the Cuban American population migrated to the US were completely different from those that forced the Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans to migrate. The Cubans who immigrated to the US during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s were predominantly professional and entrepreneurs who fled Cuba when Castro came to power. Taking into account the Cubans background and the fact that they were granted a refugee status and subsequently resettlement assistance by the US government, has meant that they have done relatively well economically. Because of the nature of entry into the US, Cuban Americans have quickly integrated into the US economic structure while still retaining a strong Cuban American identity. In contrast, Hispanics are united by cust oms, language, and values (Clutter & Nieto, 2006; Griggs & Dunn, 1996; Valdez 2000) In order to de velop effective youth programs for Hispanics; youth pr ofessionals need to consider the needs, demographics,

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22 common cultural character istics and values of Hispanics. Valdez (2000), described the most common cultural traits in order to have a better understa nding of Hispanics. Familismo. The pillar of Hispanics culture is the family, which includes the extended family of grandparents, uncles, au nts, and cousins. The emphasis Hispanics place on relatives is called familismo. The fam ily’s needs and welfare take priority over the individual needs. The family, as a gr oup, is usually the first and only priority. Relationship with children A major difference between mainstream American and traditional Hispanic cultures is in child -rearing orientations. Children in Hispanic families are not believed to be capable of acting independently until they reach maturity regardless of physical and emotional developmen t of the child. This leads to parents keeping the child close and attached to the family. Machismo. This is a complex set of beliefs, att itudes, values, and behaviors, about the role of men that is pervasive in Hispanic culture. The concept refers to the roles men fulfill according to societal rules and how they view themselves w ith respect to their environment and other people. It involves how men function as providers, protectors, and representatives of their families to the outer world. They have obligations, responsibilities to uphold the honor of the family members, to deal effectively with the public sphere, and to maintain the integrity of the family unit. Machismo also refers to having socially acceptable, manly characteris tics, such as being courageous, strong, and virile. The manly image includes being seen as the head of the household, but listening to and being respectful of women. This trad itional role provides much more freedom for men than women with regard to sexual activity, public and social interaction.

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23 Marianismo. This is to some extent, the fema le counterpart of machismo. The term refers to an excessive sense of self-sacrifice found among traditional and less acculturated Hispanic women: the more sacr ifice, the better the mo ther, the better the spouse, many times to the detriment of the woman. This cultural trait is supported by a complex set of deep-rooted beliefs and va lues that determine how Hispanic women choose to live or not to live their lives. Etiquette. Hispanics tend toward formality in their treatment of one another. A firm handshake is a common practice between people as a greeting and for leaving. A hug and a kiss on the cheek are also comm on greeting practices between women, and men and women who are close friends of family. The Spanish language provides forms of formal and nonformal address (different use of “usted” vs. “tu” for the pronoun you, polite and familiar commands, the use of titles of respect before people’s first names such “Don” or “Doa”). In nonformal settings conversations are us ually loud, fast, and adorned with animated gestures and body langu age to better convey points. They tend to be more relaxed and flexible about time a nd punctuality than US people. Among them, not being on time is a socially acceptable beha vior; they tend to be reserved about public speaking because of their heavy foreign accent. Hispanic Youth The 2000 Census, and the most up-to-date pr ojections, indicate that Hispanics are the fastest growing youth population in the countr y. Projections indica te that by the year 2050 Hispanics will represent 29% of the youth population. Guzman (2001) and Chapa and De la Rosa (2004) report that more than one third are under age 18, as compared to about one quarter of non-Hispanics; they have much younger age distributions (median age of 26 years) compared to non-Hi spanics (median age 36 years).

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24 Hispanic youth as immigrants need to f ace their status as a minority group in the US where they need to adapt to a ne w language, experience discrimination, and overcome social problems that characteri ze them (Garcia Coll, Akerman, Cicchetti, 2000). For a better understanding of the proces s that Hispanics undergo to adapt to their new environment as members of the US societ y, there is a need to describe acculturation and assimilation. The distinc tion between these processes is based on the difference between culture and society (Gans, 1997). Acculturation is the degree to which Hispan ics have adopted the attitudes, values and behaviors of US society or rather an overly homogenized conception of it. Assimilation, on the other hand, refers to the Hi spanics’ move out of formal and informal ethnic associations and other social institutio ns into the non-ethnic equivalents accessible to them in US society (Gans, 1997; Lara, Gamboa, Kahramanian, Morales & Hayes Bautists, 2005; Suarez & Ramirez, 1999). A ccording to Rosenthal (as cited in Gans, 1997), immigrants begin to acculturate fairly quickly, but they assimilate much more slowly. Two reasons that explain why accultur ation is always a faster process than assimilation, is that American culture is a powerfully attractive force for immigrants (children are easily enticed, particularly thos e coming form societies that lack their own commercial popular cultures) and immigrants can acculturate on their own. In contrast they cannot assimilate unless they are given permission to enter the “American” group or institution, taking into account discrimination an d other reasons, often le ads to a denial of this permission to immigrants. Some researchers have stated that the mo re acculturated Hispanics are, the better off they are for integratation into US societ y (assimilation). According to Lara et al.

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25 (2005), more acculturated Hispanics have higher rate of insurance coverage and access to health care. Nevertheless, negative eff ects of acculturation have been demonstrated, acculturated Hispanic adolescents are more likely to engage in problem behaviors and less likely to engage in health promoting be haviors than the less acculturated. Therefore, this shows that although Hispanics deal with barriers that could be associated with problem behaviors, there are aspects of the Hispanic culture that serve as protective factors and contribute to a healthy lifestyle (Elbin, Sneed, Morisky, Rotheram-Borus, Magnusson & Malotte, 2001). Education. Hispanics have had much lower high school completion rates than blacks and whites since the early 1970’s (Willia ms, 2001). According to Brindis et al. (2002a), math scores of young students in all racial and ethic groups have improved since the early 1980’s. On the other hand, reading sc ores have remained fairly consistent. Between 1982 and 1999, the math scores of nine year old Hispanics rose by 4%, those of African-Americans rose by 8% and the sc ores of White non-Hispanic rose by 7% (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Fa mily Statistics [FIFCFS], 2002). These trends are not exclusively for younger students. They are also seen in middle and high school students as well. Rega rding college enrollment, Hispanics have one of the lowest rates of college attendance of all cultural groups in th e US (Hurtado & Gauvain, 1997; Therrien & Ramirez, 2000). Almost half (46%) of White non-Hi spanics and 39% of African-Americans who graduated from high school attend college. In comparison, only 33% of Hispanic high school graduates go on to college (Jamieson, Curry & Martinez, 2001).

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26 Family structure. As mentioned previously, the Hispanic culture has traditionally stressed the importance of family, placing a high value on marriage and children and on economic and social support among extended fa mily members. Hispanic households are typically larger than those of African-American and White nonHispanics. This is true for both married and single female-headed hous eholds. Thirty one percent of Hispanic households contain more than five people, compared to 21% of African-American and 11% of White non-Hispanic households (US Ce nsus Bureau, 1998). According to Ehrle, Adams and Touk (as cited in Brindis et al., 2002b), Hispanic teens are less likely than White non-Hispanic, but twice as likely as African-American teen s, to live with both parents. Half of all Hispanics live with bot h biological parents, 14% live in blended or cohabiting families and 35% live with a single parent. Poverty. In 2000, twenty seven percent of Hisp anic children under the age of 18 lived in poverty; compared to 30% of African -American children and 9% of White non-Hispanic children (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Therrien & Ramirez, 2000). According to Hernndez (1997), poverty rates among Hispanics vary by national origin. They range from a low of 16% for Cuban children to a high of 44% for Puerto Rican children. Poor children are at grea ter risk than non-poor child ren for a host of negative outcomes. They are more likely to perform poorly in school, to become teen parents and to be unemployed as adults (An, Have man & Wolfe, 1993; Duncan & Brooks-Gunn, 1997, 2000). In addition to facing greater risk of living in poverty, Hispanic children often face additional challenges such as la nguage, cultural barriers, and stresses of adjusting to US society. There is a close relationship between edu cation and poverty; the

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27 lower rates of high school and college gra duation in the Hispanic population translate into lower incomes for Hispanic families a nd higher proportions of Hispanic children living in poor families (B rindis et al., 2002c). Youth Programs According to Rodriguez and Morrobel ( 2002), despite the projections mentioned above youth development research has focused li ttle attention to the research of Hispanic youth development demonstrated by a revi ew of youth development research. To promote youth development among Hispanics, youth organizations must understand what their needs are and what competencies youth consider necessary fo r success. According to Garcia Coll et al. (2000), to implement an effective developmental program there is a need of an understanding of culturally specific values sy stem, which includes knowledge about culture, family, a nd individual values. Alba-Johnson (2003, p. 13) conducted a study th at reported on a re view of national youth organizations serving Hispanic middle and high school students. These programs represented a broad variety of emphases and services such as: after school, enrichment, arts, academic, leadership, employment, a nd mentoring. Outcomes reported by these organizations included: reduction of dropout ra te level, higher measures, and a positive impact in youth’s self esteem, self image, and cultural awareness. Fourteen “best practices” were identified and are described below: Culturally sensitive and appropriate: he lp Hispanic youth navigate between different cultures and deal with challenge s posed by racism and peer pressure. At the same time these programs impart a positive view of th eir own culture and respect for others. Some of the strategies/ activities that they have used include: a) promoting accommodation without assimilation-helping them fit in a new culture without losi ng their cultura l identity, b) providi ng bilingual bicultural services, c) employing staff with rele vant backgrounds, d) promoting cultural values and cultural pride, and e) uti lizing culturally driven curriculum.

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28 Resources to improve academic achievement: it is important to explicitly instruct Hispanic youth in the academic skills nece ssary to succeed in school. Some of the strategies/activities used are: a) provid ing formal instruction of academic skills necessary to succeed in school, b) de veloping well-planned and organized academic curriculum, c) providing tutoring and help with homework, and d) working toward impacting school practices. Responsive to the integral part of th e individual: target each individual’s characteristics, as well as the characte ristics of the environments in which young people live and function. The strategies/a ctivities include: a) employing a holistic approach, b) approaching services compre hensively-recognizing that contexts such as family, schools, and community are im portant to consider and c) providing multiple services-be located where other services are also offered. Focus on the potential of the individual not on the failures: provide value and support to youth by seeing and emphasizi ng their potential and assets. Also recognize and provide youth with positive feedback consistently. Positive role models: provide youth with role models and the support and nurturing of caring adults or older p eers. Exposing youth to real and meaningful examples of success especially when adults are successf ul professionals or students and share the same ethnic background, has a positive impact on Hispanic youth. The strategies/activities include: a) helpin g youth develop positive relationships with adults, b) using real examples of success by having older peers and former participants work as mentors and tutors and c) engage staff, guest speakers, and parents as role models. Empowerment of youth and promotion of so cial responsibility: empower youth to take control of their life, to be able to resist negative influences, and to make a difference in their society. The strategies/ activities include: a) placing students in responsible roles, b) providing opportuni ties for youth to part icipate actively in their community and c) including yout h in the process of planning -youth contribute and participate in the desi gn of civic and community activities. Provision of economic assistance and opportun ities for career awareness: provide youth with economic assistance through stipe nds and scholarships that enable them to assist with household expenses and pr ovide the means to go to college. The strategies/activities include: developi ng job skills and developing work and community based projects. Well defined program with high standards a nd high expectations: it is necessary to have clearly defined programs and se rvice outcomes where the youth service providers are aware of the goals and take steps in the development, design, and management of their programs to measur e progress. The strategies/activities include: a) conducting rigorous evaluation, b) promoting staff development and c) expecting participants to fulfill high standards.

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29 Introduction of participants to college cu lture: take time to advise and help youth on issues related to college such as admi ssions, financial aid applications, course requirements, and preparation courses; introducing Hispanic families and young people to the college culture. The strate gies/activities include: a) providing field trips to colleges, b) externalizing hidd en curriculum-teaching youth techniques that are key to academic success lik e test-taking, note taking and study skills, and c) promoting social and cultural capital. Safety and positive alternatives: create after-school opportunities for youth to participate in art, explore careers, provi de services to others, improve their academic achievement, or simply have a place to be after school. The strategies/activities include creating a safe environment and providing positive alternatives and allowing for self-expression. Support and advocacy: emphasis on consis tent, positive relationships and interactions between youth programs a nd supportive adults through low youth to staff ratios and one-on-one relationships. The strate gies/activities include: a) providing close attention and true interest, b) advocating on behalf of participants, c) providing a continuum of care, d) creating family-like environments and e) building bridges between cultures -acting as mediator s between Hispanic youth, their families and their schools. Sense of belonging: provide youth with a sp ace where they can identify with a peer group and be recognized by others thr ough public markers (notebooks, distinctive badges, or t-shirts) and promote vol untary associations where young people voluntarily decide to part icipate in a program. Encouragement of parental involvement: parents play an important role in the academic achievement, educational aspira tions, and college planning behaviors of youth. The strategies/activi ties include: a) involving pa rents in the education of their children, b) maintaining close communication with parents, and c) encouraging involvement in all program activities Establishment of partnerships: maintain solid connections and interactions with schools and communities where these colla borations foster the kind of support Hispanic youth and their families need to achieve their goals and improve their lives. The strategies/activities include: building partnerships with colleges and schools. Learning Styles According to Dunn and Griggs (1995), le arning style is the way in which each person begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information. Concentration occurs differently for different pe ople at different times. It is important to

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30 know many things about individual ’s traits to determine what is most likely to trigger each adolescent’s concentration, energize his or her processing style, and intervene to increase long-term memory. Research has recognized that teaching a nd counseling students with interventions that are congruent with the students’ learning style preferences result in their increased academic achievement and more positive at titudes toward learning (Acharya, 2002; Griggs & Dunn, 1996). Each cultural group tend s to have some learning style elements that distinguish it from othe r cultural groups. Due to th is, teachers, counselors and people who work with youth need to be aware of three critical f actors: a) universal principles of learning do exis t; b) culture influences bot h the learning process and its outcomes and, c) each adolescent has a unique learning style preference that affects his/her potential for achievement. Griggs and Dunn (1996) stated that research on the lear ning styles of HispanicAmericans in particular is limited. Within Hi spanic groups, the majority of studies have focused on the learning styles of Mexican-Ame rican elementary school children. Several studies have compared various ethnic groups of students in elementary school through college level using a measure that identifies 21 elements of learning styles grouped into five categories. Environmental learning style: elements include sound, temperature, design and light. A cool temperature and formal desi gn were identified as important elements for Mexican-American and Puerto Rican elementary and middle school students (Dunn, Griggs, & Price, 1993). Emotional learning style: elements include responsibility, structure, persistence, and motivation. A study reported that Mexican-American third and fourth graders were the least conforming of three ethnic groups studied.

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31 Sociological learning style: elements are c oncerned with the social pattern in which each student learns. Learning alone (as opposed to learning in groups) was preferred more by White non-Hispanic than by Mexican-American children. Mexican-American students require signifi cantly more sociological variety as compared to African-Americans and Wh ite non-Hispanics. Mexican-American males are authority-oriented and th e females are strongly peer-oriented. Physiological learning style: elements rela te to time of day, food and drink intake, perception, and mobility. Puerto-Rican co llege students exhibit a strong preference for learning in the late morning, afte rnoon and evening. The time of day preferences of Mexican-Americans are le ss clear. White non-Hispanics prefer drinking and eating snacks while learni ng significantly more than MexicanAmericans. Hispanics’ strongest perceptual strength is kinesthetic, this means that they learn better through m ovement provided by practical and hands-on activities. Movement includes learn by doing, being i nvolved in projects, discovery, role playing, real life activ ities, and learning standing up or using the large arm muscles to write as on flip chart or chalkboard. Psychological learning style: el ements relate to global versus analytical processing. The construct of field dependence/indepe ndence is a component of this learning style. Field dependent i ndividuals are more group or iented and cooperative and less competitive than field independent individuals. Research generally has indicated that Mexican-American and ot her minority children are more field dependent than non-minority children. Implications for counseling and teaching. Counselors, teachers and 4-H agents can be aware that, Hispanic-Americans are a very diverse group and include distinct subcultures that differ significantly as to cu stom, value and educational orientation. For immigrant Hispanic adolescents, identity formation and individuation (process by which social individuals become differentiated one from the other) can be especially challenging and problematic. This is because their cultural values include strong family loyalty and allegiance, values that are in conf lict with the behavioral styles of mainstream US adolescents who strive for self-expression and individuality. Fo r Hispanic youth with identity related problems, group counseling with peers who are experiencing similar conflicts can be helpful (Griggs & Dunn, 1996).

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32 Educators need to be aware of self-ima ge problems of Hispanic-American students that may result from rejection of their ethn icity and from attempts to conform to the larger Anglo culture. To addr ess these problems, educators can plan interventions that acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversity when teaching and counseling Hispanic youth. According to Jones, Reichard and Mokht ari (2003), increasin g youth awareness of their own learning styles may be quite help ful for increasing control of their learning habits and strategies. This should, in turn, influence their academic performance. Since youth brings diverse personal experiences, knowle dge bases, and learni ng styles to the classroom, their learning needs may require a mix of teaching and advising strategies. The best educators tend to be t hose who are able to use a rang e of teaching strategies and who use a range of interaction styles, rather than a single, rigid approach to teaching and learning (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Cultural Barriers According to Zamboanga and Knoche ( 2003), understanding and addressing the needs of the Latino population is becoming in creasingly important as the demographics of many communities in the US are changing. As previously mentioned, the changing demographics and distinct cultural factors relevant to Hispanics have prompted the necessity for culture-specific programming. In order to do this, people that aim at working with Hispanics have to be aware of factors such as: Education level: Hispanics te nd to have less education than other ethnic groups. Language: the majority of American Hisp anics speak Spanish at home. Bilingual staff are important to overcome this barrier. Poverty: the rate among all Hispanics was 22.6%, compared with the national average of poverty ra te 12.4 percent.

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33 Lack of understanding of the American free enterprise system: language and cultural differences leave ma ny Hispanics with little unde rstanding of certain basic skills and concepts to oper ate businesses (i.e. marketing, tax laws and record keeping). Misunderstanding of cultural values: cultural va lues like personalism, familism, and machismo, must be understood and addressed. Volunteerism According to O’Connell and O’Connell (1989) the United States is a country where giving and volunteering is a pervasive characte ristic of society. Research has shown that the typical adult volunteer is white, mi ddle-aged and middle-class (Safrit, King, & Burscu, 1993). According to Peterson, Bawde n, Harrel, Hill, Mincy, Nightingale, Turner and Walker (1992), many of the critical issues facing contemporary urban communities directly affect non-white, limited resource, and younger and olde r adult populations. Consequently, Lopez and Safrit (2001) suggest that volunteer agenci es and organizations should focus their efforts to identify and locate individuals with in these population segments for targeted recrui tment as program volunteers. Fisher and Cole (as cited in Lopez & Safrit, 2001) suggested that regardless of Hispanic American’s long tradition of invol vement in volunteer groups (trade and professional associations, and women’s and men’s clubs and unions) their numbers are underrepresented in contemporary volunteer pr ograms. Accroding to Hobbs (2000) in order to effectively and efficiently target and engage volunteers from the Hispanic community, volunteers programs must find ways to build relationships and establish trust within the community. Research shows that Hispanics volunteer, bu t their contributions are not reflected in the various statistics gathered on volunt eerism. Hispanics do not volunteer in the traditional American way. Their volunteerism first takes place within the family context

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34 and secondly in the neighborhood and church as opposed to mainstream community based organizations. In numerous Latin Amer ican countries, volunteeri ng is seen as an activity carried out by the wealt hy on behalf of the poor. As result of that Hispanics do not consider their contributions as volunt eering (Hobbs, 2001). The success of volunteer agencies and organizations in recruiting and retaining Hispanic volunteers depends on the awareness and sensitivity to the cultural di fferences between the American society and Hispanics. History of 4-H Through the 19th century, rural America set the soci al tone for the United States. At the end of the century, young people were m oving from the rural areas to the cities, drawn by the potential for jobs. They saw no future in staying home and working in agriculture. That is when people realized that young people needed skills to live and work in their homesteads (N4H, 2006; Rasmussen, 1989). The first record of any known 4-H type activity was in 1898. Liberty Hyde Bailey of Corn ell University inaugurated a system of junior naturalist leaflets in rural schools and a ssisted in the organization of nature study clubs (NDST Ex tension Service, 2005). In 1902, a superintendent of Springfield Township Ohio rural schools named A.B. Graham established the concepts of education in a club atmosphere in Ohio. In the early 1900’s he formed clubs that elected officers, focused on specific projects, held meetings and kept records for their accomplishments (N4H, 2006; Seever et al., 1997). At the same time, researchers that worked at th e experiment stations of the land-grant institutions and the United St ates Department of Agricultur e realized that many farmers were not interested in the ne w agricultural discoveries. Nevertheless, they found that youth were willing to “experiment” with the di scoveries and then share their experiences

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35 with adults. In a way these clubs became a way to transmit the newest agricultural technology to the adults (Seever et al., 1997; Van Horn, Flanagan & Thomson, 1998). The idea of rural clubs and educational demonstrations were popular and spread across the US and by 1905 the majority of th e states had rural clubs. When Congress formed the Cooperative Extension Service with the Smith Lever Act in 1914, it included boys and girls clubs. These clubs were soon known as 4-H clubs (N4H, 2006). The 4-H Program Four-H is one of the current base progra ms of the CES, 4-H is the youth component that promotes the intellectual, social, emo tional and physical development of the school-age youth (Cornell Univ ersity Cooperative Extension Se rvice, 2006). The goal of the program is to help young people become self-directing, producti ve, and contributing members of society (Collins, 1986; N4H, 2006.). Four-H brings young people and their families together with volunteers, commun ity members, and county level staff in a program that allows youth, families, volunteers and the community to learn and to grow. Youth acquire life skills and are guided by a concerned adu lt who is a volunteer leader. The 4-H members are actively involved in educ ational projects that are fun and that use quality curriculum that incorporate the most up-to-date research and knowledge available (N4H, 2006; Russell, 2001). The 4-H program is characterized by the colo rs green and white. White represents purity and high ideals and green represents gr owth. The program also has a pledge to remind the 4-H’ers of the four areas that the program focuses on and emphasizes the significance of having the ability to develop life skills “ I Pledge … My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, and My Health to better living, For My Club, my Co mmunity, my Country and my World” (N4H, 2006).

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36 Four-H differs from other youth development organizations because of the method it uses when working with children. While recreation is important for youth and their development, 4-H employs recreation not as an end goal, but as one method of engaging youth in science based education. The histor y of 4-H has been defined by science based, nonformal educational activities that are family and community based. Four-H is science based not only with regard to the substantive content of the educational activity (such as science literacy, aerospace technology or anim al science). It is also developmental science-based in its teachi ng methodologies that acknowledge the developing cognitive, behavioral, and social needs of children and adolescents. The curriculum is designed to be age appropriate, and to build and enhan ce skills over multiple years of involvement (Enfield, 2001; Van Horn et al., 1998). According to Van Horn et al. (1998) 4-H was one of the first youth focused organizations to utilize nonformal educati on as a means of reaching youth. Nonformal education has some similarities to formal education, is based on a commitment to learning and knowledge acquisition, and ther efore relies on carefully designed and scientifically sound curriculum and resour ces. Nevertheless, nonformal and formal education differ in the fact that one approach is based in a school building and the other one can take place anywhere in the community through clubs, camps, group meetings, sporting or arts activities, or youth led events (Table 2-1). Nonformal education is developmentally beneficial because it involves: Personal choice: Activities that encour age youth to choose their programs and projects are important because they o ffer youth the flexibility and freedom to explore their interests. When youth can choose the activities in which they participate, they have opportunities to pr actice and develop deci sion-making skills. These activities also enc ourage youth to clarify thei r interests and values.

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37 Experiential learning/Hands-on learning: Activities to fo ster the development of knowledge and skills. This has been a ke y characteristic of 4-H programs; the activities are designed to be engaging and interactive as they sequentially build skill sets. This active lear ning helps youth build confidence in themselves and their abilities. Development of personal relationships : Not only among youth but also between youth and caring adults. Through interacti on with multiple caring adults outside the family, young people receive guidance, di rection, and feedback that reinforces or builds on the effort of parents and ex tended family. Finally, access to multiple adult role models in addition to parents benefits youth emotionally, scholastically and interpersonally. The 4-H Delivery Methods According to the 4-H 101 manual (N4H, 2006) 4-H uses a variety of methods for reaching youth with opportunities that help th em grow and develop in positive ways. A brief description of the most co mmonly used methods is provided. Organized clubs: an organized group of youth with officers and a planned program that is carried-on through all or several months of the year. Special interest, short-term, or day camps: these delivery groups are usually shortterm and consist of members organized to work on one project or subject matter area, which is not part of a school curricul um. They have an informal structure and do not elect officers or plan long-term projects. Special interest groups meet for a specific learning experience i nvolving one or more sessi ons with direct teaching by the 4-H agent, volunteers, or teachers. Overnight camps: this delivery is a group experience that includes the youth participant being away from home at least one night in a resident, primitive, or travel camping experience. They are not re stricted to members of organized 4-H clubs. They have a clear educational or youth development purpose and meet the curriculum criteria. School enrichment: these programs are coor dinated with schools personnel and use selected 4-H learning materials as part of the school curriculum during school hours. They may involve one or more se ssions and should invol ve teaching and/or other activities led by 4-H agents, volunteers, and teachers. Individual study, mentoring, or family learning: this in cludes individual youth who live in remote areas or prefer to wo rk alone on a 4-H project experience. Mentoring activities include individual youth and adults working closely on a specialized project or activit y that is not associated with a 4-H unit experience.

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38 Family learning includes an organized curricu lum or experience that is delivered by parents to only their children and family members. Urban 4-H Programming In the beginning, 4-H evolved as a way of involving farm youth in practical hands on learning of agriculture and home economic s subjects relevant to their lives and community. Taking into account the complexity of economic, social and environmental issues 4-H has changed in several significant ways in the last 100 years (Kress, 2004). In addition, population shifts from rural to ur ban areas challenge extension to expand and redefine its traditional programs emphases to be meaningful to, and therefore supported by, a mostly urban audience (Schaefer, Huegel & Mazzoti, 1992). As a consequence, the need to develop urban 4-H programs ha s been recognized in several states. Texas Cooperative Extension (TCE) acknow ledged the need to redefine their traditional 4-H programs in order to reach their urban population. During the 1990’s census estimates made it clear the need to examine educational programming in urban counties. According to the census, about 50% of the 16.8 million Texas residents lived in six counties: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Be nd, Harris, Terrant and Travis (Fehlis, 1992; Texas Cooperative Extension, 2006). As a re sult the 1990 Urban Initia tive was created to provide urban counties with 4-H programs that focused on their specific needs. Currently Travis County has the Aerospace Camp that is a week-long summer camp. The Aerospace Camp began 12 years ago as a part of the Capital 4-H project. The 4-H Capital project is an effort to take 4-H pr ograms to inner city youth. The main objective is to take 4-H programs to youth if yout h does not engage in 4-H programs. During the school year Capital 4-H carries out after-school programs/projects and as part of the outreach component the Aerosp ace Camp is held during the summer. The

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39 Aerospace Camp is a science and technology camp that includes activities such as: building rockets, solar cars and exploring gl obal positioning systems. It also enables children to explore astronomy th rough the star lab. Parents cr edit this type of program with increasing their children’s positive development with statements such as “4-H instills a sense of integrity, self reliance and community spirit while the children are being educated and having fun.” In order to reach urban underserved youth University of Minnesota Extension has implemented a site-based youth developmen t programming within the Minnesota Urban 4-H Youth Development. This type of programming is an innovative method that aims to reach underserved youth with accessible, high quality, educational youth development programming. Each site is a public or subsidized housing neighborhood with a community center serving as th e hosting location for the 4H program. The site-based youth development programs are developed from the community up rather than from the program down. Residents of the community provide input into the program-development process. As a result, the program reflect s the community in terms of design, methods, and curricula. (Skuza, 2004; University of Minnesota Extension, 2006). This type of programming requires collaboration. A pa rtnership was formed between Urban 4-H Youth Development and housing agencies in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The housing sites provide facilities, volunteer, and progr am supplies, as well as transportation through their extended partnerships. Through collaboration, the reach and impact of programming is increased without duplica ting programs of increasing costs (Skuza, 2004).

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40 Cornell University Cooperative Extension in New York City (CUCE-NYC) designs projects and brings together resources in their programs to develop competencies and skills through age appropriate activities. The programs tr y to strengthen the foundation skills of youth literacy, scien ce, technology and math. It also tries to enhance the personal development of youth and build l eadership skills. The CUCE-NYC works closely with partners to de velop and implement educational programs that use innovative, science-based and hands-on learning strategies One of the most successful programs is the Garden Mosaics and Urban Agriculture pr ogram. In the program, youth gain and demonstrate horticultural science and urba n agricultural skills, while conducting environmental and community development pr ojects that benefit their community. In 2005 more than 150 Bronx-based educators and youth learned about the Garden Mosaics program. Youth learned about the valu e of community gardens as neighborhood resources and gained an appreciation for th e relationship between their local environment and their health and well-being (Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 2005). The 4-H Clubs According to the 4-H 101 manual (N4H, 2006) the 4-H club serves as the primary means of delivering youth development program ming in 4-H. It has the advantage of providing long-term involvement with the support of “caring” adults. Youth are reluctant to take ownership in groups or establish re lationships with leaders when they appear temporary. Four-H clubs are organized and supported to be ther e for youth throughout their developmental years. While the other delivery methods are effective, the more indepth experiences occur in and through the club. The goals and structure of the clubs vary according to the need of the members they serve. Some clubs offer a selection of proj ects delivered through project meetings held at

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41 times outside the clubs. Some clubs have a singular focus such as community service clubs, or they target a specific audience such as tribal reservation clubs or after-school clubs or home-school clubs. But there are el ements and characteristics that are common to all 4-H clubs and these are: An organized group of youth. A planned program that is ongoing th roughout all or most of the year. Advised by adult staff or volunteers. Typically elects officers. May meet in any location. Includes opportunities to lear n skills through a variety of project experiences. Offers opportunities for leadership, citizen ship/community service, and public speaking. Impact of 4-H Many people describe what is learned in 4-H as ‘life skills.” In other words, 4-H teaches young people skills that will help them lead a productive life (Dubas & Snider, 1993). Parents, other adult vol unteer leaders, extension agents, peers, and others associated with 4-H programs have a direct impact on the youth involved. Learning life skills through 4-H is a youth de velopment process. Through learning life skills, youth are developing in areas such as leadership, citizenship, and community service. The impact of 4-H has been recognized in several studies. Ladewig and Thomas (1987) conducted a national te lephone survey of 710 former 4-H members, 743 former members of other youth organizations, and 309 non-participants in youth organizations. The goal was to compare youth organizations and their impact on youth development. Those who had joined 4-H and other youth group s were similar in personal life skills characteristics, but different from the non-pa rticipants. Four-H pa rticipants were found to have significant development in the life skills areas of knowle dge and self-worth. Four-H alumni were significantly higher in the following areas th an the other youth

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42 organizations’ participant regard ing: making decisions and free dom to develop skills. No significant difference between 4-H partic ipation and other youth organizations participation was found in the following areas: planning activities and making a contribution. This study suggests that partic ipation in 4-H and other youth organizations had a positive impact on life skill development. Matulis, Hedges, Barrick and Smith (1988) conducted a study in Ohio, and mailed questionnaires to a random sample of 275 4-H alumni. The questions consisted of three areas of 4-H impact: self-awareness, career awareness, explorati on, and selection; and work competency development. Alumni cr edit the 4-H program with increasing their self-awareness by identifying with the statemen ts such as “I discovered things I enjoy doing” and “I discovered things I did well. ” The impact of 4-H on career awareness, exploration and selection was a ssessed through statements such as, “I learned that things I enjoyed doing could lead to a career,” a nd “ I expanded my knowledge of people or materials available to explore careers of interest to me.” Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992), compar ed 4-H and non-4-H youth in their leadership life skills. The study sample c onsisted of 309 randomly selected Texas 4-H members between the ages of 13 and 19 and 558 non-4-H youth in randomly selected schools. The survey instrument consisted of 21 leadership life skills statements in five measurements scales. Results of the st udy found 4-H club members to be significantly higher than non-4-H youth in the level of attainment of all five of the life skills measurement scales: leadership, communica ting, working with groups, understanding self, and making decisions.

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43 Mead, Rodriguez, Hirschl, & Goggin ( 1999), conducted a two year study that focused on understanding the impact that 4H club involvement has had in New York State. Among the findings of this study are: participation in 4-H has a positive effect in the development of life skills, youth do better in school, and they are more motivated to help others. Youth also developed skills in leadership, public speaking, self-esteem, communication and planning, and they are able to make long-lasting friendships. They also developed a positive relationship with cari ng adults such as pare nts, volunteers and extension agents. The particip ants also indicated that thei r clubs provided them with a safe environment, where they were able to spend time with their friends and work on the different projects. Thomas (2004), conducted a study to determin e if Florida 4-H participants were attaining positive youth development outcomes th rough their participation in 4-H. Five counties were selected and the sample youth we re between the ages of 13 and 18 years. Independent variable measured were de gree of participation, non-4-H time, and participant’s demographics. Dependent variables for measuring positive youth development outcomes consisted of the construc ts of relationships, safe environment, belonging, service and leadership, self-dev elopment and positive identity. When correlated to the degree of par ticipation all the constructs showed a positive correlation with belonging, service and leadership, self -development and positive identity showing a significant correlation. The study showed that 4-H members feel that 4-H provides them with positive relationships, a sense of bel onging, a safe environment, an opportunity for service and leadership, for self-develop ment, and it creates a positive identity.

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44 Outreach to Hispanics As previously mentioned, Hispanics ar e the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. For this reason CES has seen the need to encourage teaching, research, and outreach activities that can enhance the well-being and success of this population. The need to increase Hispanic enrollment in 4-H programs has been recognized in several states. Oregon State University (OSU) Extensi on acknowledged the need to increase Hispanic participation and to design programs more accessible to them. In 1996 a survey was conducted among 4-H agents in counties with the most significant Hispanic population asking them why Hispanic youth was not participating in th eir programs. The main reasons were: agents did not speak Sp anish and could not communicate with them, the lack of understanding of the culture and outreach is time consuming. These responses were taking into account and in 1997 OSU extension funded the Oregon Outreach Program, the program has been successful and today 13 of their 36 counties have Hispanic outreach efforts (Oregon State Univ ersity Extension Service, 2006). The key to OSU extension’s success in enga ging Hispanics are that the 4-H agents are ready to make a long-term commitment to actively participate in outreach, extension administration’s commitment and support at al l levels, and the suppor t of the extension audience. Another factor that has contributed to their success is staffing for outreach this translates into hiring people who are bilingual/bicultural. Retaining the bilingual/bicultural staff is a challenge ther e needs to be constant communication among the staff, recognition by valuing their knowle dge and experience and promoting a sense of community.

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45 University of California Cooperative Exte nsion 4-H developed in Santa Barbara County “Agua Pura” in collaboration with the County’s Project Clean Water. This project engages Hispanics and their families in watershed and water quality issues by integrating their needs, issues and concer ns through hands-on educational experiences, and service projects. The project has involved approximately 3,500 youth, and it has reinforced the sense of family by having the parents train their ch ildren in working the land and having children train their pa rents in using computers. Among the accomplishments of the projects are that many youth participants have gone onto college education and elected majors such as busine ss, technology and science related fields. The participants have expressed th at their involvement in the pr oject helped them developed new work skills and self-confidence (U niversity of California Davis, 2006). University of Illinois Extension formed a partnership with the Hispanic/Latino Coalition of Will and Grundy Counties (HLC) to develop programs that address the needs of the Hispanics rather than just one project with a limited audience. The HCL agreed to co-sponsor a summer camp for Hispanic children to expose them to extension 4-H youth development programs. The camp was designed for 5 days from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. based on a camp clover curriculu m. The morning session, Monday through Thursday, focused on three specific topics : Que Rico-Latino Cultural Arts, Food Guide Pyramid Revisited, and Aerospace Adventures; the 4-H pledge was recited in English and Spanish. The afternoon program consisted of a variety of physical fitness activities, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, judo, and jump rope. The activities for Friday included a morning session of hands-on scienc e and physical activities, with recognition and concluding ceremonies in the afternoon. The camp has demonstrated that extension

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46 programs can be effectively carried out in Hispanic communities (Farner, Cutz, Farner, Seibold, & Abuchar, 2006) Summary This literature review ch apter was compromised of: youth development and how it has evolved through time and what are the main characteristics of a good youth development program. It also describes wh at 4-H is, and what it can offer to youth through their core program. Fi nally it provides a broad overv iew of the current situation of Hispanics and especially youth in the Unite d States. Literature documents that taking into account Hispanics current demographic a nd their status as a minority is important when developing youth development programs. Four-H could be a good alternative for Hispanics to participate in youth developmen t programs, since it can provide Hispanic youth with a safe environment and allow ch ildren to socialize and get involved in valuable after-school activities. Table 2-1: Formal versus nonformal education Formal Education Nonformal Education Committed to learning Committed to learning Carefully planned curriculum Carefully planned curriculum Takes place in a physical building Occurs anywhere in a community Based on standards for knowledge Ba sed on community/youth interests and needs Certified teachers Training professionals and volunteers Youth are tested and grades Youth accomplishments are recognized and celebrated Source: Russell (2001) .

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47 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY In this chapter, the methodology used to accomplish the objectives of the study will be explained. The three objectives for this study were to describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispan ic members and their parents, to describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Da de County, and to describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. The research design, target population, instrumenta tion, data collection, and analysis will be explained. Research Design This is a descriptive study, in that it is describing the Hispanic 4-H members and their parent’s perceptions regarding their part icipation in traditiona l 4-H clubs. It also describes the perceptions of non-4-Hers and their parents regarding 4-H programs offered in Miami-Dade County. The study also descri bes the perceptions of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade C ounty. This study used focus groups and interviews with 4-H agents to acco mplish the objectives of the study. The researcher developed four different interview guides for the focus groups and a structured interview guide for the 4-H agen ts. The interview guide was designed for current Hispanic 4-H members of a traditi onal 4-H club. The second interview guide was for parents of current 4-H members of a trad itional 4-H club. The third interview guide was designed to collect informa tion from non-4-Hers that reside in the southw est area of Miami-Dade County. The fourth intervie w guide was for parents of non-4-Hers.

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48 Given that this study was primarily descrip tive, qualitative methods were utilized for the data collection. With qualitative me thods participants are interviewed and observed in their natural settings. The research er is able to get a firsthand look at the settings as the participants desc ribe them. It also allows participants to raise topics and issues the researcher did not an ticipate but yet be important to the study. The participants are allowed to express their f eelings and perspectives and cl arify any information that the researcher does not understand. Qualitative da ta collection provides an environment where the researcher and the pa rticipants are dire ctly involved and where the information gathering techniques can become a learning process for both parties (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002; Myers, 1997). The researcher accomplished objectives one and two by using focus groups. The advantage of using focus groups is that this method possesses elements of the two major techniques used by researchers to collect qual itative data that are participant observation and individual interviews. Basically focus groups are a wa y of listening to people and learning from them (Morgan, 1998). Focus groups create multiple lines of communication; the group setting offers partic ipants a safe environment where they can share ideas, beliefs and attitudes among pe ople from their same background (Madriz, 2000). The third objective was accomplished through interviews; this method is one of the most widely used for obtaining qualitative data. Interviews enable the researcher to gather information from the participants re garding their opinions, be liefs, and feelings about the situation in their own wo rds (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002). Population This research relied on a nonprobability sampling technique called purposive sampling, where the researcher selected the participants based on the objectives of the

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49 study and the potential contribu tions of the participants. This study consisted of five populations of participants: a) 4-H member s of a traditional 4-H club in Miami-Dade County, b) parents of current 4-H members of a traditional 4-H club in Miami-Dade County, c) non-4-Hers of the southwest area of Miami-Dade County, d) parents of non-4Hers of the southwest area of Miami-Dade County and e) 4-H professionals of MiamiDade County. The researcher purposely sel ected the southwest area of Miami-Dade County because of the high concentra tion of Hispanics in that area. The 4-H Members The participants for this focus group were recruited by contacting the 4-H agent in Miami-Dade County. The agent and the research er worked closely to select a club that primarily consisted of Hispanics. Due to the low participation of Hispanics in traditional 4-H clubs in Miami-Dade County, the researcher was not able to work with a traditional club that was made up only of Hispanics. The club selected for the study was very diverse and the one that had the highest Hisp anic participation. El even members of the club voluntarily and with their parent’s permission participated in the focus group. Out of the eleven participants six were Hispanic three were African-American and two were White. Regarding gender, three were male and eight were female. The focus group was conducted entirely in English. Parents of 4-H Members The participants of this focus group were recruited by contacting the 4-H agent in Miami-Dade County. Since the parents had to be contacted to request permission for the children to participate in the 4-H focus group, they were also presented with the idea of participating in the study. A total of ten pare nts voluntarily participated in the study. Out of the participants eight were Hispanic a nd two were White. More than one parental

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50 member of two of the Hispanic 4-H member s participated in the focus group. Regarding gender five were male and five were fema le. The focus group was conducted in English and Spanish because some participants were not fluent in English. Non-4-H Members In order to recruit the part icipants for this focus gr oup, the researcher contacted various schools and Hispanic churches in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County. Finally the researcher was able to establish ra pport with a youth past or of a well establish Baptist Church in the area. The researcher we nt on to explain to the pastor the purpose of the study and solicited suppor t to recruit participants. The pastor contacted the principal of a nearby school and asked if they would be willing to participate in the study. The principal and the researcher worked closely to select the participants. A total of eleven students voluntarily and with their parent’s permission part icipated in the focus group. Out of the eleven participants all were Hispanic and regarding gender three were male and eight were female. The focus group was conducted entirely in English. Parents of non-4-H Members These participants were recruited at the same time as the non-4-H members. Since the parents had been contacted through the yout h pastor and the principal of the school to request permission for their children to partic ipate in the non-4-H focus group, they were presented with the idea of participating in th e study. A total of ni ne parents voluntarily participated in the study. All the participants were Hispanic ; five were female and four male. The focus group was conducted in English and Spanish because some participants were not fluent in English.

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51 The 4-H Professionals The researcher automatically selected two 4-H professionals of Miami-Dade County. The researcher interviewed a 4-H agen t and a program assist ant, and they were both females. Regarding race one was White and the other one was Hispanic. Even though both participants were fluent in English one interview was conducted Spanish. The participants felt more comfortable conducti ng the interview in th eir mother tongue. Instrumentation In order to collect the necessary data to complete the study, the researcher developed an instrument for each group of participants: 4-H members, parents of 4-H members, non-4-H members, parents of non-4-H members and 4-H agents. The researcher developed these instruments after reviewing The Focus Group Guidebook (Morgan, 1998). The questions for the focus gr oups consisted of five types of questions as noted in Table 3-1. The researcher developed a moderator’s assent text for focus groups with participants under eighteen and one for the adults. The assent basically outlined the moderator’s introduction; it gave a brief e xplanation of the stu dy and established the ground rules that were going to be follo wed during the session (Appendix B & C). 4-H members. The researcher developed an inte rview guide that collected data from 4-H members in reference of their percep tions of 4-H, their perceptions regarding the benefits of participating in a 4-H club as well as their perceptions on how 4-H can increase their enrollment in 4-H clubs (Appendix D). Parents of 4-H members. The researcher developed an interview guide that targeted parents of 4-H members. It was used to collect information regarding the

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52 participants overall perceptions of the program, what is effective and ineffective as well as how they think their children be nefit from the program (Appendix E). Non-4-H members and parents of non-4-H members. The researcher developed an interview guide for non-4-H members and another set for parents of non-4-H members. These instruments were designe d to collect inform ation from non-4-H members and their parents. They were utilize to gather information about their knowledge of 4-H, their degree of desire of participating in a youth program like 4-H, as well as, the elements a 4-H club should have in order for them to become members (Appendix F & G). 4-H professionals. A structured interview gui de was developed for 4-H professionals. It was used to collect informa tion about current programs they offer within the county, perceptions regarding Hispanics, as well as the barrier s and obstacles they foresee working with this group (Appendix H). Given that this is a qualitative study, validity, credibility, transferability and dependability were taken into ac count by the researcher. Valid ity is defined as the extent to which an instrument measures what it claims to measure (Ary et al., 2002). For this purpose, a panel of two experts from the De partment of Agricultural Education and Communication and one expert from the Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department at the University of Florida reviewed the five instruments developed. Credibility is known to be how well the re searcher has established confidence in the findings based on the research design, partic ipants, and context (Ary et al., 2002). In order to enhance the credibility of the study the researcher us ed the method of referential or interpretive adequacy. According to J ohnson and Christensen (as cited in Ary, et al.,

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53 2002) this method refers to “accurately portray ing the degree to which the participant’s viewpoints, thoughts, feelings, intentions, and experiences are accurately understood and portrayed.” The two strategies used by the researcher to enhance referential adequacy were the following: Member checks. This is basically participant’s f eedback. At the end of the data collection period, the researcher shared he r interpretations of the data with the participants. This enabled the researcher to clear up any miscommunication, identified inaccuracies, and obtained additional data. Low inference descriptors. It is the use of direct quota tions that is described as exactly what the participants said; it is extrac ted from the field notes. This will help the reader experience the participant’s world. Transferability is defined as the degree to which the results of the research can be generalized or transfe rred to other contexts or settings (Trochim, 2000). The researcher addressed this by providing great detail and description of the context of the study to allow future researchers the ability of decidi ng to “transfer” the re sults to a different context. Dependability is known as when the consiste ncy is examined as to the extent to which variation can be tracked and explai ned (Ary, et al., 2002). The researcher addressed dependability by using a strategy audit trail. The audit trail contained the raw data gathered through the focus groups and interviews. Data Collection Procedure A review of the study by the Institutiona l Review Board (IRB) preceded the data collection. The IRB-02, located at the Univ ersity of Florida, reviews non-medical research proposals for ethical soundness. The IRB approved the research proposal and

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54 assigned an IRB protocol num ber (2005-U-805) for the study. The researcher presented each participant with an informed consen t form letter prior to each focus group and interview, an example is provided in Appendi x I. The informed consent described the study, the researcher, and any pot ential risk associated with participating in the study would require, and they were informed there was no compensation for their participation. Participants decided to part icipate voluntarily in the st udy and by signing the form that they confirmed their acceptanc e of the terms. The data collection occurr ed during the months of March, April and May 2006. The fo cus groups lasted from 1 to 2 hours and the interviews from 30 minutes to an hour. Formal review of the data occurred during June through July 2006. Prior to hosting the focus groups with 4-H members and their parents the researcher worked closely with the 4-H agent, 4-H leader and parents. In order to establish trust and rapport the researcher provided the 4-H agent an d 4-H leader with a copy of the proposal of the study outlining the study objectives and th e procedures in addition to a copy of the instruments. Providing the 4-H agent and 4-H leader with a copy of the proposal allowed the researcher to esta blish rapport with the ad ults and was able to answer any questions they had regarding the whole process befo re involving the children in the study. Then the researcher proceeded to explai n that the 4-H member focus group and the parent’s focus group were going to be held on different days. The focus groups were held on different days because the research er wanted to create a more comfortable environment for the participants. Once the adu lts had agreed to participate in the study and also allow their children to do so, they continued to establish the dates and time each focus group was going to take place. It wa s agreed that the 4-H members focus group

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55 was going to be held after one of their mont hly meetings. The parents focus groups were held three weeks later. A pizza party was hos ted before the parents focus group, this was done so adults, children and the researcher could socialize and create a friendly and comfortable environment. On the days the focus groups were hosted the researcher arrived 1-1 hour ahead of time. She met with the 4-H agent and 4-H leader to go over the process that was going to be followed. Being there ahead of time allowed the researcher to socialize with the children before starting the focus group. It also permitted her to determine the layout of the equipment for the room. Prior to the cl ub’s monthly meeting the researcher was introduced by the 4-H leader to the children. The researcher introduced herself and gave the children an overview of the study and what the focus group was going to consist of. She also made it very clear that participat ion was completely voluntarily and that they could withdraw from the group at any point in time without an explanation. Following the monthly meeting held by the 4-H club, only the children that wanted to participate in the stud y stayed. Before starting th e focus group the researcher introduced the observer, explained to the children the dynamics of a focus group, and informed them that they were going to be recorded. The researcher explained to the participants that they were going to sit around a table, and th at each of them was going to pick out a nickname so they could have conf identiality while being recorded. As a result of selecting nicknames the children were more at ease because it was clear to them that there were no right or wrong answers a nd that they were not being evaluated. Furthermore, the researcher explained to the ch ildren that they had to raise their hand and

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56 say their nickname before answering a quest ion. Finally the res earcher explained and went over the informed consent with the children. The same process was followed with the focus groups of non-4-H members and their parents. They differed in the fact that the researcher made cont act with a pastor of a church. Through the pastor the researcher was able to contact the principal of a Christian school and coordinate a meeting. The fact th at the pastor was i nvolved in the process gave credibility to study. Consequently, th e principal and the pare nts were more willing to participate and collabor ate with the researcher. Moderating the focus group. At the beginning of each focus group, the moderator established rapport immediately by thanking the participants for coming and letting them know that wit hout them the study would not be possible. Once the participants and the moderato rs had picked out their nic knames, the moderator went ahead and established ground rules and showed them where the refreshments and the restroom were. After the introductions and general purpose of the focus groups was reiterated, warm-up questions were asked in or der to facilitate discus sion. As participants became more comfortable with the discussi on, the moderator became more specific. When the stipulated time period was almost up, the moderator began to wrap up the session by summarizing the discussion to make sure the she had interpreted correctly what the participants had said. Finally th e moderator provided a significant closing statement, thanked the participants for their time and assured them that their responses were going to be completely confidential. Th e researcher also gave participants thank you notes and souvenirs from her home country to show them her gratitude for their participation in the study.

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57 The researcher coordinated and scheduled th e interviews with the 4-H professionals according to their work agenda. The inte rviews were done in places where both the participants and the researcher were comforta ble and at ease. This made it easier for the researcher because it was more like a c onversation rather then an interview. Data Analysis The focus groups and the interviews were taped (audio only) then they where professionally transcribed by Docu ment Express. The researcher used domain analysis to analyze the data. The first st ep that followed was the transl ation of conversations that were held in Spanish to Englis h. Subsequently the researcher read through the transcripts and colored-coded (marker technique) each question and the discussion that was associated with each question. The use of th e marker technique allowed the researcher to identify when there was a topic change in th e transcript. Next th e researcher conducted an initial coding by generating numerous catego ry codes reading over the transcriptions. Since the codes are not always mutually ex clusive, a piece of text might be assigned several codes. After the initial coding th e researcher moved on to focused coding by eliminating, combining or subdividing codi ng categories. The researcher looked for repeating ideas and major themes that connected codes. This classification was possible with the help of the marker technique in wh ich similar responses are highlighted with a marker of a certain color whic h represents a certain code. Once the data was coded the researcher went on to arrange the data according to the study objectives using the cut-and-paste methodology (Stewart & Shamdasami, 1990). This method allowed the researcher to dist ribute and organize th e data collected under each objective. Major themes emerged under each objective and conclusions and recommendations were drawn from the data.

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58 Summary This chapter described the study in terms of the research design, the population of the study, the instrumentation, and data analys is procedure. In summary, this is a descriptive study that provides an insight of the perceptions and the impacts of traditional 4-H club among its members and their parents. It also describes the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest among potential Hispanic members, and it finally describes the perceptions of the 4-H extension agent in Mi ami-Dade County regarding Hispanics. The populations under study included 4-H members and their parents; non 4-H members and their parents as well as the 4-H extension agen ts. The primary methods used to gather the information for this study were focus groups and interviews. The results of the study were analyzed using the domain analysis method. Table 3-1: Categories of question for focus groups Question Type Purpose Opening Designed to be answered qui ckly and identify characteristics participants have in common. Participants get acquainted and feel connected. Introductory Introduce the general topic of disc ussion and/or provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on experiences and their connections with the overall topic. Transition Move the conversation toward the key questions that drive the study. Key Drive the study Ending Bring closure to the discussion; enable participants to reflect on previous comments. Source: Morgan (1998)

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59 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of Hispanic parents and youth about 4-H programs offered by the Coope rative Extension Service Miami Dade County. Qualitative methods, including semi -structured interviews and focus groups, were used to collect data in answering the objectives identified in Chapter 1. The objectives were to: Describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic members and their parents. Describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of 4-H clubs in the Southwest area of Miami-Dade County. Describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regardi ng Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. Participants This study consisted of five different groups of participants (a) 4-H members, (b) parents of 4-H members, (c) non 4-H members, (d) pare nts of non 4-H members, and (e) 4-H professionals. Each group of particip ants had certain char acteristics regarding age, race, gender and year of involvement in 4-H. Four focus groups were conducted; demogr aphic data collected was limited due to the confidential nature of the focus group environment. Tables 4-1, 4-2, 4-3 and 4-4 present the known demographic information of participants in this study. The focus groups consisted of: a) 4-H members, b) Pare nts of 4-H members, c) Non 4-H members;

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60 and d) Parents of non 4-H members. In additi on, interviews were c onducted with two 4-H professionals. 4-H members. Overall three males and nine females participated in the focus group. Ages ranged from nine to 15 years of age, and their involvement in 4-H clubs ranged from four months to eight years. Out of the eleven participants, six were Hispanic; three were African-American, and two were White. Parents of 4-H members. Overall five males and five females participated in the focus group discussion. The participants involv ement in the 4-H club with their children ranged from two years to 12 years. Out of te n participants eight were Hispanic and two were White. Non-4-H members. Overall three males and eight females participated in the focus group discussion. Participants’ ages ra nged from eight to 13 years, and school grade ranged from third to seventh grade. All the participants in this group lived in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County and were Hispanic. Parents of non-4-H members. Four males and five females participated in the focus group discussion. They all lived in th e southwest area of Miami-Dade County and were Hispanic. 4-H professionals. Two females participated in the semi-structured interviews, one was Hispanic and the other participant wa s White. Both had been involved with 4-H (as a member or professionals) for at least 15 years. One was an extension agent and the other one was a program assistant. Objective 1 Objective one was to describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanics members and parents. In or der to achieve the objective, two different

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61 focus groups were conducted; one with the 4-H members and the second one with the parents of 4-H members. In the focus group with 4-H members, six themes emerged, and in the focus group with the parents of 4-H me mbers four themes emerged as described in Table 4-5. 4-H Members Perceptions and Impacts of 4-H At the beginning of the focus group discussi on, participants were asked to define 4-H. Once it was defined the researcher we nt on to uncover how they initially found out and how they got involved in the 4-H club. Th en the researcher c ontinued to determine what the participants thought about participating in the 4-H club and whether their participation in the club had any positive or negative consequences. The participants were also asked to reveal what they thought that their 4-H club needed to be a perfect 4-H club. Finally the participants advised the re searcher on how to en courage other children to participate in a 4-H club. The major them es that were identified among the children were as follows: 4-H is agriculture and fun When the participants were asked to desc ribe what 4-H was to them, participants linked 4-H to agriculture and fun activities. They also described how being in 4-H has allowed them to develop an appreciation for ag riculture even when they live in an urban county. Some of the participants expressed that before joining the 4-H club they had never had contact with farm animals or agricu lture. The majority of participants do not live on a farm. Participating in the 4-H cl ub has given them the opportunity to have contact with nature and learn a bout the anatomy of animals. Simultaneously, they have established relati onships with other children and adults. Being part of a 4-H club had provided the partic ipants an opportunity to learn about other

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62 cultures as well as given them a chance to l earn about hard work a nd the benefits that agriculture has for everyone. Some of the statements provided by the participants when asked the questions “When you hear the word 4-H what come to mind?” and “Tell us what you think the purpose of 4-H is” are as follow. I think about agriculture and people wanting to learn about it as well. At 4-H we meet friends, you get money and we gain an animal friend. I think about the unity you know how everyone comes together. The purpose of 4-H is having fun with the animals that you choose. The purpose of 4-H is that you learn a lot a bout the animals and the different breeds and all that. I think 4-H is about an after-school pr ogram where you can come and you can learn about something that you like and you want to understand more. The purpose of 4-H is for people of all ar ound to come together and get smart about many different things. 4-H in my opinion is for kids to have f un, stay out of trouble and for communities to come together and for kids to learn mo re about their community and environment around them. What I like about 4-H is that we get to meet new friends and their animals. You have fun with the animals too and we get to earn money and prizes when we go to the fair. Learning about 4-H The participants were aske d the question “Let’s talk about how you first found out about 4-H.” The majority of the participan ts found out by word-of-mouth. Participants revealed that in some cases their friends told them about the 4-H club. Other participants learned about 4-H because their cousins or ot her family members were already involved with the program. According to some part icipants they found out about 4-H by accident because they were not seeking information a bout the 4-H program. Several participants learned about the 4-H program through the county fair. They were visiting the fair and

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63 saw children working with animals and competi ng for prices. This situation caught their attention, and they decided to approach the ex tension agent to find out how they could be involved in similar activities. Some of the statements provi ded by the participants were: I found out about 4-H ‘cause my cousin. My first time I went with him he took me here (4-H meeting) and I just st arted getting involved with 4-H. I found out because my sister was in 4-H a nd then she took me here (4-H meeting). My friend told me about 4-H. My uncle told me about 4-H and I decided to participate. Six years ago or I should say seven, I was at the youth fair and I saw a lamb giving birth, and I saw a bunch of kids working with animals and I wanted to know how to do that and that’s when I found my 4-H leader and I’ve been in it ever since. It’s quite addicting. I found about the club when I went to the fair with my parents. Youth involvement Overall the participants have been involved in the 4-H club from four months to eight years and the majority of them were involved in at least one more program or activity besides the 4-H club. Many of the participants were part of a program called “5,000 role models of excellence” which is a dropout prevention and intervention program for minority young boys “at-risk” of dropping out of school and/or choosing a life of crime. It is sponsored by the Miami Dade County School Board. Other participants were part of the “Lead ership for Excellence” program in school. Children in this program give talks to other children on how to focus on positive rather than on negative activities. Furthermore, some participants volunteer in Marine Animal Rescue Society (MARS), an organization dedica ted to the conservation of marine animals through, rescue, rehabilitation, research, and education.

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64 Several participants were involved in sports, dance, and acting clubs. Other participants have also been camp counselors members of a judging team, and leaders of their 4-H club. All the partic ipants are actively involved in the fair activities in Miami Dade County. The participants help each other ou t with their projects to show in the fair, which allows them to develop teambuilding skills as well as the importance of cooperation. Some of statements provide d by the participants were as follows: I’m the president and I’m also in the judging team. I’m part of 5,000 role models of excellence. Next Wednesday I’m going to a club and talk about animals. I give presentations to the different 4-H clubs and talk about animal s. I help at the fair and I help out basically where the Clovergirl (extension ag ent) needs me at that point in time. In school; I’m part of the Leadership fo r Excellence group that my counselor helps and what we do is like we talk about ki ds doing bad stuff and what they should do, the good stuff. I’m in a dance team in my high school and I do acting class in John Robert’s Followers. I’m in the soccer team at school. I’m an active volunteer with the Marine Animal Rescue Society, which rescues, rehabilitates and releases whales and dolphi ns for the most part, but marine animals of all sorts. Then I’m also an active volunt eer of species of wildlif e, which is wildlife sanctuary, which takes in lions, tigers, bears, you name it. I’m also a camp counselor. Development of life skills Participants were asked to de scribe the benefits of their participation in 4-H. After analyzing the results and transcriptions the researcher identified the following benefits described below: Development of life skills. The majority agreed that 4-H has helped them develop life skills. Overall the partic ipants stated that working w ith the animal projects has helped them to become more responsible, di sciplined and dedicated. This is a direct

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65 result of the fact that the participants are in charge of feeding, bathing, showing and selling their animal each year. Development of public speaking and leadership skills. Participants agree that sharing information with the general public on their animal’s weight gain, breed and the different benefits of raising an animal have enhanced their skills. Learning and accepting diversity. Participants agree that participating actively in the 4-H club has facilitated them to be more aware and at ease with the diversity of their community, it has also taught them about di fferent cultures and being able to do teamwork. Establishing long lasting relationships. Some of the participants stated that in the clubs they had really good friends and this provided them with a good supportive group. Their friends help them solve their problems or at least give them ideas. Some of the statements provided are as follows: We have all sorts of different backgrounds in this club and I love all my members and they’re all my good friends and I couldn’t live a day without them. The benefits of 4-H is going out to show your animals and make people understand what 4-H is. Sometimes you find people that will tell you that you can’t do something and when you come to 4-H there is a supportive group of people that tell you can do it, that’s cool. Sometimes I can’t solve my problems and he re you have people that can help you solve them, not solve them fo r me but they help me out. The advantage of 4-H for me is that it is teaching me responsibility, dedication towards something whether it be a project or an animal. Leadership skills, I’m the president of my club and meet friends. 4-H allows us to take like the negative thi ngs that happen in life and learn from them. I have a lot of friends that are starting to have sex or drugs, when I look at them I think I’m glad I’m in 4-H cause I could be just like them.

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66 4-H helps to discipline yourself and it al so helps you become a better person because you get to interact with pe ople and you know it gives you strategies you can use for the rest of your life. 4-H helps you get used to like different races and different sexual orientations, different types of people, so it’s really c ool because we have a variety of people in this club. I’m like the only white person in here and I stil l don’t know Spanish. We get to practice our public speaking skills. We also get to like communicate with others on different other things like animal and drafting. We also get to compete like go to other place. Like if you win at one spot, you get to onto a higher level and practice more what you’re trying to achieve. What I like about my project. They teach me responsibility, dedication even though they do stuff on me and hurt me from time to time its still worth it and I love every minute spending time with them, bathing them showing them is lots of fun. You get to make lots of different new friends and that’s about it. Start small, offer diversity, re cognition and have a good leader Another question focused on what would be a “perfect” or ideal 4-H program for participants. In order to achieve this, part icipants discussed the elements and resources needed for the “ideal” program. After anal yzing the responses five principles were identified and are described below: Participants pointed out that the program should offer food; that way children would be more willing to attend. The availability of facilities that offer children a diverse range of animals for projects such as, rabbits, dogs, cats, hams ters, guinea pigs and others types of animals. All the participants agreed that the program s hould offer different projects other than their animal proj ects. The program should offer projects such as artistic like drama, music performance, painting and photography, crafts and sports; that way children who do not enjoy working with animals could still have the opportunity to join 4-H clubs. Participants recognized that the program s hould be able to provide family friendly environment, where parents can al so be involved in the projects. In addition participants feel it is impo rtant the 4-H programs provide recognition of their accomplishments at the county, state and national level. Finally, participants believe that an “i deal” program should have a good leader. The characteristics of the leader should include: to be a fun person, responsible,

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67 willing to help others and someone who understands the Hispanic culture. In addition the extension agent should be fun, energetic, and knowledgeable. Some of the statements provided fo r this question were as follows: Food! For the little kids you could give them crafts to do. All the project representative of 4-H can go all over the country meeting senators, meeting presidents doing whatever. I would have like a national field day or some day that would represent the 4-H. I think you should have a variety of animal pr ojects for the kids to choose from and I think you should start out small because that would be your best choice because it would be easy to maintain and to handle. Animals so kids can have some to choose from and small like dogs, rabbits, cats, hamster, guinea pig, chicks, chickens anything that’s small, all sorts of animals. And a bird too. I think you should have a variety of activiti es for your kids. Say if one kid doesn’t like animals you could have drama or somethi ng. And it should be lots of fun and it should keep kids interested, lots of anim als and make sure it’s a family friendly environment. The ideal thing for me would be either an imal husbandry or like working with all sorts of different animals and training them and learning about their behavior or going around to different theaters and seeing Br oadway productions and going behind the scenes and meeting all the actors. She’s (extension agent) cons tantly happy. She’s brings joy to the club every time she walks through the door. She’s (extension agent) funny. She’s cool. She’ s energetic. She has a lot of instincts. She loves animals, she know how to ha ndle kids and she’ s a great leader. She’s (leader) very helpful when you’re in need or if something needs to get done, she reminds you a lot. She’s very re sponsible and she gets the job done. She’s (leader) a very wonderful woman. She’s somebody you can count on, some body you can depend on. She’s (leader) nice and she sound funny when she talks Spanish.

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68 Join our club! Its fun and we accept everyone The researcher wanted to determine how the participants would promote their 4-H club and how would they recr uit new members. The first observation made by the participants was the importance of the parents’ involvement. According to the participants many of their friends did not pa rticipate in the club b ecause their parents do not have time or thought it was not worth their time (parents do not know what 4-H does). After reviewing the result s and transcriptions four st rategies were identified to recruit new members: Tell other kids and friends how much fun they could have with the animals and how much they could learn. It is crucial to tell kids that besides having fun and making friends they could earn money with their 4-H projects. Let potential members know that 4-H clubs do not discriminate against race, sex, color or religion. Share with them that they will be able to help others in the community and in the club. Some of the statements provided by the participants were as follows: My friends were going to come, it’s just th ey have other activiti es to do and their mothers and fathers didn’t have time to take them. I told my friends to join, but their parents don’t want to just take the time to come over here while the kids have time to study th ey have to come over here and it’s just not in their budget. I would tell my friends that’s it fun. You get to go to th e fair. You get to meet new friends and at the end of the year you earn a lot of money. I would tell them 4-H is a wonderful expe rience because you learn how to speak in public, interact with others. You get to st udy in your field on what you want to be or if you’re interested in animals you get to deal with them and help with them. You get to play with the animals and go to competitions. You get trophies and medals and stuff.

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69 I would say to people that 4-H accepts everybody. You can be African American, Hispanic, you can be from Puerto Rico, Mexico, we accept everyone. 4-H is here for everybody and 4-H is like a club. It’s a club fo r helping people, for going to the fair, helping and everything. I would tell people that it is very fun and rewarding. It’s something to do. It keeps you out of trouble and it’s a great environmen t and besides the fact that you make a lot of money. Parents of 4-H Members At the beginning of the parent’s focus gr oup discussion, they were asked to define 4-H. Once the participants had defined it, they went on to uncover how they found out about the program. In addition, they were also asked to describe if they thought that the club has had an impact on their children. Fina lly, participants shared with the researcher what they thought would be a “perfect” or “ideal” 4-H program and how they would encourage other parents to get their children involved in 4-H clubs. The major themes that were identified by the researcher on this group were as follows: 4-H is agriculture, friends and community When participants were asked to describe what 4-H meant to them, most parents in this group related 4-H programs to agriculture. According to parents, the 4-H clubs are a place where their children learn to appreciat e agriculture and animal production mainly. After examining the result and transcriptions fo ur major benefits of enrolling children in 4-H clubs were identified: Children are able to establish relationships with other children as well as with adults. Children have fun. Four-H’ers have a better unde rstanding of the diversity a nd the needs of the people in their community as a result of particip ating in community service projects.

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70 Children learn responsibility as well as the ability do team work. Parents also pointed out that they are learning about agriculture through their children. Some parents were not knowledgeable about agricultu re but as a result of their children’s participation in 4-H they have learned of its importance. Some of the descriptions provided by the participants are as follows: 4-H is about farm animals. Commitment. I think friends and community comes to mind. Adventure for kids. Activities. Events for the kids. Learning about responsibility, nurturing and caring for an animal and learning all about them. Teamwork and adult teaching kids and kids teaching other kids, working together and learning responsibility, having fun. I learn from them, right now I’m learning a lot about baby goats and I’ve been college educated as well about animals. Well, I had no idea even though we raised chickens as a kid, but I wouldn’t have known all the things I know now. City kids get to find out about animals wh en usually other kids can’t find out about cows and deer and all that. ‘Cause when you’re in the city you don’t have much contact with them. Learning about 4-H The majority of the parents learned about 4-H through the county fair, they visited the fair and saw children working with anim als. Other parents knew about 4-H because they owned a ranch and had contact with th e local extension office. Regarding the accessibility of the club, the major ity of participants said that the location was too distant for the majority of the members. Neverthe less, parents expressed that driving a longer distance was worth the benefits of participa ting in a 4-H club. However, some parents

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71 expressed they had searched for a club closer to their home but were not able to find one. Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follows: Last year we went to the fair and we saw how a 4-H member was taking care of animals and my daughter wanted to do the same thing she was doing. We talked to the 4-H leader and she told us about it, and ever since sh e has been involved in 4-H. We were at the Dade County Fair one year, we had never heard of 4-H at all and our daughter saw a lamb being born and she saw ki ds in there with it and she’s like I want to do that. How come they can get to be in there and everything? So, we talked to….. She was there and she said that we c ould start the following year so we started and I guess we’ve been here for six or seven years. My daughter loves it. I own a ranch and I work with the extension agent and he told me about 4-H, that is how we found out about it. We visited the Amelia Earhart park and sa w a kids working with animals, we asked the person in charge and she explained that it was a 4-H club that was getting ready for the fair, that’s how we found out. For me it is very far from my home, I come from Broward, it is kind of a hike, but we love the club so much it’s worth it. It’s a long way for my daughter but she likes it so we drive all the way here. I looked for clubs closer to home until we found this one, and we have been involved in 4-H about five years. Development of life skills According to all the parents the major benef its of participating in 4-H has been the acquirement of life skills. Through the proj ects, the children have learned to be responsible and learn to work out problem s with their projects since the kids are responsible for looking after thei r animals. Furthermore, kids have also learned how to work in a team and help each other. Some pa rents pointed out that their children used to be very shy and are now more sociable, se lf confident and outspoken as a result of participating in livestock shows in the county fair and other events.

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72 More children are also exposed to real life experiences like competition; which teaches kids how to face life si tuations like winning or losing and dealing with the feeling that come with being involved in group activities and competition. Overall 4-H has provided their children with skills they usually do not learn in school and it also helps them to focus on educational activities and programs that keep them out of trouble. Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follows: They are learning responsibi lity, nurturing and caring for animals and learning all about them. They learn teamwork and adult teaching kids and vice versa. They gain knowledge, not something they learn in school, but something that could help them in the future and teaches a lot of responsibility. They learn how to deal with other people a nd being able to work and help each other out and not just be an individual, th ey can help everybody else in the club. It teaches them competition, so they learn ear ly like how to deal with it. When the kids lose and they see someone else win, ma ybe their friends then they have to go to that person and praise them for winning. That’s a big challenge. It is a form of premier l eadership and personal growth. My daughter was really shy before the club, now she is not afraid to speak in public, she has learned to be responsible because she needs to take care of her animal. My son is more self-confident, being able to speak in public. My daughter had a class and she had to st and up and speak in front of everybody and she felt comfortable. The majority of the kids volunteer because also they realize the benefits and this builds up confidence. There is acceptance in the club and I think that it teaches th e kids acceptance and that diversity is a good thing. It kept him out of the street doing other things and this is a very healthy environment.

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73 A good program is a collaborative effort Overall participants described a good 4-H program as a collaborative effort between extension agents, leaders and parents. The parent’s involvement is a must for the success of the program. Parents expresse d they need to encourage the children and get involved with them in th e activities so the experience is more rewarding, it should be a family event. In addition, programs shoul d be year round and have more community service, so the children could give back to their communities. Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follows: Without adult support and drive you don’t get the kids motivated and that’s what you need. Adults need to be participating as much as the children because you’re like a mentor, you are teaching them. It’s something the whole family can enjoy and do and be proud of it. I think it’s good for the adu lts, right know I’m learning a lot and I’ve been educated, I wouldn’t have known all the things I know about goats, heifers, hogs or rabbits. Involved in more community service. Have it year around. More people doing community service. Overall the children and parents had the same perceptions about 4-H and agreed that participating in the club has impacted them in a positive way as noted earlier in Table 4-5. Objective 2 Objective two was to describe the percep tions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade

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74 County. In order to achieve the objective, tw o different focus groups were conducted one with the non 4-H members and the second one with the parents of non-4-H members. Non-4-H Members At the outset of the focus group discu ssion, non-4-H members were asked about youth programs in their community and specifi cally about 4-H. The majority of the participants were not aware of the existence of youth progr ams and had never heard about 4-H. Out of the ten participants only one knew about the existence of Boys and Girls clubs and YMCA. This participant said that he/she had noticed thre e different locations in less than five miles from his/her house. Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follows: I don’t know what that is. It sounds like math or something like that. It sounds boring to me. The participants were asked to provide their perceptions about 4-H programs, their willingness to participate in a youth program lik e 4-H, and to list the components a youth program should have based on their experience. Th e majority of the part icipants said they would participate in a 4-H cl ub because it sounded like a f un activity where they could spend time with friends and meet other peopl e. In addition, non-4-H members said they would like to have clubs focused on other topi cs like: sports, danc ing and learning from different cultures. The participants pointed ou t that they would like th eir parents to be the 4-H leaders, and if that was not possible they would like to see a person who was sociable, fun and that liked ki ds. Some of the statements provided by participants are as follow: 4-H sounds fun and I would like to be in it.

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75 I would participate in it if my parents can be a part of it, ‘cause my parents are fun and other kids can have fun with them. I would participate cause I can meet other ki ds and besides I have nothing else to do. I would like it because I can ha ng out with my friends and ta lk about what is going on in our lives. I would like a multicultural club, like ha ve a bunch of people hanging out from different places. I would like to learn how to dance like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton different traditional dances form other countries. I would like to learn how to play soccer. Field trips would be cool, we can learn about dolphins. We can learn how to make t-shirts. I would like to make good friendships with different people. Ho w do you say that? Like multiculture. Like have a bunch of diffe rent people hanging out like she said and hanging out and going out to different places. I would like a club like every time we meet we would have different like a day to learn about Colombia and th eir food, music, everything. They next time it would Nica (referring to Nicaragua), another day Boricua (referr ing to Puerto Rico) and stuff like that. Like we can learn about each other and like where we are from. Like me, I was born here but dad is from Brazil and my mom is from Colombia. If my dad goes with me, it would be more fun. If my dad or mom were part of the clubs my brother and sister would be in too. My cousins would go too. The participants were also asked how they would recruit other Hispanic children to join a 4-H club. According to participants the first thing that should be done is to visit communities and to learn the interests of the kids in that society. Several kids expressed that recruiters should go to schools, attend meetings where they can explain the 4-H programs and discuss ideas people have about what kinds of clubs are available. All participants said thes e meetings should provide food and music so people feel motivated

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76 to attend. Kids said they would tell potential participants that being part of the club is fun and that they can complete projects in diffe rent subjects or topics and as an added bonus they can earn money with their projects. Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follow: I would go around the community and get to kno w the kids, like just to find out about the people there and what they like, ‘cause they wouldn’t want to come if it has nothing to do with them. I would tell them that it’s a lot of fun, like you go, you hang out with your friends, you play games and like just a place to hang out and relax. I will tell them to come b ecause there is like a lot of sports to do and you can get skinny and strong. I will tell them about all the good and fun things we are doing out there and how much fun it is to do what we are doing and how much we love it. I would tell them they are going to experi ence new things and meet new people, so come and join the club. I would go to schools because like we have a lot of Hispanics, I would tell them to like come and check it out for themselves and see if they like or not. Like everyone could bring in like their own ideas. I would invite them and like have regg aeton, salsa, merengue. I’m serious I would also have Cuban food, have a lot of food so they can feel comfortable. Parents of Non-4-H Members First topic discussed with parents was different youth development programs in their communities. Overall pa rents identified as youth deve lopment programs: Girls and Boys Scouts, YMCA, Sunday school, after sc hool programs like sports, band, dancing and acting. According to the participants th e only youth programs their children attend is Sunday Bible School and that their kids do not participate in other programs like YMCA or Girls and Boys Scouts because they do not have time to transport them to these programs during weekdays. The majority of kids attend after school programs and are

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77 usually picked-up from school between 5:30 p.m and 6:30 p.m. According to the parents the teachers make sure the children do their homework and study during after school programs. Some of the statements pr ovided by participants are as follows: I’ve seen the sign of YMCA when I drive home. I know there is a club of girls scouts by my house, they always come over and sell cookies, that’s how I know. Well, my children go to Sunday Bible School, that’s where they learn about God and the youth pastor talks to them about beha ving good and the difference between right and wrong. Well, I don’t know if this counts, but my son stays in school until 6:00 pm, I pay extra and he stays here and the teacher helps him out with homework and they make sure he studies. The majority of the participants had ne ver heard of 4-H and did not know what it was. Out of the nine participants, two knew about 4-H and they stated they did not like that program because it was only agriculture and they were not interested in that. The other participant stated that he knew what 4-H was but they had no interest in working with them (Hispanics). According to him it was only about cows and they had no intention of changing it or making a progr am more attractive to Hispanics. I don’t know what that is. I have no idea what 4-H is. I have seen it at the County fair they only have animals there. They only talk about cows. The second part of the focus group was used to provide non-4-H parents a clear and concise explanation of 4-H programs so that they could understand the diverse nature of the programs outside agricultur e. In addition, participants were asked if they would allow and encourage their kids to become 4H members and to provide feedback on ideas for establishing future 4-H clubs. Overal l participants believed that they would

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78 encourage their children to participate in 4-H clubs. Participants expressed it was essential that clubs meet during the weeke nds, since both parents on most households in this group have full-time jobs. Regarding th e content of the programs they would like their children to learn, the parents included: how to embrace their background and appreciate the sacrifices they have done as parents so they could have a better future. Another aspect is to provide an environmen t where children get the chance to socialize and relate to other children from different backgrounds, acqui re skills such as selfconfidence, responsibility, co mmunication and leadership. Finally the participants pointed out that they would lik e a program that encourages children to attend college and higher education since most children do not see the importance of education on their future, and most children aspire to be prof essional athletes or rappers. Some of the statements provided by the part icipants are as follows: I would like my children to participate in 4-H. The program should teach children things they are not able to learn in school. I want my son to relate more to other childr en. To simply learn new things that they don’t teach in school that might help them and skills, special skills and just to have something to do that just not being at hom e and watching T.V. or something like that. The program should be flexible, because sometimes you have problems with schedule and/or some days you can’t always go to some of the meetings. I would l like my children to appreciate all the sacrifices we have made so they could have a better life than we did back home. It would nice if someone can talk to the children about going to school, right now they just want to be professional athletes or rappers and I want them to have the education I didn’t. Finally the participants were asked to de scribe what would be the best way to inform parents about 4-H. They were also as ked to describe what w ould be the best place to start a 4-H club in their communities so it could be accessible to most residents.

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79 Regarding information about 4-H, several of the participants thought that flyers in Spanish could be handed out in the grocery stores and use Spanis h radio stations to promote programs. Usually the Spanish radio stations provide the communities with information regarding immigration, jobs and ot her services aimed at Hispanics. They also mentioned that they would promote th e clubs through churches; the priest or the pastor usually makes announcements at the e nd of the service and encourages members to explore this programs. Out of nine pa rticipants, two suggested offering information through the Internet. Ov erall the participants agreed that they woul d be interested in being a 4-H leader as long as the club met on weekends and preferably on school grounds, churches, or on public parks. Severa l of them pointed that they could be 4-H leaders as long as clubs were not only focused on agriculture On the other hand, three participants were open to the idea of havi ng animal science clubs because they could learn together with the children about agricult ure. The only obstacle they saw was that they didn’t have a farm because they lived in the city. Some of the statements provided by participants are as follows: I would ask the pastor of my church to enc ourage the community to participate in 4-H, we usually listen to him. Why don’t you use the radio? When I go to wo rk the radio usually is letting people know how to deal with the immigration st uff especially right now. They also announce different services offered to us. I would be a 4-H leader if the club is not about agriculture, I don’t know anything about it. I would not mind being a 4-H leader for an agriculture club, I c ould learn about it with kids, besides I did some farming back home. The only problem I see is that we live in the city. The clubs could meet at church, or we coul d ask the principal if we could meet here, that way it would be ac cessible to all of us.

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80 What about the park? That would be good. Th e whole family can go and that way we can get some exercise. Objective 3 Objective three was to describe the percep tions of 4-H extension agents regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. In order to achieve the objectiv e, interviews were conducted with a program assistant and a 4-H extension agent. At the time of the research there were onl y two 4-H agents for the entire county, in other words they were understaffed. Overall both interviewees have been involved with 4-H over 15 years as either a 4-H member, vol unteer, leader or extension agent. Both were familiar with the 4-H culture, they are tr ue believers that 4-H can make a difference in a child’s life; consequently they ar e very passionate a bout their work. The researcher aimed to uncover the fo llowing information: current programs, types of clubs, volunteer recruitment, requir ements of being a 4-H leader, barriers of working with Hispanics and alternatives on how to increase Hispanic involvement. Current Programs and Types of Clubs The participants indicated that the major programs they are currently working on in Miami-Dade County are as follows: Youth leadership program: basically youth get together to plan community service projects for the county. Youth and Governance: This is a governme nt club, which prepares children for the legislature experience. They meet six tim es in the year and conduct field trips to legislative offices. Community and Project Clubs. Coordination of county and district events, specifica lly public speaking events. After school programs: Through a partners hip with different youth organizations such as Boy’s and Girl’s clubs. These in clude after school programs in areas 4-H would not be able to reach.

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81 School enrichment programs Camps In Miami–Dade County four t ypes of 4-H clubs are utilized: Community clubs: These are characterized by their geographical area and can explore a wide variety of topics su ch as: clothing, clowning, rabbits, sewing, marine science, food and nutrition, health and safety, and nutrition. Project clubs: These focus on a specific proj ect or subject matter. Some topics include marine science, animal science or shooti ng sports. The members are usually very passionate about animals or shooting sports they travel long distances for the meetings. After-school programs: Are usually held on a community center and meet only during the school year. In-school club: These clubs are led by teachers during school hours and are only during the school year. Participants also elaborated on how they determine the content of their programs. Many of them are already structured such as the school enrichment program. They follow a guideline that is provide by the University of Florida 4-H program, where they have to at least spend six hours working with the teacher and the students. In contrast the content of the community and project clubs are more flexible and most of the content depends on the leader’s initiative. Nevertheless they have certain standards they have to achieve such as: a) apply for a club charter and on that club charter they are asked to obey by the county, state and national policy, b) they have to do a community servic e project and c) the key leader has to be screened. The extension agents make sure leaders provide a safe environment for the children that is wa rm and friendly to everyone. Agents also remind leaders that in clubs all the members must have a say in the decisions, that way the club members retain owne rship of their program.

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82 4-H Members According to the participants their county is like a melting pot because they have so much diversity among the members of the commun ity. The participants indicated that in Miami-Dade County at least 55% percent of the population is Hispanic, 30% is African American, and probably less than 20% is White. When looking at those numbers, people would assume that the Hispanic particip ation in 4-H would be the highest one. According to the participants, 48% of the ch ildren they reach through 4-H are Hispanic. The participants explained that they r oughly reach 9,000 children; nevertheless only 1,000 of them are involved in a community/project club. The participants agreed that the community/project clubs are the programs that have the best effect on children. The participation in this type of club help s children develop social, communication and leadership skills. According to the partic ipants, out of 1, 000 active members in a community/project club more or le ss seventy percent are White. The participants explained that the 48% of Hispanics reached was due to after school programs and school enrichment. They see a need to increase Hispanic involvement in community/projects clubs, so they can also have access to the benefits mentioned above. According to the particip ants one of the reasons for the lack of Hispanic participation is that, 4-H has its r oots in rural White America, and this makes it difficult to attract minorities in general. Another factor is the fact that 4-H is not known by the Hispanic culture and they do not necessarily have a way to bridge into that. Furthermore, these clubs are very volunteer intensive and not all families are able to commit the time necessary. In many situations Hispanics families do not have the luxury of time.

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83 The participants indicated that in order in crease Hispanic particip ation they have to establish relationships, and this takes time a nd effort. The lack of personnel in their county complicates that. There are only two 4-H extension agents for the entire county, and neither of them speaks Spanish. There is a clear need to hire or partner with people who are fluent in Spanish so they can start es tablishing the relationshi ps needed to bridge that gap and getting the word about 4-H dispersed among Hisp anics. According to the participants there is a need to pr omote 4-H among Hispanics, since the community/project clubs in Hispanic communities is rare. Four-H can be very beneficial to Hispanics since it can facilitate their trans ition or adaptation to th e American culture. Some specific strategies suggested by the participants are as follow: Partnership with the city pa rks department and have them hire a 4-H staff member, and that way we can have a 4-H club in each park and make the clubs more accessible to the communities. Partner with other organizatio ns that serve Hispanics. Have fields days during the weekends in places like “La Pequea Habana” and Hialeah, invite the parents w ith their children so they ca n learn about 4-H and make sure to emphasis that it is a free service, all it takes is some time and commitment. Post flyers in laundry mats in Hispanic Neighborhoods. Hire more staff fluent in Spanish. Successful 4-H Clubs A crucial element of 4-H clubs are the volunt eers. Participants expressed that they do not recruit 4-H leaders, because of the lack of time available. The majority of the 4-H club leaders were either 4-H’ers themselv es and by random chance. Many of the 4-H leaders have seen the 4-H display in the county fair and want to get involved. The participants expressed that th e main characteristics they l ook for in a 4-H leader are:

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84 responsible, communication skills, bei ng understanding, having compassion, openminded and fair. According to the participants a common tra it among successful 4-H clubs is that the extension agent has to hand-hol d them during the first year; that includes calling the 4-H leader, following up and asking the followi ng: How are you doing? Do you have any questions? How can I help you? Do you need a guest speaker? Are you getting burned out? Would you like me to come to your club m eeting? In conclusion really hand-holding and being there for the first year is what makes a club successful. Currently the 4-H leaders receive fall training every year, where they are given fun hands-on activities, they are taught games that can be done with the cl ub, different ideas on di fferent projects, and they are also provided with a calendar that includes all the 4-H activities during the year. According to the participants this is not enough, they need more financial and staff support from extension, and they are cu rrently developing a handbook specifically for leaders to make their jobs easier. They ar e also planning to have another training during spring 2007. The training aims to provide 4H leaders with altern ative strategies to recruit potential 4-H members, youth development and club l eadership, increase family involvement and a more detailed understandi ng of the clubs reports and paper work. Summary This chapter presented the findings of the study. Findings were organized and presented by the following objectives: 1) De scribe the perceptions and impacts of 4-H clubs among Hispanics members and their parent s, 2) Describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic me mbers of 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County and 3) Describe the per ceptions of 4-H extension agents regarding

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85 Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. Chapter 5 wi ll present a more detailed discussion of these findings, as well as implications for the findings for the groups studied.

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86 Table 4-1: Four-H members focus group participants Alias Gender Race Years Involved with 4-H LZ Male Hispanic 8 Taz Female Hispanic 8 Alphaba Female White 7 Sandy Cheeks Female Hispanic 6 Freddy Krueger Male Hispanic 5 Tinkerbell Female White 3 Baby Female Hispanic 2 Tiger Male African American2 Pink Female African American1 Bubbles Female African American9 months Princess Female Hispanic 4 months *Alias names selected to main tain the confidentiality. Table 4-2: Parents of 4-H me mbers focus group participants Alias Gender Race Years Involved with 4-H CJR Male Hispanic 12 CPE Male Hispanic 12 CRS Female Hispanic 12 RBT Male Hispanic 12 IVT Female Hispanic 8 PMA Female White 7 MRY Female White 6 JLU Male Hispanic 5 NLN Male Hispanic 2 MRA Female Hispanic 2 *Alias names selected to main tain the confidentiality. Table 4-3: Non-4-H member s focus group participants Alias Gender Race School grade Phoebe Female Hispanic 7th Rachel Female Hispanic 7th Dog Male Hispanic 6th Pop star Female Hispanic 6th Shaquille O’neal Female Hispanic 6th Sam Male Hispanic 5th UU2 Male Hispanic 5th Princess Female Hispanic 4th Balloon Female Hispanic 3rd Hillary Duff Female Hispanic 3rd Queen Female Hispanic 3rd *Alias names selected to main tain the confidentiality.

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87 Table 4-4: Parents of non-4-H members focus group participants Alias Gender Race AB Female Hispanic AS Male Hispanic DH Male Hispanic DT Female Hispanic GH Female Hispanic IA Male Hispanic MA Female Hispanic Alias Gender Race MF Male Hispanic MG Female Hispanic *Alias names selected to main tain the confidentiality. Table 4-5: Themes emerged from focus gr oups with 4-H members and parents of 4-H members. Children Parents 4-H is agriculture and fun 4-H is agriculture, friends and community Learning about 4-H Learning about 4-H Youth involvement Development of life skills Development of life skills A good program is a collaborative effort Start small, offer diversity, recognition, and have a good leader Join our club! Its fun and we accept everyone

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88 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This chapter presents the conclusions, implications and recommendations drawn from the findings of the study. Additionally, it provides suggestions for further research that can contribute to increase Hispanic enro llment in traditional 4-H club within MiamiDade County. Discussion of Key Findings 4-Members and Parents of 4-H members Result of our study reported that 4-H me mbers and parents of 4-H members had positive perceptions regarding 4-H as a youth development program. Both groups linked 4-H to agriculture and fun activities, wher e they were able to meet and establish relationships with other child ren and adults. One can make the assumption that the 4-H club format allows club members and adults to engage in different act ivities that promote socializing. Our study indicated that the majority of the 4-H members and parents of 4-H members felt that the club members had developed life skills that will help them throughout their lives. Participants reported mu ltiple gains in term s of public speaking, leadership skills, communication skills, respons ibility, self-confidence, respect for and from others; and real life experience from their projects. Thes e findings support the research by Astroth & Haynes (2001); Astrot h (1996); Boyd et.al, (1992); Fox, Schroeder & Lodl (2003); Heinsohn & Cantrell (1986); Ladewig & Thomas (1987); and Mead et al.,

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89 (1999), which found that 4-H memb ers perceived they had developed specific life skills through the 4-H experience. Contrary to what Allen, Iyechad, Maye ske, Parson, Rodriguez, Singh, Swiney, Tolley and Butterfield (1988) stated that co mpetition decreases self-esteem and fosters individualism rather than coopera tion, in this study the majority of adults reported that 4-H involvement has enabled the children to deal effectively with emotion.; especially with situations like wi nning or losing that come with being involved in group activities and competition. Additionally, as mentioned by other authors (Mean et al., 1999) club members and parents reported th at 4-H club membership had allowed them to interact with other people and establish long lasting friendship with other children and adults and has also helped children to understand and embrace diversity. Most parents of 4-H members who partic ipated in the study believed that the success of a 4-H club was related to a true commitment from parents, 4-H leader and extension agent. Participants cited that th e adult’s commitment to the club enables children develop positive relationshi ps with other adults besides their parents. This is in a congruence with various studies that have de monstrated that one key factor in a youth’s life is a supportive mentori ng relationship with a non-rela ted adult (Bogenschnieder & Olson, 1998; Seita, 1994; Werner & Smith, 1992). In addition, like the study conducted by Pe rkins and Butterfield (1999) our study shows that the 4-H club has provided particip ants the opportunity to interact positively with an adult leader who cares about them ; this interaction has positively impacted the children because they feel important. In th is regard Russell (2001) stated that through interaction with multiple caring adults out side the family, youth receive guidance,

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90 direction, and feedback that reinforces or builds on the effort of parents and extended family. In conclusion, access to multiple adult role models in addition to parents benefit youth emotionally, scholastically and interpersonally (Walker, 1998). The findings of our study reported that the majority of 4-H members were involved in other youth organization besides 4-H. This supports the res earcher by Ladewig & Thomas (1987) and Astroth & Haynes (2001) which found that 4-H members are more likely to be involved in all types of after school programs than other youth. Furthermore, 4-H members and parents of 4-H members e xpressed the need to diversify the 4-H program in order to increase Hispanic enrollment. Non-4-H Members and Parents of Non-4-H Members Limited exposure to 4-H programs was char acteristic of the non-4-H members and the parents of non-4-H members; only two adults had seen or heard about 4-H. Further more, support services, sources of information and access to 4-H is almost non-existent to this group of participants. Ther efore not surprisingly, the par ticipants perceptions of 4-H were shaped by the limited access to such services. Parents of non-4-H members erroneously associated 4-H onl y with cows and agriculture. This association led the participants to perceive th at 4-H was not interested in working with Hispanics. The findings of our study showed that Hi spanics (children and adults) are very interested in participating in youth devel opment program, like the 4-H traditional club. Both groups were eager to participate in a pr ogram that will allow th em to socialize and develop new friendships (Farner, Cutz, Fa rner, Seibold & Abuchar, 2006). Although the adults pointed out that location and access was important, it is not an overwhelming constraint on participation. The participants expressed that as long as the club meetings were held on weekends, they would encourag e the children to participate in 4-H.

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91 In terms of the content of 4-H clubs to be offered, non-4-H members express they would like the focus to be on sports, dancing and learning from different cultures. This supports research by Hobbs (2004) which found that Hispanic members expressed interest in nontraditional projects such as soccer and cultural dance. On the other hand, parents of non-4-H members would like a club that teaches children things such as: how to embrace their background and appreciate the sacrifices parents have done so they could have a better future. Additionally ad ults would like the club to provide an environment were children get the chance to socialize and relate to other children from different backgrounds, acquire skills such as self-confidence, responsibility, communication and leadership. Most importa ntly parents would like a program that encourages children to attend college and hi gher education. This finding supports the research of Alba-Johnson (2003), which f ound that effective youth programs serving Hispanic youth consider the needs, de mographics, and cultural characteristics. Furthermore they provide a fo cused, supportive, and culturally sensitive environment that fosters the development of Hispanic youth. The findings of our study suggest that Hispan ics are more willing to participate in 4-H programs, if urged to do so by others wh om they trust such as priests and pastors (Escobar-Chavez, Tortolero, Masse, Wats on & Fluton., 2002; Farner, Rhoads, Cutz & Farner, 2005). This highlight s the importance for extension to establish or strengthen relationships with respected local groups and organizations. In this regard, Delgado (1999) stated the importance of initiati ng work or research with co-sponsoring institutions that are visible and locally to the community to give the program or project legitimacy. In addition he cited that having se veral institutions sponsor the research or

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92 program will help ensure the project or program meet minimal resistance from the community; given that the institutions have a positive relationship with the community of interest. As stated by Farner et al., ( 2005) extension has the potential to provide Hispanics with youth development program s that address their current needs. This study reveals the importance of developing and maintaining good relationships with Hispanics, in order to increase their participation in 4-H programs (Albert, 1996; Skaff, Chelsea, Mycue & Fish er, 2000). In this regard, Escobar-Chavez et al., (2002) experienced during a research study that in order to retain the participants researchers had extensive contact with them to establish trust and rapport. The study also used bilingual, bicultural st aff and found that working with community members was helpful in retaining participants. 4-H Professionals The findings of this study reveal that th e 4-H professionals consider Miami-Dade County a melting pot as the result of the di versity among the members of the community. The participants expressed that approxima tely 55% of the population in Miami-Dade County is Hispanic (US Census Bureau, 2003) As stated by Schauber and Castania (2001), meeting the needs of the growing Hisp anic population seemed to be foremost on the minds of the participants of this study. According to the participants one of the biggest challenges for 4-H is how to reach Hispanics and how to deliver programs that are cultural sensitive (Zam boanga & Knoche, 2003). One factor that has contributed to the low enrollment of Hispanics in traditional 4H clubs is the lack of personnel in general, as well as the limited bilingual 4-H agents in the county (Farner et al., 2006). In this rega rd, Schauber and Castania (2001) have stated that in many states, extension’s financial resources are shrinking, the demands of their

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93 traditional audiences are strong, and exte nsion wonders how it can move in new directions to work with culturally varied audiences and remain solid financially. In addition, both participants expressed that th e other two factors th at hinder Hispanic enrollment in traditional 4-H clubs are (1) Hispanics are not aware of the 4-H program and other extension programs, and (2) the lack of Hispanic volunteers. In this regard, Hobbs (2001) stated that Hispanics do not th ink of their contribut ions as volunteering; they associate volunteering with a br oader community, involving mainstream organizations with which they have little in any connection. Being a volunteer, then, is not the realm of their experience. Results of our study indicated that 4-H professionals within Miami-Dade County are aware that understanding and addressing the needs of the Hispanic population has become increasingly important in their county. Both participants indicated the need to establish long-lasting relationships with Hisp anics and local organi zation, and those take time and effort. This supports research by H obbs (2001) that stated that extension must first commit to a long-term relationship with the Hispanic community; especially because this community is often suspicious of new organizations coming in and offering services. A second factor to take into consideration is that outreac h work is time consuming. Lastly both participants point ed out that involving Hispanic s in 4-H programs must be a part of what extension does not a separate program. Finally, an unexpected finding was that all the participants of the study (4-H members, parents of 4-H members, non-4-H members, parents of non-4-H members and 4-H professionals) did not think that 4-H agents or 4-H lead ers must be Hispanic. More important for them was that the 4-H agent a nd 4-H leader were willing to understand and

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94 relate to their culture. Additionally they point ed out that the agent and leader had to have a good relationship with the children. Conclusion Even though the numbers of participants was small, the study presents evidence that the involvement in traditional 4-H cl ub does affect the deve lopment of life skills among Hispanic youth. In addition, the findi ngs of the study reve al that non-4-H members and parents of non-4-H members are eager to participate in 4-H programs. Four-H has the potential to provide the Hisp anic population in Miami-Dade County with youth development programs that focus on pr oviding youth with skill to become capable and competent adults. Four-H can provide an opportunity to enhance positive family interaction among Hispanics. Extension shoul d try to develop and implement programs that contribute to this positive interaction between parent and youth. Four-H experiences that combine the skills and inte rests of both parents and children will he lp them grow as individuals and as families (Collins, 1986). Th e participation of Hispanic volunteers in 4-H will strengthen the programs and will broa den the audience being reached. It will also positively impact the community from the resulting increase in access to a wide range of programs that promote youth and co mmunity development. Finally, the results of this study exposed the need to hire more 4-H agents, to be able to reach minorities and increase their enrollment. Recommendations Based upon the findings of our study, reco mmendations are provided for current extension and other organizat ions that promote youth development among Hispanic youth and their families.

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95 Bilingual/bicultural staff. Having bilingual/bicultural staff is important. In many cases the parents of the children are not fl uent in English and can only communicate in Spanish. Extension staff should be able to re late to the background a nd experience of 4-H members and their families; this will help extension to establish rapport within the community. Hiring bilingual/bicultural staff is partic ularly problematic. According to Hobbs (2005) there are few bilingual/bicultural indivi duals that work in a youth development and this makes it harder to find the adequate staff to work with diverse audiences. Other key characteristics relating to staff is that th ey have to be aware that they will need to develop a relationship with the families and establish trust. In order to achieve a relationship and rapport with the families; the personal goa ls the individual hopes to accomplish are very important and have to be taken into account. Furthermore, it would be ideal to hire individuals who already have a connection with the local community and are endorsed by community leaders. After hiring an adequate staff, a challenge that extension often has to deal is being able to retain its staff. In order to reta in staff and promote multiculturalism, extension could reflect and promote multiple cultures, including the Hispanic culture in their county offices. This can be achieved by decorati ng with appropriate posters for walls and display artifacts of the different cultures within the communities and workplace. Also, communication must be ongoing and working relationship must be developed among extension agents, administrative staff, communities and volunteers. Extension has to encourage staff to respect differences in cluding those related to work style and

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96 communication preferences. New and current staff should be encouraged and made to feel comfortable to try new ways of doing th ings in the field and in the office. Recognition is another aspect extension has to consider regarding hiring and retaining staff. It is important to reward staff by valuing their knowledge and experience. This could be accomplished by recognizing thei r accomplishments in news-letters, staff meetings and community events. Another im portant aspect is to create a sense of community among the staff by holding quarter ly meetings where people can see themselves as part of a greater group, and havi ng time to meet and talk about their work. Staff can help each other out in accomplishi ng their goals, by sharing what strategies have worked or not worked for them in th eir different areas of specialization within extension programs. In order to facilitate a multi cultural approach in extension, there is a need to engage staff in intercultural staff development training. Multicultural work places and communities are becoming a rea lity in extension across th e country. Intercultural training seeks to teach people the knowle dge, skills and motivation to communicate effectively in a wide variety of cultural contex ts. It also aims to teach participants to respects various collective and individual identities of their coworkers’ as well as the targeted audiences’. It also enables them to understand the benefit of the different talents and experiences these diverse identities could bring into an organization like extension. If extension agents feel they can express fr eely within the organizat ion, they may feel a greater incentive to achieve th eir goals within the communities. On the other hand, if the targeted audiences feel they can speak and relate personally to ex tension staff; they would be more willing to participat e in extension programs in general.

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97 Holistic approach and diversification of projects. An effective way to retain youth is to provide a variety of programs that consider all the areas of youth development. Four-H programs should provide activities to enrich youth’s academic, social, emotional and physical development. Of fer projects or activities that include art, sports, field trips, and car eer and college exploration. Additionally, 4-H should have projects that promote cultural awareness and teach children how to embrace their culture and other cultures within their communities. Family involvement. Taking into account that the Hispanic culture is family-focused, the programs offered shoul d involve both parents and children. Even though the 4-H program is aimed at yout h, Hispanic parents want and expect opportunities for learning about what is happ ening in the program along the way (Oregon State University, 2006). The family should be involved in the program development process where their input regarding place, time and subject is taking into account. This will develop a sense of ownership of the pr ogram among the Hispanic families and could translate into a successful program. Build relationship/partnership with the Hispanic Community. In order to increase Hispanic enrollment in 4-H progr ams, relationships must be built with individuals like community leaders, teacher s and pastor/priests. Furthermore, with organizations such as: school boards, chur ches, community centers, and organizations that works specific with Hispanic communities. There is a need to build relationships with youth based on respect, acceptance, caring and trust. Extensi on needs to recognize that community partnerships ex ist in layers, and though it may not be directly involved in

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98 a particular partnership the strength of that partnership may impact one with which extension is directly involved (Farner et al., 2005; Oregon State University, 2006). Building a relationship with the Hispanic community and establishing trust and rapport is the way to start having a presence wi thin the community. It usually takes time, but it is necessary in order to reach Hispanics. Hobbs ( 2000) suggests certain steps to follow in order to start building a relationshi p and trust with the community, they are as follows: Spend time learning about the community and individuals. Get involved with community organizati ons and events within the community. Request support of elders, community lead ers, and established organizations that have a positive reputation with the community. Show respect for the Hispanic culture and be patient. Promotion of 4-H. Advertise the programs in local churches, where services are held in Spanish. Have parents or pastors/ priests promote the program during the Sunday services. In addition, advertise the program in grocery stores, as well as on Spanish radio and television stations. In schools have cu rrent 4-H members talk about the program and the positive personal experien ces of their involvement. Target Hispanics among the lower socio-economic status. Four-H programs can offer this specific audience with the oppor tunity to develop new skills, learn group cooperation, leadership, and improve citi zenship through the approach of “learn by doing.” It can also provide them with a sense of accomplishment through recognition. Four-H also fosters the development of personal relationships, not only among youth, but also with caring adults. This enables youth at-risk to receive guidance, direction and

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99 feedback that strengthens or builds on the e fforts of parents and extended family (Walker, 1998) Training/recruiting volunteers. Provide adequate training for volunteers so they can have an effective and en joyable experience. Accordi ng to Hobbs (2004), there is a need to provide separate training for Hispanic volunteers in areas such: American culture, expectations of a successful young person in the American society, the benefits of volunteerism and youth development. Anothe r reason to provide se parate training to Hispanics is their lack of thei r fluency in English. The traini ng might have to be offered Spanish. Given extensions’ need to recruit Hispanic volunteers there are three stages that should be taken into consideration in order to engage them (Hobbs, 2000). The first stage is identifying potential volunteers. Potent ial volunteers could be college students that need to fulfill practicum and community se rvices requirements. Another option for volunteers could be senior citizens that have available time. Also established professionals could be potential volunteers b ecause they have predictable work schedule and generally they have a better understanding on the American cultur e. It is important to consider that many people will volunteer if the program provides them a chance to pass along the traditions of their culture to younger community members. The second stage is inviting people to participate. Many Hispanics do not volunteer because they have never been asked to do so. Therefore in many occasions just asking will significantly increase their participation. Consid ering that in the Hispanic culture, personal relationship s are the foundation of the co mmunity, the majority of

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100 invitations should be done on a one-to-one basis through persona l visits. Some strategies that could help increase their volunteerism are as follows: Supplement personal invitations with print information in Spanish and/or English. Make use of Spanish radio spots. Hold meetings in times and locat ions accessible to the majority. Offer food, door prizes, and possibly music. Explain how 4-H benefits families and the community. Emphasize how volunteering will benefit families and the community. The third stage is supporting the volunteer s, this refers to the review of organizational structures, policies, and pract ices to identify what can obstruct the volunteer’s participation. Extension’s support for Hispanic volunteers is essential for their retention. Following are several ways extension can provide support: If volunteers are only fluent in Spanish, have Spanish speaking staff available to answer any questions. Avoid out of pocket expenses for the volunteers. Simplify paperwork and give clear explanat ions of what the paperwork is for. Ask for input and take into account the volunteers ideas. Provide a diverse selection of program s that might interest the volunteers. Training for extension st aff to value diversity. Understanding cultural differences, especially those related to pr eferred style of communication are important when working with Hispanics. Extension profes sionals need to be aw are and conscious of values in their own culture, as well as sensi tive to differences in other cultures. Training should emphasize (Guion & Brown, 2005; Sc hauber & Castania, 2001) the following aspects:

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101 Extension agents should have an understandi ng of historical power differences (i.e. social economic status, opport unities available and mindsets). Present-day behaviors that are a consequen ce of the history of the group’s survival. Ability to empathize cross culturally. Being able to accept multiple perspectives. Being able to observe mindfu lly without passing judgment. Being able to adapt ones comm unication style to others. It is essential that extension profe ssionals become more culturally aware, responsive and competent because of the incr easingly diverse populations in the county (Guion, Chattaraj & Sullivan-L ytle, 2005). Florida extensio n should take advantage of the “Strengthening Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences” online course (Guion, Broadwater, Caldwell, Chattaraj, Goddard & Sullivan-Lytle, 2003). This course was designed to provide extension and other community-based educators the basic skills to begin creating more effective and culturally relevant programs. It also focuses on increasing an educator’s cultu ral competence in three areas: cognitive, affective, and behavioral. In other words the course a ddresses the following: what a person knows, what a person feels and how a person acts in regards to diversity. This online course consists of six units. Unit 1: Understanding dive rsity to design programs. Unit 2: Planning programs to break down cultural barriers. Unit 3: Marketing programs to diverse audiences. Unit 4: Maximizing assets of diverse communities to enhance programs. Unit 5: Effective instruction with diverse audiences. Unit 6: Working with diverse audiences over time. Future Research Needed Additional research needed to increase Hispanic enrollment in traditional 4-H clubs should include:

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102 Multi-method research that demonstrates th e impact a traditio nal 4-H club has on Hispanic youth. Factors that can contribute to pr omoting voluntarism among Hispanics. Development of culturally appropr iate programs for Hispanic youth. Impact of culturally appropr iate programs in the enrollment of Hispanic youth. The effect of building partnerships/rel ationships with Hispanic community. Establishment of traditiona l 4-H clubs in the southwest of Miami-Dade County. Summary Chapter 5 provided the discussion of the key findings and their relation to other studies, recommendations drawn from the conc lusion of the study and future research needed. The remainder of the document incl udes the appendices and the structured interview guides for the participants.

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103 APPENDIX A THE 40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

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104 APPENDIX B MODERATOR’S ASSENT TEXT FO R THE FOCUS GROUPS WITH PARTICIPANTS UNDER 18 Good evening/afternoon, I’m very glad that you were able to join us. My name is Gina Mara Canales, I am a student from the University of Florida. I am doing a study about 4-H, and would like for you to he lp with it. If y ou don’t know what 4-H is, I will explain to you what it is and then we will talk about it, and we will discuss whether you would like to be a part of it or not. You do not have to answer a ny questions you don’t feel lik e answering and you can leave the group discussion at any time I want you to know that is up to you to participate or not and this has nothing to do with school and your grades. So, would you like to participate? Before we begin, let me remind you of some gro und rules. (This is a research project and there are no sales involved. You will not be requested to volunteer or attend any future events or programs). Please speak up with only one person speaking at a time. We are tape recording the session because we do not want to miss any of your comments. If several are talking at the same time, the tape will become garbled and we will miss your comments. We will be on a first name basis today, and in our later reports, there will not be any names associated with your comm ents. You may be assured of complete confidentiality. Our session will last about 1-2 hours. We w ill not be taking a formal break. The rest rooms are _______ and refreshments are ________. F eel free to leave the table for either of these, or if you wish to stretch, but plea se do so quietly. We have placed name cards in the table in front of you to help us remember each other’s names. Today we will be discussing your thoughts, opinions, and experiences about your participation (or not) in 4-H traditional clubs. We are interested in all your ideas and comments and there are no right or wrong answer s but rather different points of view. Please feel free to share your point of view, even if it differs from what others have said. Please keep in mind that we ar e interested in negative comments as well as positive ones, and at times the negative comments are the most helpful. I am going to ask the first question differently from the remainder of the questions. I will ask the first question, then pause to allow you to form your thoughts. Then I will ask each of you to respond to the first quest ion. After this, anyone may respond to any question or discus sion at any time. Let’s begin with the first question.

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105 APPENDIX C MODERATOR’S INTRODUCTORY TEXT FOR THE FOCUS GROUPS Good evening/afternoon and welcome to our session. Thank you for taking the time to join our discussion of on traditional 4-H clubs. My name is Gina Canales, a graduate student from the University of Florida; I am from the beautiful country of Honduras. Assisting me today is __________. We are gath ering information about 4-H programs in the county. We have invited people with si milar experiences to share their perceptions and ideas on this topic. You were selected because you have certain things in common that are of interest to us. You are all ________. We are particularly interested in your views because you are representative of others in the Hispanic community. Today we will be discussing your thoughts, opinions, and experiences about your participation (or not) in 4-H traditional clubs. We are interested in all your ideas and comments and there are no right or wrong answer s but rather different points of view. Please feel free to share your point of view, even if it differs from what others have said. Please keep in mind that we ar e interested in negative comments as well as positive ones, and at times the negative comments are the most helpful. Before we begin, let me remind you of some gro und rules. (This is a research project and there are no sales involved. You will not be requested to volunteer or attend any future events or programs). Please speak up with only one person speaking at a time. We are tape recording the session because we do not want to miss any of your comments. If several are talking at the same time, the tape will become garbled and we will miss your comments. We will be on a first name basis today, and in our later reports, there will not be any names associated with your comm ents. You may be assured of complete confidentiality. Our session will last about 1-2 hours. We w ill not be taking a formal break. The rest rooms are _______ and refreshments are ________. F eel free to leave the table for either of these, or if you wish to stretch, but plea se do so quietly. We have placed name cards in the table in front of you to help us remember each other’s names. I am going to ask the first question differently from the remainder of the questions. I will ask the first question, then pause to allow you to form your thoughts. Then I will ask each of you to respond to the first quest ion. After this, anyone may respond to any question or discus sion at any time.

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106 APPENDIX D FOCUS GROUP YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H Start with an ice breaker to get the children involved, th is where everyone introduces themselves. Ice breaker can be the knot and unknot activity 1. When you hear the word 4-H what comes to mind? 2. Let’s talk about how you first found out about 4-H? Listen for Parents TV Friends Radio Church Newspaper School Flyer Word of mouth Probe if necessary 3. Tell us what you think is the purpose of 4-H. 4. Let’s talk about how long have you been involved in 4-H. Follow up 4a. To what level are you involved? Local, county, district, state or national Describe this involvement 5. Tell us if you participate in any other youth programs Listen for After school programs Church Sports Boy/Girl scouts YMCA Boys/Girls club Others Moderator can list them on the flip chart a nd read them out loud to the kids to see if we have missed anything

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107 6. What are the benefits of participating in 4-H? Take a moment and think about it and write these down in a piece of paper. When you are finished, we will share these with each other. Wait a few minutes for the kids to complete their list List the benefits on the flip chart Are there any others we want to add? 7. Tell us what projects you have been involved with. List them on the flip chart Follow up 7a. Are there any projects that would like to do, that you have not yet got into? List then on the flip chart Discuss them and find out why they want to do these projects and why haven’t they done them yet (listen for: they could be fun, it is something I want to learn about, probe if necessary) 8. Let’s talk about what should a good 4-H program look like? List ideas on the flip char t and read them out loud to the kids and discuss them Listen for Having parents involved Having a good club leader Hands-on activities Trips out of town Life skills such as: public speak ing, leadership, responsibility 9. Do you know the extension agent? Follow up 9a. What do you know about that person? 10. How would you describe your current 4-H leader 11. Suppose you were trying to get friends to participate in 4-H. What would you say to them? Follow up: 11a. Tell us if you have told your friends about 4-H. 11b. If so, have your friends gotten involved in 4-H. If they did not get involved 11c Why do you think they did not get involved? 12. Is there anything that we should have talked about but didn’t?

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108 APPENDIX E FOCUS GROUP FOR PARENTS OF YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H 1. Tell us your name and one thing that you wo uld like us to know about your child, for example, one thing that your ch ild does to make you smile. 2. When you hear the word 4-H what comes to mind? 3. Let’s talk about how you first found out about 4-H programs. Listen for TV Friends Radio Church Newspaper School Flyer Word of mouth Probe if necessary 4. What do you think is the purpose of 4-H programs? 5. Tell us how long has your child been involved in 4-H programs. Follow up 5a. To what level are they involved Local, county, district, state or national Describe this involvement 6. Tell us how accessible 4-H programs are to your family. Follow up 6a. How does your child get to 4-H meetings? Family, neighbors, friends or other members 6b. Is the time, day and location accessible for you? 6c Is it easy for your child to get to the locati on where the programs or meetings are being held? 7. What are the benefits of your child particip ating in 4-H programs? Take a moment and write these down on a piece of paper. When you are finished, we will share these with each other. Pause and wait a few minutes for participants to complete their list List the benefits on a flip chart After discussing the list on the flip chart ask: Are there any other benefits we did not mention?

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109 8. Tell us how you feel about your child participating in 4-H. Encourage the group to tell us about the positive things first, after citing the positive we can ask if there is any negative things the kids say about 4-H Probes Is fun for them They learn about interesting things They hang around with their friends They learn new skills They learn how to relate to others 9. What should a good 4H program look like? Pass out handouts and rank the items Explain to the participants that they have to rank the qualities from strongly agree to strongly disagree If there is a literacy problem the moderator can walk them through it Are there any other qualities we did not mention? Collect the handouts 10. Suppose you were trying to encourage other pa rents to get their children involved in 4H programs. What would you say? Follow up: 10a. Tell us if you have told other parents about 4-H. 10b If so, have these parents involved their child in 4-H? If they did not get involved in 4-H 10c Why do you think they did not get involved? 11. What would it take to get you to participate as a 4-H volunteer? 12. Is there anything that we should have talked about but didn’t?

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110 APPENDIX F FOCUS GROUP YOUTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H Start with an ice breaker to get the children involved, th is where everyone introduces themselves. Ice breaker can be the knot and unknot activity 1. Let’s talk about youth programs in your community? Follow up 1a. What programs do you know about? 2. Tell us if you are involved in any youth programs? Listen for After school programs Church Sports Boy/Girl scouts YMCA Boys/Girls club Others Moderator can list them on the flip chart a nd read them out loud to the kids to see if we have missed anything 3. Have you ever heard of 4-H programs? If the answer is yes, follow up 3a. What do you know about 4-H programs? 3b. Have you ever been involved in 4-H? 3c. If not, why have you not been involved? The moderator will give a brief description of 4-H (Brief history, what it is, what it stands for) and the principle be nefits that it provides youth. 4. Think about how a program like 4-H wo uld benefit you? Take a moment and think about it and write these down on a pi ece of paper. When you are finished, we will share these with each other. Wait a few minutes for the kids to complete their list List the benefits on the flip chart Are there any other we want to add? 5. Would you be interested in participating in a 4-H program? Probe: Why? Why not?

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111 6. Let’s talk about what a good 4-H program looks like? List them on the flip chart and read th em out loud to the kids and discuss them Listen for Having parents involved Having a good club leader Hands-on activities Trips out of town Life skills such as: public speak ing, leadership, responsibility 7. What characteristics do you think the p erson that leads a 4-H program should have? 8. Suppose you were trying to get friends to participate in 4-H. What you say to them? 9. What would it take to get you to participate in 4-H? 10. Is there anything that we should have talked about but didn’t?

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112 APPENDIX G FOCUS GROUP PARENTS OF YOUTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H 1. Tell us your name and one thing that you would like us to know about your child, for example, one thing that yo ur child does to make you smile. 2. Lets’ talk about youth programs in your community Follow up 2a. What programs do you know about? 3. Tell us if your child is in volved in any youth programs Listen for After school programs Church Sports Boy/Girl scouts YMCA Boys/Girls club Others 4. Have you ever heard of 4-H programs? If the answers is yes, follow up 4a. What do you know about 4-H programs? 4b. Have you and your child ever been involved in 4-H? 4c. If not, why have you and your child not been involved? The moderator will give a brief description of 4-H (Brief history, what it is, what it stands for) and the principle be nefits that it provides youth. 5. Think about how a program like 4-H woul d benefit your child. What comes to mind? List the benefits on a flip chart After discussing the list on the flip chart ask: Are there any other benefits we did not mention? 6. Would you be interested in allowing your child to participate in a 4-H? Probe Why? Why not?

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113 7. What should a good 4H program look like? Pass out handouts and rank the items Explain to the participants that they have to rank the qualities from strongly agree to strongly disagree If there is a literacy problem the moderator can walk them through it Are there any other qualities we did not mention? Collect the handouts 8. Suppose we are trying to encourage parents to get their children involved in 4-H. What would you say? 9. What would it take to get you to allo w your children to participate in 4-H? Follow up 9a. Would you have time and ability to take your child to meetings? Probe Weekly Monthly 10. Would you like to receive information about 4-H? Follow up 10a. How would you like to receive the information? Other parents TV Friends Radio Church Newspaper School Flyer Word of mouth 11. Is there anything that we should have talked about but didn’t?

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114 APPENDIX H QUESTIONS TO GUIDE INTERVIEW OF 4-H PROFESSIONALS 1. Tell me your name and how long have you been working/involved with 4-H? Possible follow up: Were you involved in 4-H as a child? If yes, share with me your experience. 2. Tell me about you current programs? Possible follow up: do you have programs that are sp ecifically oriented to Hispanics? If yes, what type of program is it? 3. How do you determine the content of your programs? Possible follow up: did you do a needs assessment? Do you read articles/writings of what has/has not worked? Do you ask other 4-H agents? Do you ask your volunteers?

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115 4. Tell me what a traditional 4-H club is a nd how it differs from your other programs? Possible follow up: what are the ma in characteristics of you clubs? How diverse are the 4-H clubs in your county? 5. Let’s talk about the diverse population within the county, how diverse is it? Possible follow up: what is the highest minority within the county? How does this impact your programs? How does extension deal with diversity? Are there any benefits of working with a diverse clientele? 6. Let’s focus on the Hispanics, how willing are Hispanics to participate in your programs or traditional 4-H clubs? Possible follow up: do you have any Hispanic 4-H leaders? If not, what do you think the reasons are? 7. What do you think of working w ithin the Hispanic population? Possible follow up: have you faced any barriers? If yes, share with me your experience. Is the diversity among Hispanics a barrier or an opportunity to the implementation of programs? Is the language a barrier? Could it be the lack of knowledge about 4-H?

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116 8. What skills or talents do you expect 4-H leaders to have? Follow-Up: What are the most important duties of a 4-H leader? How does extension encourage potential adults to take on responsibilities such as serving as a 4-H leader? Do you think that within the Hispanics you work with, you can find 4-H leaders? What are the strategies you use for the recruitment of 4-H leaders? Do you provide any training to the 4-H leaders? If yes, what type of training? 9. Typically, why do 4-H members or their pa rents withdraw from 4-H programs or traditional 4-H clubs Possible Follow-Up: What factors are involved in a 4-H member or their parent’s decision to leave the program or club? 10. What educational programs would you lik e to see offered for the Hispanic population? Possible Follow-Up: What skills do Hispanic members most need? 11. How feasible would it be to have a program oriented specifically for Hispanics? Possible Follow-Up: What would be the main barriers to do this?

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117 12. What would you recommend other 4-H agents do in order to increa se their Hispanic participation within 4-H? 13. Is there anything that we should have talked a bout but didn’t?

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118 APPENDIX I INFORMED CONSENT Protocol Title: Hispanic Involvement in 4-H Programs Please read this consent form document be fore you decide to participate in this study Purpose of the study: The purpose of this study is to determine Hispanic’s perception about the 4-H programs offered by the Florida Cooperative Extension System in order to improve and develop programs that focus on their needs. The overall purpose is to increase the ability of extension to respond to the needs of Hispanics. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to participate in a focus group where you are going to share your experien ces, perceptions and opinions of the 4H program in which you participate. Thes e findings will benefit future 4-H program planning in that 4-H youth development agents and states specialists will be aware of the impact that 4-H club experience has on the positive development of Hispanic youth. Time required: 2 hours Risk and Benefits: Participation in this study will not put anyone at any risk for physical or economic harm, nor create any psychological ri sk greater than the experienced in daily life. There is no direct benefit to participan ts. There is no compen sation for participating in this study. Confidentiality, Voluntary participation and Right to withdraw from the study: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your information will be assigned a code number. The list c onnecting your name to this number will be kept in a locked file in my faculty supervisor’s office. When the study is completed and the database has been analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report. Your participati on in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw cons ent for your participation at any time without consequence. Number of participants that will be recruited: The maximum number of participants that will be recruited is thirty-two. Whom to contact if you have any questions about the study: Gina Maria Canales, Graduate Student, Department of Agricu ltural Education and Communication, 352-3920502, gcanales@ufl.edu fax 352-392-9585

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119 Supervisor: Dr. Nick Place, Associate Professor 305 Rolfs Hall P.O. Box 110540 Gainesville, FL 32611, 352-392-0502 ext.227, nplace@ufl.edu fax 352-392-9585 Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; phone number 352-392-0433 Agreement: I have read the procedure described a bove. I voluntarily ag ree to participate in the procedure and I have a copy of this description. Participant: Date: Principal Investigator: Date:

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PAGE 142

132 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Gina Maria Canales Hernndez was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on November 4, 1976. Between 1994 and 1998, she a ttended Zamorano, “Escuela Agricola Panamerica,” where she earned the Bachelor of Science in agriculture with a minor in natural resources. After graduating, she wo rked for 4 years in a rural development program “Programa de Manejo de los Recursos Renovable de la Cuenca de El Cajn.” In 2003 she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to continue her gradua te studies at the University of Florida in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.


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Title: Perceptions about Traditional 4-H Clubs among the Hispanic Clientele in Southwest Miami-Dade County
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Holding Location: University of Florida
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PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TRADITIONAL 4-H CLUBS AMONG THE HISPANIC
CLIENTELE IN SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY














By

GINA MARIA CANALES HERNANDEZ


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2007

































Copyright 2007

by

Gina Maria Canales Hernandez



































To my parents, Eduardo Canales and Georgina Hernandez de Canales.











ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people supported me during this research. First and foremost I want to thank

God for his immense love, help, and fidelity. I give him the honor and glory of this

journey.

I would 1 like to thank my supervisory committee members (Dr. Nick Place, Dr.

Tracy Irani, Dr. Lisa Guion, and Dr. Marta Hartmann) for giving me the opportunity to

work with them, and for their great contributions to my personal and professional

development. I am especially grateful to Dr. Nick Place. Without his guidance,

perseverance, and patience this would have not been possible. I will always admire him

personally and professionally. I also want express my gratitude to the Fulbright Program,

Dr. Ed Osborne, and the faculty of Agricultural Education and Communication for

enabling me to pursue my graduate studies, and for all their support and encouragement.

I extend my thanks to all the Agricultural Education and Communication Department

staff for their help; especially Ms. Betty Yaretzki.

Further more I want to express my deep gratitude for Dr. Marilyn Norman and the

4-H1 program at the University of Florida for allowing me to work with such a wonderful

program. I want to express my deep gratitude to Dr. Hartmann and Dr. Russo for their

guidance and support through this journey. I thank all of my friends (Elena, Kelly,

Tirhani, Dilcia, Pili, and Alejandra) for the memories and friendships. Finally I would

like to thank my parents, brothers, grandparents, family, and friends for all of their love

and support from a distance.





















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv


LI ST OF T ABLE S ................. ................. viii............


AB STRAC T ................ .............. ix


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......


Background ................. ...............1.......... ......
Cooperative Extension............... ...............4
The 4-H Youth Development Program............... ...............5.
Problem Statement ................. ...............7.................

Purpose .............. ...............9.....
Obj ectives ................. ...............9.......... ......
Limitations ................. ...............10.................

Operational Definitions .............. ...............10....
Summary ................. ...............11.................


2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................. ...............12................


Youth Development ................. .......... ... .... ........ ..........1
Positive Youth Development Approach ................. .............. ......... .....14
Positive Youth Development Constructs................ ..............1
Youth Development Programs .............. ...............18....
H i spani c s................... ...... .... ... ...............19.....
Diversity and Cultural Traits ................ ...............20................
Hispanic Youth ................. ...............23.................
Youth Programs ................. ...............27.................
Learning Styles ................. ...............29.................
Cultural Barriers .............. ...............3 2....
Volunteerism .............. ...............33....
Hi story of 4-H ............_.._ ........ ...............3_ 4...
The 4-H Program ............_.._ ........ ...............35.....
The 4-H Delivery Methods............... ...............37
Urban 4-H Programming ............_..__........_......_._ ............3
The 4-H Clubs .............. ...............40....













Impact of 4-H .........__ ....__ ....___ .......__ ....._.__............41
Outreach to Hispanics............... ...............4
Summary ................. ...............46._ ___.......


3 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............47....


Research Design .............. ...............47....

Population ............. ...... ._ ...............48....
The 4-H Members............... ...............49
Parents of 4-H Members ............. ............ ...............49...
Non-4-H Members............... ...............50
Parents of non-4-H Members ................. ........................ ..............50
The 4-H Professionals .............. ...............51....
Instrumentation ............. ...... ._ ...............51....
Data Collection Procedure ............. ...... ._ ...............53....

Data Analysis............... ...............57
Sum m ary ............. ...... ._ ...............58....


4 RE SULT S .............. ...............59....


Participants .............. ...............59....

O objective 1................ .......... ...............6
4-H Members Perceptions and Impacts of 4-H ....._____ ........___ ..............61
4-H is agriculture and fun............... ...............61..
Learning about 4-H .............. ...............62....
Youth involvement ............. .....___ .....__ ............6

Development of life skills ................. .......... .. ... .._ .. .............. ...64
Start small, offer diversity, recognition and have a good leader .................. 66
Join our club!i Its fun and we accept everyone ....._____ ...... ......_........68
Parents of 4-H Members ............. ..... .__ ...... ............6

4-H is agriculture, friends and community ....._____ ........___ ..............69
Learning about 4-H .............. ...............70....
Development of life skills ................ ............. .....___.............. ...71

A good program is a collaborative effort .............. ...............73....
Obj ective 2 ............. ...... ._ ...............73....
Non-4-H Members............... ...............74
Parents of Non-4-H Members .............. ...............76....

Obj ective 3 .............. .. ..... ........__ ............8
Current Programs and Types of Clubs .............. ...............80....
4-H M embers ............. ...... ._ ...............82....
Successful 4-H Clubs .............. ...............83....

Sum m ary ............. ...... ._ ...............84....


5 DI SCUS SSION ............. ...... ._ ............... 8....


Discussion of Key Findings ............... .....___ ...............88...
4-Members and Parents of 4-H members ....._____ ...... ..___ ...........__....88












Non-4-H Members and Parents of Non-4-H Members ................. ................. .90
4-H Professionals. ............ ..... ._ ...............92...
Conclusion ............ ..... ._ ...............94...
Recommendations............... ............9
Future Research Needed ............ ..... ._ ...............101...
Summary ............ ..... ._ ...............102...

APPENDIX


A THE 40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS .............. ...............103....


B MODERATOR' S ASSENT TEXT FOR THE FOCUS GROUPS WITH
PARTICIPANT S UNDER 18 ............ ..... .__ ....__ ........__.........104


C MODERATOR' S INTRODUCTORY TEXT FOR THE FOCUS GROUPS .........105


D FOCUS GROUP YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H ...._._._.. ........_._ ..............106


E FOCUS GROUP FOR PARENTS OF YOUTH INVOLVED IN 4-H ............__.....108


F FOCUS GROUP YOUTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H ................. ........_._._......110


G FOCUS GROUP PARENTS OF YOUTH NOT INVOLVED IN 4-H. .................112


H QUESTIONS TO GUIDE INTERVIEW OF 4-H PROFESSIONALS ................... 114

I INFORMED CONSENT ................. ...............118................


LIST OF REFERENCE S ................. ...............120................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............132......... ......


















LIST OF TABLES


Table pg

2-1 Formal versus nonformal education ......................_._ ......... ...........4

3-1 Categories of question for focus groups............... ...............58.

4-1 Four-H members focus group participants ........._.._.. ....._.. ........__. .......8

4-2 Parents of 4-H members focus group participants ........._.._.. ....... .............86

4-3 Non-4-H members focus group participants .............. ...............86....

4-4 Parents of non-4-H members focus group participants.............___ ........._ ......86

4-5 Themes emerged from focus groups with 4-H members and parents of 4-H
m em bers. ............. ...............86.....
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TRADITIONAL 4-H CLUBS AMONG THE HISPANIC
CLIENTELE IN SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

By

Gina Maria Canales Hernandez

May 2007

Chair: Nick Place
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication

According to the US Census Bureau, there has been a modest increase in the non-

Hispanic White, African American and American Indian population. On the other hand,

the Hispanic population is now considered the largest minority in the country

(37 million). The 37 million does not include the estimated 3.5 million immigrants who

have illegal status. Florida' s Hispanic Population increased by 70.4% (from 1.6 billion to

2.7 million) between 1990 and 2000. In sheer numbers, Miami Dade County will

experience the largest increase, where the number of Hispanics is proj ected to increase by

nearly 900,000, followed by Orange, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties.

Hispanic youth have become the fastest growing youth population in the country.

Hispanics make up a significant percentage of the population in many cities and will

continue to comprise larger portions of school-age and college-age populations. This

situation clearly shows the need to pay more attention to youth development programs

targeting Hispanic youth.










The purpose of this study is to describe the perception of Hispanics about 4-H

programs offered by the Cooperative Extension System in the State of Florida in

southwest Miami-Dade County. The specific objectives of the study are to:

* Describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic
members and their parents.

* Describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members
of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County.

* Describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade
County.

The overall purpose is to increase the ability of extension to respond to the

Hispanics needs in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County was intentionally selected

due to the high percentage of Hispanic population. Four focus groups were conducted

* 4-H members
* parents of 4-H members
* non-4-H members and
* parents of non-4-H members

In addition, interviews with 4-H professionals were conducted to achieve the

objectives. Overall, results provide an insight that involvement in traditional 4-H clubs

does affect the development of life skills among Hispanic youth. It also shows that non-

4-H members and parents of non-4-H members are eager to participate in 4-H programs,

Four-H has the potential to provide the Hispanic population in Miami-Dade County with

youth development programs that focus on providing youth with skills to become capable

and competent adults. Finally, results showed the need to hire more bilingual/bicultural

4-H agents, to be able to outreach Hispanics and increase their enrollment.















CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Background

Population counts from the 2000 Census indicate that the Hispanic population is

the fastest growing group in the United States. The United States Hispanic population

increased from 22.4 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000. These numbers indicate that

the Hispanic population grew more than 57% since 1990. This is over four times the

growth of the total population, which increased by 13% during the same period

(Alba-Johnson, 2003; Brindis, Driscoll, Biggs & Valderrama, 2002d; Chapa & De La

Rosa, 2004; Guzman, 2001).

According to Valdez (2000), this reported increase among Hispanics in the United

States does not include the immigrants who have an illegal status, who are estimated to

account for approximately 3.5 million people. Furthermore, Hispanics have continued to

grow very rapidly since the last US Census; for example, the Hispanic population grew

9.8% between 2000 and 2002, while the population as a whole only had an increase of

2.5% (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004).

This high increase is a consequence of the high rates of immigration among

Hispanics. Immigration to the United States has been greatest among Mexican and

Central Americans fleeing the political and economic events in their countries of origin

(Ortiz, 1995; Ramirez, 2004). The increase can also be attributed to the high rates of

birth among Hispanics; in 2004 the rate was 22.9 per 1,000, which is the highest as









compared to 1 1.7 per 1,000 of non-Hispanic White and 15.7 per 1,000 of African

American (Hamilton, Ventura, Martin & Sutton, 2005).

Hispanics tend to remain heavily concentrated in certain regions of the United States,

notably the Southwest (most significantly, California), the Northeast, Florida and several

urban centers of the Midwest (Department of Health & Human Services [DHHS], 2005;

Kandel & Cromartie, 2004). Florida has the fourth largest population of Hispanics in the

United States, it has increased by 70.4% from 1.6 million to 2.7 million between 1990

and 2000 (Guzman, 2001). In sheer numbers, the top five counties in Florida with the

highest Hispanic populations are Miami-Dade with 1.3 million, Broward with 271,652,

Hillsborough with 179,692, Orange with 168,361, and Palm Beach with 140,675;

Osceola County ranks sixth with 50,727 Hispanics (US Census Bureau, 2000). These

numbers demonstrate that this nationality group is gaining ground in Florida. As result

there are several places in Miami, like Hialeah, where the maj ority of people are

Hispanic, and Spanish is the predominant spoken language.

Hispanics are a young population. The 2000 Census and the most up-to-date

proj sections indicate that Hispanics are the fastest growing youth population in the

country. Proj sections indicate that by the year 2050 Hispanics will represent 29% of the

youth population. Guzman (2001) and Chapa and De la Rosa (2004) report that more

than one third are under age 18, as compared to about one quarter of non-Hispanics; they

have much younger age distributions (median age of 26 years) compared to non-

Hispanics (median age 36 years).

This verifies that Hispanics make up a significant percentage of the population in

many cities and will continue to compromise large portions of school age and college-age










populations. This rapid growth clearly demonstrates the need to focus on youth

development programs that target youth (Alba-Johnson, 2003; Chapa & De La Rosa,

2004; Chapa & Valencia, 1993; Mehan, Hubbard & Villanueva, 1994; Valdivieso, 1990).

Currently, Hispanic youth face a number of obstacles that obstruct them from

developing competencies to succeed. The 2000 Census reported that Hispanics are the

most undereducated group in the United States (Alba-Johnson, 2003). The educational

conditions of Hispanics has been characterized by:

* Below-grade level enrollment
* High drop out rates
* High illiteracy rates
* Low number of school years completed

According to Therrien and Ramirez (2000) only 46% of Hispanics had completed

high school or had some college and only 10% had a bachelor' s degree. Unfortunately

this contributes to lower-status occupations that translate into lower income and higher

poverty rates among Hispanics.

Alba-Johnson (2003) states that in the United States, a successful young person is

expected to graduate from high school, gain the education and skills necessary to be

economically independent, and consequently contribute to society. Furthermore she

explains that, Hispanic youth are not meeting these expectations because they do not have

access to basic opportunities and resources. They encounter a number of obstacles that

get in the way of their development such as language barriers, poverty and limited access

to education (Brindis et al., 2002a). Therefore, it is essential and reasonable to take into

account the cultural differences among Hispanics and then develop appropriate youth

programs that are going to prepare youth to lead productive and healthy lives

(Alba-Johnson, 2003).










Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension is the world's largest nonformal educational organization

and is widely known for its achievements in addressing the concerns of a changing

society (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). The term extension was first used

during the late 1800's, in connection with education, to describe the methods that were

being used to disseminate knowledge from the University of Cambridge in England to the

people that lived near their surroundings (Brewer, 2001; Jones & Garforth, 1997).

According to Rivera and Gustafson (as cited in Brewer, 2001) it was after World War II

that a number of countries decided to establish extension systems. The main reason was

the considerable backlog of science and technology that had accumulated during the war

and the fact that soldiers were returning to the farms. Extension work was seen as a way

to promote economic growth and enhance the use of modern input through nonformal

education.

In the United States extension is facilitated through the Cooperative Extension

System (CES). In 1914 the Smith Lever Act formally created the CES, and it is a

cooperative educational relationship between three different levels of government the

federal partner USDA, the state partner being land-grant universities and the county

partner being the local government. CES is a public funded, nonformal educational

system that links the education and research resources (Graham, 1994; Seevers et al.,

1997). Extension does not offer credit courses, grades or grants degrees but it enlarges

and improves the abilities of the people to adopt more appropriate practices to adjust to

changing and societal needs (Graham, 1994).









The mission of the CES has evolved over the years, but in essence it is to enable

people to improve their lives as well as their communities. Cooperative Extension

System accomplishes the mission by providing people with practical and useful education

that they can use in addressing problems they face on a daily basis (Seever et al., 1997).

For example, during World War I, extension mobilized the war food production efforts;

while food production, preservation and clothing conservation projects were stressed. In

the 1920's, the emphasis changed from production to economic concerns, farm efficiency

and the quality of life. During the great depression the farm seed and loan program was

organized and extension managed it. Moreover farm families were drawn into active

participation in county, state and national public affairs, home economics programs were

geared towards family self sufficiency. In the post depression and the new deal era,

extension became involved in the management of many federal programs such as:

Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Soil Conservation Service, Rural Electrification

Program, and the Farmer' s Home Administration (Pennsylvania State University, 2005).

The 4-H Youth Development Program

The 4-H program of the CES started as an American innovation. It originated at

the turn of the 20th century because of a vital need to improve life in the rural areas.

According to Kelsey and Heamne (as cited in Russell, 2001) the main purpose of the

program was the development of boys and girls so they would turn out to be responsible

and capable citizens. The program introduced improved methods of farming and

homemaking to youth by practical and "hands-on" learning. During the early stages of

4-H, the clubs consisted of growing comn, planting a garden, testing soil, club meetings,









and visits to club member' s plots and exhibits (National 4-H Headquarters [N4H], 2005a;

North Dakota State University [NDST] Extension Service, 2005).

The first record of any known 4-H type activity was in 1898. Liberty Hyde Bailey

of Cornell University inaugurated a system of junior naturalist brochures in rural schools

and assisted in the organization of nature study clubs. Around 1907, 4-H began to work

under the auspices of the US Department of Agriculture. In 1914 through the Smith

Lever act, Congress formed the Cooperative Extension Service, and it included boys and

girls clubs also known as 4-H clubs. In 1915 there were 4-H clubs in 47 states in the

United States. During World War I, the energies of 4-H members were devoted to

raising food. Projects consisted of raising corn and canning tomatoes. Following a

period of readjustment after World War I, 4-H club work showed continual growth. Some

states developed 4-H programs in close relationship to local school districts. Others

established clubs as community programs separate from schools (NDST Extension

Service, 2005).

As the 4-H program continued to grow through the 1920's and 1930's more

emphasis was placed on the development of the individual rather than the product

produced. The focus of the program was the development of skills in farming and

homemaking. The 1950's and 1960's saw increasing numbers of non-farm youth

enrolling in the program. In 1948, 4-H went international with the establishment of the

International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE), first called the Intemnational Farm Youth

Exchange (N4H, 2005b; NDST Extension Service, 2005). According to the N4H

(2005a), the program has evolved considerably through the past 100 years; 4-H offers

youth opportunities in communications, leadership, career development, livestock, home










improvement, and computer technology. Nowadays, programs are found in rural and

urban areas throughout the country, and it has been able to integrate boys and girls in

clubs and reach a diverse cultural audience.

Florida 4-H reached a total of 240,563 youth in 2004-2005 (September 1st to

August 31s~t) through their programming. Four-H serves youth from all racial, ethnic, and

economic backgrounds. Florida 4-H provides curriculum and programming in the

following areas: citizenship and civic education, communication and expressive arts,

consumer and family sciences, environmental education and earth science, healthy

lifestyle education, personal development and leadership, plant and animal, and science

and technology. In Miami-Dade 4-H reached a total of 10, 368 through organized clubs

(community /project, in school, after school, and military clubs), 4-H special

interest/short term programs and 4-H camping programs. Only 480 youth was involved

in community/proj ect clubs representing only a 4.63% of the total youth reached

(University of Florida, 2005).

Problem Statement

Hispanics are drawn to large counties like Miami-Dade, where more jobs are

available and large numbers of Hispanics have already established their residence.

Nevertheless, some of Florida' s smaller counties will experience the greatest changes of

proportions of their population. These include Osceola, Flagler, and Lake counties,

which were expected to grow by 281%, 257% and 217% respectively, between 2000 and

2003 (Smith, 2004). The youth population (0-19) in Florida has shown increasing

growth rates over the last 30 years, from 15.5% between 1970-1980 to 25.2% between

1990 and 2000. It is projected, that the 2010 census will count 4,495,447 people ages









19 and younger, representing 23.7% of the total state population (Economic &

Demographic Research, 2006).

As previously mentioned, this increase in the youth population indicates the

increase of Hispanic youth in the State of Florida. That is why a lack of attention to

Hispanic youth development could lead to greater economic and social problems such as

decline in worker skill levels, below average income, and increases in health and social

services costs across the country. All these problems can affect the economy and

structure of today's society (Mehan et al., 1994). In order to address this issue, extension

programs in the United States should foster culturally sensitive contexts that target

specific needs of Hispanic youth, promoting more adequate strategies that help them

achieve positive development.

Reports suggest that Hispanics undergo unique educational and language

challenges (Carlo, Carranza & Zamboanga, 2002). A good example is that Hispanics are

less likely to complete high school and obtain a college degree compared to White

non-Hispanic youth (Ramirez, 2004; Therrien & Ramirez, 2000). For this reason, it is

important to consider that Hispanic youth have particular characteristics and obstacles to

overcome such as: language barriers, poverty, immigration, acculturation, low

educational attainment, low self-esteem, and mobility. These are obstacles that place

them in very disadvantaged situations (Chain, 1993; Chapa & Valencia, 1993; Hurtado

&Gauvain, 1997; Narro-Garcia, 2001; Orum, 1986; Valdivieso, 1990). Changing

demographics and distinct cultural factors relevant to Hispanics have prompted the

necessity for culture-specific programming (Zamboanga & Knoche, 2003). To work









effectively with any ethic group, educators and extension agents need to be aware of the

values in their own culture, as well as sensitivity to differences in other cultures.

Hispanics are not only growing in numbers, but they are also moving to areas not

previously populated by them. As a result extension's Spanish-speaking audience has

increased and understanding and addressing the needs of the Hispanic population is

becoming increasingly important (Watson, 2001; Zamboanga & Knoche, 2003). One of

the biggest challenges of extension is to attract and increase Hispanic clientele and to

deliver programs that are culturally sensitive (Schauber & Castania, 2001). Based on the

above, this study seeks to assess the factors that limit the extension system's ability to

meet the needs for the Hispanic population specifically in the 4-H Youth Development

program. Through examining the impact on youth of past or present programs;

interviews between 4-H professionals, youth and parents were be conducted. The goal is

to identify areas for improvements that can be translated into practical recommendations

for the UF/IFAS extension system.

Purpose

This study aims to describe the perception of Hispanics about 4-H programs

offered by the Cooperative Extension System in the State of Florida in southwest Miami-

Dade County. An aim of the study is to improve and develop programs that account for

their specific needs. The overall purpose is to increase the ability of extension to respond

to the Hispanics needs in Miami-Dade County.

Obj ectives

* To describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic
members and their parents.

* To describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic
members of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County.










* To describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-
Dade County.

Limitations

* The diversity of Hispanics in Florida. Hispanics are not only different from the
general anglo and non-anglo population by most demographic and socioeconomic
measures, but they also differ among themselves, representing a diverse collection
of economic groups, nationalities, acculturation stages and English fluency levels.

* The resistance of Hispanics to participate in the study as a result of the current
situation of their immigration status in the United States.

* Researcher bias. She has a preconceived idea of why Hispanics do not participate in
4-H programs. In order to minimize this effect a third person, who is more
obj ective, will collaborate with the researcher on data collection and interpretation
to assure validity.

Operational Definitions

* 4-H member: a youth that is currently involved in a 4-H traditional club in Miami
Dade County. The researcher determined this for the purpose of this study.

* Traditional 4-H club: a club consisting of boys and girls from eight to 18 years of
age. The club provides the members with high ideals of civic responsibility,
community leadership, and contributed to youth and growth development. It has a
planned program that is carried out throughout the year. The researcher determined
this for the purpose of this study.

* Acculturation: is the multifaceted process of adjusting to a host culture and taking
on the values, beliefs and behaviors of that culture (Dana, 1996).

* Assimilation: is the process of social, economic, and political integration of an
ethnic minority group into mainstream society (Keefe & Padilla as cited in Shaull
& Gramann, 1998).

* Cooperative Extension Service: is a nonformal educational program implemented
in the United States, designed to help people use research-based knowledge to
improve their lives (Seevers et al., 1997).

* Cultural awareness: this requires one to understand similarities and differences
between one's own culture and other cultures. This process begins by
understanding qualities important to one's own culture (Oakland, in press).

* Focus groups: these are group interviews, fundamentally for listening to people
and learning from them. A moderator guides the interview while a small group of









six to eight participants who come from similar backgrounds discuss the topic the
interviewer raises (Morgan, 1998).

* Hispanic: person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or
other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race (Ramirez, 2004).

* Nonformal education: any organized educational activity outside the established
formal system: whether operating separately or as an important feature of some
broader activity. It is intended to serve identifiable learning clienteles and learning
objectives (Smith, 2005).

* Youth development: is an ongoing process in which all youth are engaged and
invested, a process where young people need to meet their basic needs and develop
competencies they consider necessary for success (Pitmann, 1991).

Summary

In summary, Hispanics in the United States and in the state of Florida are the

fastest growing minority, and they are gaining ground. As a result, their presence will

continue to be noticed, as more and more time goes by. This increase translates into an

increase in the Hispanic youth population, fifty percent of the Hispanic population in the

country is under the age of 26 and thirty five percent is younger than 18. Hispanics are

the most undereducated group in the United States. Consequently this contributes to

lower-status occupations that translate into lower income and high poverty rates. In

addition the lack of youth development programs targeted to Hispanics has hindered them

from becoming successful young adults. This chapter provided a background, and a

description of the importance and relevancy of the study as well as an overview of the

current situation of Hispanics in the United States and the need for youth development

programs targeted to Hispanic youth.















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter provides an overview of the available literature on youth development,

4-H, and Hispanics. Youth development was discussed to give an overall purpose and

need for youth development. Secondly, 4-H was discussed to have an idea of what it is

and what it offers youth for their development. Lastly, the researcher provides an

overview of the Hispanic culture, its demographics and the current situation in the United

States.

Youth Development

Youth can be described as young people, adolescents or teenagers. Making the

transition from elementary school-age children to adolescents is a time with great change

on many levels (National Research Council & Institute of Medicine [NRCIM], 2002).

Usually the most dramatic are the biological changes linked with puberty, that include

shifts in the shape of the body, emergence of the menstrual cycle in females and onset of

fertility (Herbert & Martinez, 2001). There are also maj or social changes linked with both

school and shifts in the roles that adolescents are expected to assume as they mature. For

example, teenagers select which peer groups to j oin and how to spend their time after

school. They also make future educational and occupational plans that they pursue

through high school coursework and out-of-school activities (NRCIM, 2002). Due to the

impact that these choices and behaviors can have over their future, it is important to look

at different options on how to help youth to make this transition smoother.










Many researchers have proposed systematic ways to think about the developmental

challenges, opportunities, and risks of this period of life. The most prominent has been

Erick Erickson with his theory of human development. Erickson (1950) believed that

humans develop through a life span; he developed eight psychosocial stages that humans

encounter throughout their life. The stages identified by Erickson (Huitt, 1997; Sharkey,

1997) are as followed:

* Trust vs. mistrust
* Autonomy vs. shame and doubt
* Initiative vs. guilt
* Industry vs. inferiority
* Identity vs. role confusion
* Intimacy vs. isolation
* Generativity vs. stagnation
* Ego integrity vs. despair

Erickson was one of the first theorists that recognized that the most important force

driving human behavior and the development of personality was social interaction, and

pointed out "ego strengths develop from trusting relationships" (Coughlan & Welsh-

Breetzke, 2002; Huitt, 1997).

Pitmann (1991) defined youth development as an ongoing growth process in which

all youth are engaged and invested a process where young people need to meet their basic

needs and develop competencies that are considered necessary for success. It is a process

that automatically involves all the people around youth including family and community.

A young person is not able to build essential skills and competencies and be able to feel

safe; cared for, valued, useful, and spiritually grounded unless their family and

community provide them with the supports and opportunities they need along the way

(Center for Youth Development & Research, n.d.)









In the past youth development was focusing on problems that youth faced such as:

learning disabilities, affective disorders; antisocial conduct; low motivation and

achievement; drinking; drug use; smoking; psychological crises triggered by maturational

episodes such as puberty; and risks of neglect, abuse, and economic deprivation that is

common among certain populations (Damon, 2004; Lerner, Brentano, Dowling &

Anderson, 2002). This approach viewed the adolescence stage as a period characterized

with problems, where young people are seen as potential problems that need to be

corrected before they harm themselves or others around them (Amett, 1999; Damon,

2004; NRCIM, 2002).

During the 1990's youth development experienced a shift from the approach that

focused on the deficits of youth to an approach that emphasizes on supporting youth

before problem behaviors arise (Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak & Hawkins, 1998,

2004; Damon 2004). Youth practitioners realized that youth have talents and needs that

communities could no longer ignore. When society fails to provide youth with support

and opportunities, as adults they may experience unemployment, have drug or alcohol

problems, commit crimes, and become a drain on community resources (National

Clearinghouse on Family & Youth [NCFY], 2006)

Positive Youth Development Approach

According to Damon (2004) and Lemner et al. (2002), this approach begins with a

vision of a fully able child eager to explore the world, gain competence, and acquire the

capacity to contribute importantly to its community. The approach recognizes the

existence of adversities and developmental challenges that may affect children in

different ways. It emphasizes that young people may appropriately be regarded as

resources to be developed rather than a problem to society (Lemner, 2005).









The focus of this approach is on providing services and opportunities to support all

young people in developing a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and

empowerment (DHHS, 2004). Another change brought by the positive youth

development approach was the way child-community was understood. It considers the

whole community in relation to the whole child rather than privileging any particular

interaction of capacity (Damon & Gregory, 2002). This approach perceives the child as a

full partner in the community-child relation, bearing a full share of rights and

responsibilities. It works best when all the community, including young people, are

involved in creating a variety of services and opportunities they need to develop into

happy and healthy adults (NCFY, 2006).

During the mid-1990's the approach was solidified by the work of Benson (1997)

and The Search Institute, they focused on the "developmental assets." The Search

Institute approach emphasizes the talents, energies, strengths, and constructive interests

that every young person possesses (Damon, 2004). The Search Institute's 40

developmental assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities

essential to raising successful young people. These assets are categorized into two

groups of 20 assets (external and internal assets).

External assets are the positive experiences youth receive from the world around

them. The 20 external assets are about supporting and empowering youth, about setting

boundaries and expectations, and about positive and constructive use of their time.

Internal assets identify the characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal

growth and development of young people. These assets are about positive values and

identity, social competencies, and commitment to learning (Appendix A).









The fundamental idea was that, the more of these assets that you provide teenagers with;

the less likely they are to become involved in risky behaviors (Damon, 2004; Search

Institute, 2006).

Currently researchers are Einding new evidence that offers an empirical

demonstration of why increasing positive youth development outcome is likely to prevent

problem behavior (Catalano et al., 2004). This evidence shows that the same risk and

protective factors that studies have shown predict problem behaviors are also important in

predicting positive outcomes (Catalano, Hawkins, Berglund, Pollard & Arthur, 2002;

Pollard, Hawkins & Arthur, 1999).

Positive Youth Development Constructs

According to Catalano et al. (2004, p. 102) The Department of Health and Human

Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation financed an

evaluation proj ect to look into youth development programs in the US. The proj ect

aimed at defining how youth development programs have been defined in the literature.

The proj ect also intended to locate, through a structured search, strong evaluations of

these programs and summarize the outcomes of these evaluations. As result of the study

an operational definition of youth development was created. Positive youth development

programs are approaches that seek to achieve one or more of the following obj ectives:

* Promotes bonding: bonding is an emotional attachment and commitment a child
makes to social relationships in the family, peer group, school, community, or
culture. Bonding is key to the development of the child' s capacity for motivated
behavior. Strategies promoting bonding combined with the development of skills
are an effective intervention for adolescents at risk for antisocial behavior.

* Fosters resilience: resilience is an individual's capacity for adapting to change and
to stressful events in healthy and flexible ways. It is a characteristic of youth who
when exposed to multiple risk factors, show successful responses to challenges and
use this learning to achieve successful outcomes.










* Promotes social competence: is the range of interpersonal skills that help youth
integrate feelings, thinking, and actions to achieve specific social and interpersonal
goals.

* Promotes emotional competence: is the ability to identify and respond to feelings
and emotional reactions in oneself and others. There are five elements of emotional
competence, including knowing one's emotions, managing emotions, motivating
oneself, recognizing emotions in others, and handling relationships.

* Promotes cognitive competence: it includes two overlapping but distinct
sub-constructs. The first constructt is defined as the ability to develop and apply the
cognitive skills of self-talk, the reading and interpretation of social cues, using
steps for problem-solving and decision-making, understanding the perspectives of
others, the behavioral norms, a positive attitude toward life, and self awareness.
The second constructt is related to academic and intellectual achievement. The
emphasis is on the development of core capacities including the ability to use logic,
analytic thinking, and abstract reasoning.

* Promotes behavioral competence: it refers to effective action. There are three
dimensions: nonverbal communication, verbal communication and taking action

* Promotes moral competence: is the ability to assess and respond to the ethical,
affective, or social-justice dimensions of a situation. Moral development is defined
as a multistage process through which children acquire society's standards of right
and wrong, focusing on choices made in facing moral dilemmas.

* Fosters self-determination: it is the ability to think for oneself and to take action
consistent with the thought. Self-determination is defined as the ability to plan
one's own course.

* Fosters spirituality: spirituality is defined as "relating to, consisting of or having the
nature of spirit; concerned with or affecting the soul; of from our relating to God;
of or belonging to a church or religion." Researchers have found that religiosity is
positively associated with prosocial values and behavior and negatively related to
suicide ideation and attempts, substance abuse, premature sexual involvement, and
delinquency .

* Fosters self-efficacy: is the perception that one can achieve desired goals through
one's own action. Self-efficacy beliefs function as an important set of proximal
determinants of human motivation, affect, and action. Some researchers document
that the stronger the perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goals people set for
themselves and the firmer their commitment to them.










* Fosters clear and positive identity: is the internal organization of a coherent sense
of self. Identity is viewed as a "self structure," an internal self-constructed,
dynamic organization of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history, which is
shaped by the child' s navigation of normal crises or challenges at each stage of
development.

* Fosters belief in the future: it is the internalization of hope and optimism about
possible outcomes. Research demonstrates that positive future expectations predict
better social and emotional adjustment in school and a stronger internal locus of
control .

* Provides recognition for positive behavior: behavior is strengthened through reward
and avoidance of punishment and loss of reward. Reinforcement affects an
individual's motivation to engage in similar behavior on the future. Social
reinforcers have maj or effects on behavior.

* Provides opportunities for prosocial involvement: is the presentation of events and
activities across different social environments that encourage youth to participate in
prosocial actions. It is especially important that youth have the opportunity for
interaction with positively oriented peers and for involvement in roles in which
they can make contributions.

* Fosters prosocial norms: this seeks to encourage youth to adopt healthy beliefs and
clear standards for behavior through a range of approaches. For example,
providing youth with data about the small numbers of people their age who use
illegal drugs, so they decide they do not need to use drugs to be "normal."

Youth Development Programs

Catalano et al. (2004, p. 115) examined twenty-five effective youth development

programs and summarized the main characteristics that made these programs successful.

According to Catalano the characteristics of an effective positive youth development

program include:

* Youth development construct: All the programs addressed at least a minimum of
five positive youth constructs. The main constructs addressed were: competence,
self-efficacy and prosocial norms.

* Measurement of positive and problem outcomes: There is a need for all positive
youth development programs to measure both types of outcomes to assess fully the
effects of these programs on youth. This integrated measurement approach will
provide the field of youth development a greater understanding of programs effects
on all important youth outcomes.










* Structured curriculum: Having a structured curriculum or structured activities is
critical for program replication. This allows researchers and youth development
professionals to go over the curriculum and choose activities that have been
successful and replicate them in different settings making the necessary
adjustments.

* Program frequency and duration: The most successful programs were delivered
over a period of nine months or longer. For a program to be successful and have
long term impact there is a need to have continuity and follow up with the targeted
audience. According to Knox, Bracho, Sanchez, Vasques, Hahn, Sanders and
Kampfner (2005), change takes time; building community trust is a process that can
take several years.

* Program implementation and assurance of implementation quality: implementation
fidelity has repeatedly been shown to be related to effectiveness. Among
multiyear, well funded studies, separate evaluations of implementation, in addition
to outcome evaluations are common. Effective programs consistently focus on the
quality and consistency of program implementation.

* Population served: three-fourths of the programs served African-American and
European American Caucasian youth. About half of them included Hispanics and
approximately one-third reported Asian American youth among their participants.
In order to have a successful program there is a need to understand and determine
the needs of the targeted audience. The majority of the participants (75%) in the
successful programs were African-American and European Caucasian youth.
These results indicate that youth development professional have had a better
understanding of these two distinct groups.

Hispanics

Population counts from the 2000 Census indicate that the Hispanic population is

the fastest growing group in the United States. The United States Hispanic population

increased from 22.4 million in 1990 to 35.3 million in 2000. These numbers indicate that

the Hispanic population grew more than 57% since 1990. This is over four times the

growth of the total population, which increased by 13% during the same period (Alba-

Johnson, 2003; Brindis et al., 2002d; Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Guzman, 2001).

According to Valdez (2000) this reported increase within Hispanics in the United States

does not include the immigrants that have an illegal status who are estimated to account


for approximately 3.5 million people.









Furthermore, Hispanics have continued to grow very rapidly since the last US

Census. For example, the Hispanic population grew 9.8% between 2000 and 2002, while

the population as a whole only had an increase of 2.5% (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004).

This high increase is a consequence of the high rates of immigration among Hispanics.

Immigration to the United States has been greatest amongst Mexican and Central

Americans fleeing the political and economic events in their countries of origin (Ortiz,

1995; Ramirez, 2004). The increase can also be attributed to the high rates of birth

among Hispanics; in 2004 the rate was 22.9 per 1,000, which is the highest as compared

to 1 1.7 per 1,000 of non-Hispanic White and 15.7 per 1,000 of African-American

(Hamilton, Ventura, Martin & Sutton, 2005).

Diversity and Cultural Traits

In an attempt to provide a common denominator to a large, but diverse, population

with connection to the Spanish language or culture from Spanish-speaking countries the

US federal government in the early 1970's created the term "Hispanic" (Clutter & Nieto,

2006). In the past, Hispanics have been considered a homogeneous group. Nevertheless,

research has been able to show that Hispanics are different from the general Anglo and

non-Anglo population, as well as among themselves.

Even though this entire population is classified as Hispanic there are major ethnic

subdivisions within Hispanics, as well as differences in their socioeconomic and family

characteristics (Ortiz, 1995; Ramirez, 2004; Suarez & Ramirez, 1999; Warrix &

Bocanegra, 1998). The three main Hispanic groups in the country are: Mexican

American, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans.

Mexican American. They account for the 60% of the total Hispanic population.

Some are indigenous to the southwestern US and were already residing there when the









territory was taken over by the US in 1848. Since the early 1900's, immigration from

Mexico has occurred at a high rate, although the extent of immigration and the level of

acceptance of Mexican Americans by non-Hispanic white society has varied with

economic conditions. Mexican immigrants have typically been poor and from rural areas.

Puerto Ricans. They account for 10% of the total Hispanic population.

Approximately 50% of the Puerto Ricans living in the US were born in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican migrants have typically been young, with a very low level of literacy and

low occupational skills. In the past they have not done well economically in the US and

are very disadvantaged in comparison to other Hispanic groups (Ortiz, 1986).

Cuban American. According to Bean and Tienda (1987), the reasons why the

Cuban American population migrated to the US were completely different from those

that forced the Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans to migrate. The Cubans who

immigrated to the US during the late 1950's and early 1960's were predominantly

professional and entrepreneurs who fled Cuba when Castro came to power. Taking into

account the Cubans background and the fact that they were granted a refugee status and

subsequently resettlement assistance by the US government, has meant that they have

done relatively well economically. Because of the nature of entry into the US, Cuban

Americans have quickly integrated into the US economic structure while still retaining a

strong Cuban American identity.

In contrast, Hispanics are united by customs, language, and values (Clutter &

Nieto, 2006; Griggs & Dunn, 1996; Valdez 2000). In order to develop effective youth

programs for Hispanics; youth professionals need to consider the needs, demographics,









common cultural characteristics and values of Hispanics. Valdez (2000), described the

most common cultural traits in order to have a better understanding of Hispanics.

Familismo. The pillar of Hispanics culture is the family, which includes the

extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The emphasis Hispanics

place on relatives is called familismo. The family's needs and welfare take priority over

the individual needs. The family, as a group, is usually the first and only priority.

Relationship with children. A major difference between mainstream American

and traditional Hispanic cultures is in child-rearing orientations. Children in Hispanic

families are not believed to be capable of acting independently until they reach maturity,

regardless of physical and emotional development of the child. This leads to parents

keeping the child close and attached to the family.

Machismo. This is a complex set of beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors, about

the role of men that is pervasive in Hispanic culture. The concept refers to the roles men

fulfill according to societal rules and how they view themselves with respect to their

environment and other people. It involves how men function as providers, protectors,

and representatives of their families to the outer world. They have obligations,

responsibilities to uphold the honor of the family members, to deal effectively with the

public sphere, and to maintain the integrity of the family unit. Machismo also refers to

having socially acceptable, manly characteristics, such as being courageous, strong, and

virile. The manly image includes being seen as the head of the household, but listening

to and being respectful of women. This traditional role provides much more freedom for

men than women with regard to sexual activity, public and social interaction.









Marianismo. This is to some extent, the female counterpart of machismo. The

term refers to an excessive sense of self-sacrifice found among traditional and less

acculturated Hispanic women: the more sacrifice, the better the mother, the better the

spouse, many times to the detriment of the woman. This cultural trait is supported by a

complex set of deep-rooted beliefs and values that determine how Hispanic women

choose to live or not to live their lives.

Etiquette. Hispanics tend toward formality in their treatment of one another. A

firm handshake is a common practice between people as a greeting and for leaving. A

hug and a kiss on the cheek are also common greeting practices between women, and

men and women who are close friends of family. The Spanish language provides forms

of formal and nonformal address (different use of "usted" vs. "tu" for the pronoun you,

polite and familiar commands, the use of titles of respect before people' s first names such

"Don" or "Dofia"). In nonformal settings, conversations are usually loud, fast, and

adorned with animated gestures and body language to better convey points. They tend to

be more relaxed and flexible about time and punctuality than US people. Among them,

not being on time is a socially acceptable behavior; they tend to be reserved about public

speaking because of their heavy foreign accent.

Hispanic Youth

The 2000 Census, and the most up-to-date proj sections, indicate that Hispanics are

the fastest growing youth population in the country. Proj sections indicate that by the year

2050 Hispanics will represent 29% of the youth population. Guzman (2001) and Chapa

and De la Rosa (2004) report that more than one third are under age 18, as compared to

about one quarter of non-Hispanics; they have much younger age distributions (median

age of 26 years) compared to non-Hispanics (median age 36 years).










Hispanic youth as immigrants need to face their status as a minority group in the

US where they need to adapt to a new language, experience discrimination, and

overcome social problems that characterize them (Garcia Coll, Akerman, Cicchetti,

2000). For a better understanding of the process that Hispanics undergo to adapt to their

new environment as members of the US society, there is a need to describe acculturation

and assimilation. The distinction between these processes is based on the difference

between culture and society (Gans, 1997).

Acculturation is the degree to which Hispanics have adopted the attitudes, values

and behaviors of US society or rather an overly homogenized conception of it.

Assimilation, on the other hand, refers to the Hispanics' move out of formal and informal

ethnic associations and other social institutions into the non-ethnic equivalents accessible

to them in US society (Gans, 1997; Lara, Gamboa, Kahramanian, Morales & Hayes

Bautists, 2005; Suarez & Ramirez, 1999). According to Rosenthal (as cited in Gans,

1997), immigrants begin to acculturate fairly quickly, but they assimilate much more

slowly. Two reasons that explain why acculturation is always a faster process than

assimilation, is that American culture is a powerfully attractive force for immigrants

(children are easily enticed, particularly those coming form societies that lack their own

commercial popular cultures) and immigrants can acculturate on their own. In contrast

they cannot assimilate unless they are given permission to enter the "American" group or

institution, taking into account discrimination and other reasons, often leads to a denial of

this permission to immigrants.

Some researchers have stated that the more acculturated Hispanics are, the better

off they are for integratation into US society (assimilation). According to Lara et al.









(2005), more acculturated Hispanics have higher rate of insurance coverage and access to

health care. Nevertheless, negative effects of acculturation have been demonstrated,

acculturated Hispanic adolescents are more likely to engage in problem behaviors and

less likely to engage in health promoting behaviors than the less acculturated. Therefore,

this shows that although Hispanics deal with barriers that could be associated with

problem behaviors, there are aspects of the Hispanic culture that serve as protective

factors and contribute to a healthy lifestyle (Elbin, Sneed, Morisky, Rotheram-Borus,

Magnusson & Malotte, 2001).

Education. Hispanics have had much lower high school completion rates than

blacks and whites since the early 1970's (Williams, 2001). According to Brindis et al.

(2002a), math scores of young students in all racial and ethic groups have improved since

the early 1980's. On the other hand, reading scores have remained fairly consistent.

Between 1982 and 1999, the math scores of nine year old Hispanics rose by 4%, those of

African-Americans rose by 8% and the scores of White non-Hispanic rose by 7%

(Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics [FIFCFS], 2002). These

trends are not exclusively for younger students. They are also seen in middle and high

school students as well. Regarding college enrollment, Hispanics have one of the lowest

rates of college attendance of all cultural groups in the US (Hurtado & Gauvain, 1997;

Therrien & Ramirez, 2000). Almost half (46%) of White non-Hispanics and 39% of

African-Americans who graduated from high school attend college. In comparison, only

33% of Hispanic high school graduates go on to college (Jamieson, Curry & Martinez,

2001).









Family structure. As mentioned previously, the Hispanic culture has traditionally

stressed the importance of family, placing a high value on marriage and children and on

economic and social support among extended family members. Hispanic households are

typically larger than those of African-American and White non-Hispanics. This is true

for both married and single female-headed households. Thirty one percent of Hispanic

households contain more than five people, compared to 21% of African-American and

11% of White non-Hispanic households (US Census Bureau, 1998). According to Ehrle,

Adams and Touk (as cited in Brindis et al., 2002b), Hispanic teens are less likely than

White non-Hispanic, but twice as likely as African-American teens, to live with both

parents. Half of all Hispanics live with both biological parents, 14% live in blended or

cohabiting families and 35% live with a single parent.

Poverty. In 2000, twenty seven percent of Hispanic children under the age of 18

lived in poverty; compared to 30% of African-American children and 9% of White

non-Hispanic children (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004; Therrien & Ramirez, 2000).

According to Hernandez (1997), poverty rates among Hispanics vary by national origin.

They range from a low of 16% for Cuban children to a high of 44% for Puerto Rican

children.

Poor children are at greater risk than non-poor children for a host of negative

outcomes. They are more likely to perform poorly in school, to become teen parents and

to be unemployed as adults (An, Haveman & Wolfe, 1993; Duncan & Brooks-Gunn,

1997, 2000). In addition to facing greater risk of living in poverty, Hispanic children

often face additional challenges such as language, cultural barriers, and stresses of

adjusting to US society. There is a close relationship between education and poverty; the









lower rates of high school and college graduation in the Hispanic population translate

into lower incomes for Hispanic families and higher proportions of Hispanic children

living in poor families (Brindis et al., 2002c).

Youth Programs

According to Rodriguez and Morrobel (2002), despite the proj sections mentioned

above youth development research has focused little attention to the research of Hispanic

youth development demonstrated by a review of youth development research. To

promote youth development among Hispanics, youth organizations must understand what

their needs are and what competencies youth consider necessary for success. According

to Garcia Coll et al. (2000), to implement an effective developmental program there is a

need of an understanding of culturally specific values system, which includes knowledge

about culture, family, and individual values.

Alba-Johnson (2003, p. 13) conducted a study that reported on a review of national

youth organizations serving Hispanic middle and high school students. These programs

represented a broad variety of emphases and services such as: after school, enrichment,

arts, academic, leadership, employment, and mentoring. Outcomes reported by these

organizations included: reduction of dropout rate level, higher measures, and a positive

impact in youth's self esteem, self image, and cultural awareness. Fourteen "best

practices" were identified and are described below:

*Culturally sensitive and appropriate: help Hispanic youth navigate between
different cultures and deal with challenges posed by racism and peer pressure. At
the same time these programs impart a positive view of their own culture and
respect for others. Some of the strategies/activities that they have used include:
a) promoting accommodation without assimilation-helping them fit in a new
culture without losing their cultural identity, b) providing bilingual bicultural
services, c) employing staff with relevant backgrounds, d) promoting cultural
values and cultural pride, and e) utilizing culturally driven curriculum.









* Resources to improve academic achievement: it is important to explicitly instruct
Hispanic youth in the academic skills necessary to succeed in school. Some of the
strategies/activities used are: a) providing formal instruction of academic skills
necessary to succeed in school, b) developing well-planned and organized
academic curriculum, c) providing tutoring and help with homework, and
d) working toward impacting school practices.

* Responsive to the integral part of the individual: target each individual's
characteristics, as well as the characteristics of the environments in which young
people live and function. The strategies/activities include: a) employing a holistic
approach, b) approach ng s ervi c es comprehen sively -rec ogni zi ng that contexts such
as family, schools, and community are important to consider and c) providing
multiple services-be located where other services are also offered.

* Focus on the potential of the individual, not on the failures: provide value and
support to youth by seeing and emphasizing their potential and assets. Also
recognize and provide youth with positive feedback consistently.

* Positive role models: provide youth with role models and the support and nurturing
of caring adults or older peers. Exposing youth to real and meaningful examples of
success especially when adults are successful professionals or students and share
the same ethnic background, has a positive impact on Hispanic youth. The
strategies/activities include: a) helping youth develop positive relationships with
adults, b) using real examples of success by having older peers and former
participants work as mentors and tutors and c) engage staff, guest speakers, and
parents as role models.

* Empowerment of youth and promotion of social responsibility: empower youth to
take control of their life, to be able to resist negative influences, and to make a
difference in their society. The strategies/activities include: a) placing students in
responsible roles, b) providing opportunities for youth to participate actively in
their community and c) including youth in the process of planning -youth
contribute and participate in the design of civic and community activities.

* Provision of economic assistance and opportunities for career awareness: provide
youth with economic assistance through stipends and scholarships that enable them
to assist with household expenses and provide the means to go to college. The
strategies/activities include: developing job skills and developing work and
community based proj ects.

* Well defined program with high standards and high expectations: it is necessary to
have clearly defined programs and service outcomes where the youth service
providers are aware of the goals and take steps in the development, design, and
management of their programs to measure progress. The strategies/activities
include: a) conducting rigorous evaluation, b) promoting staff development and
c) expecting participants to fulfill high standards.










* Introduction of participants to college culture: take time to advise and help youth
on issues related to college such as admissions, financial aid applications, course
requirements, and preparation courses; introducing Hispanic families and young
people to the college culture. The strategies/activities include: a) providing field
trips to colleges, b) externalizing hidden curriculum-teaching youth techniques that
are key to academic success like test-taking, note taking and study skills, and
c) promoting social and cultural capital.

* Safety and positive alternatives: create after-school opportunities for youth to
participate in art, explore careers, provide services to others, improve their
academic achievement, or simply have a place to be after school. The
strategies/activities include creating a safe environment and providing positive
alternatives and allowing for self-expression.

* Support and advocacy: emphasis on consistent, positive relationships and
interactions between youth programs and supportive adults through low youth to
staff ratios and one-on-one relationships. The strategies/activities include:
a) providing close attention and true interest, b) advocating on behalf of
participants, c) providing a continuum of care, d) creating family-like environments
and e) building bridges between cultures-acting as mediators between Hispanic
youth, their families and their schools.

* Sense of belonging: provide youth with a space where they can identify with a peer
group and be recognized by others through public markers (notebooks, distinctive
badges, or t-shirts) and promote voluntary associations where young people
voluntarily decide to participate in a program.

* Encouragement of parental involvement: parents play an important role in the
academic achievement, educational aspirations, and college planning behaviors of
youth. The strategies/activities include: a) involving parents in the education of
their children, b) maintaining close communication with parents, and
c) encouraging involvement in all program activities

* Establishment of partnerships: maintain solid connections and interactions with
schools and communities where these collaborations foster the kind of support
Hispanic youth and their families need to achieve their goals and improve their
lives. The strategies/activities include: building partnerships with colleges and
schools.

Learning Styles

According to Dunn and Griggs (1995), learning style is the way in which each

person begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information.

Concentration occurs differently for different people at different times. It is important to









know many things about individual's traits to determine what is most likely to trigger

each adolescent' s concentration, energize his or her processing style, and intervene to

increase long-term memory.

Research has recognized that teaching and counseling students with interventions

that are congruent with the students' learning style preferences result in their increased

academic achievement and more positive attitudes toward learning (Acharya, 2002;

Griggs & Dunn, 1996). Each cultural group tends to have some learning style elements

that distinguish it from other cultural groups. Due to this, teachers, counselors and

people who work with youth need to be aware of three critical factors: a) universal

principles of learning do exist; b) culture influences both the learning process and its

outcomes and, c) each adolescent has a unique learning style preference that affects

his/her potential for achievement.

Griggs and Dunn (1996) stated that research on the learning styles of Hispanic-

Americans in particular is limited. Within Hispanic groups, the maj ority of studies have

focused on the learning styles of Mexican-American elementary school children. Several

studies have compared various ethnic groups of students in elementary school through

college level using a measure that identifies 21 elements of learning styles grouped into

five categories.

* Environmental learning style: elements include sound, temperature, design and
light. A cool temperature and formal design were identified as important elements
for Mexican-American and Puerto Rican elementary and middle school students
(Dunn, Griggs, & Price, 1993).

* Emotional learning style: elements include responsibility, structure, persistence,
and motivation. A study reported that Mexican-American third and fourth graders
were the least conforming of three ethnic groups studied.










* Sociological learning style: elements are concerned with the social pattern in which
each student learns. Learning alone (as opposed to learning in groups) was
preferred more by White non-Hispanic than by Mexican-American children.
Mexican-American students require significantly more sociological variety as
compared to African-Americans and White non-Hispanics. Mexican-American
males are authority-oriented and the females are strongly peer-oriented.

* Physiological learning style: elements relate to time of day, food and drink intake,
perception, and mobility. Puerto-Rican college students exhibit a strong preference
for learning in the late morning, afternoon and evening. The time of day
preferences of Mexican-Americans are less clear. White non-Hispanics prefer
drinking and eating snacks while learning significantly more than Mexican-
Americans. Hispanics' strongest perceptual strength is kinesthetic, this means that
they learn better through movement provided by practical and hands-on activities.

Movement includes leamn by doing, being involved in projects, discovery, role
playing, real life activities, and learning standing up or using the large arm muscles
to write as on flip chart or chalkboard.

* Psychological learning style: elements relate to global versus analytical processing.
The construct of Hield dependence/independence is a component of this learning
style. Field dependent individuals are more group oriented and cooperative and
less competitive than field independent individuals. Research generally has
indicated that Mexican-American and other minority children are more Hield
dependent than non-minority children.

Implications for counseling and teaching. Counselors, teachers and 4-H agents

can be aware that, Hispanic-Americans are a very diverse group and include distinct

subcultures that differ significantly as to custom, value and educational orientation. For

immigrant Hispanic adolescents, identity formation and individuation (process by which

social individuals become differentiated one from the other) can be especially

challenging and problematic. This is because their cultural values include strong family

loyalty and allegiance, values that are in conflict with the behavioral styles of mainstream

US adolescents who strive for self-expression and individuality. For Hispanic youth with

identity related problems, group counseling with peers who are experiencing similar


conflicts can be helpful (Griggs & Dunn, 1996).










Educators need to be aware of self-image problems of Hispanic-American students

that may result from rej section of their ethnicity and from attempts to conform to the

larger Anglo culture. To address these problems, educators can plan interventions that

acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversity when teaching and counseling Hispanic

youth.

According to Jones, Reichard and Mokhtari (2003), increasing youth awareness of

their own learning styles may be quite helpful for increasing control of their learning

habits and strategies. This should, in turn, influence their academic performance. Since

youth brings diverse personal experiences, knowledge bases, and learning styles to the

classroom, their learning needs may require a mix of teaching and advising strategies.

The best educators tend to be those who are able to use a range of teaching strategies and

who use a range of interaction styles, rather than a single, rigid approach to teaching and

learning (Darling-Hammond, 2000).

Cultural Barriers

According to Zamboanga and Knoche (2003), understanding and addressing the

needs of the Latino population is becoming increasingly important as the demographics

of many communities in the US are changing. As previously mentioned, the changing

demographics and distinct cultural factors relevant to Hispanics have prompted the

necessity for culture-specific programming. In order to do this, people that aim at

working with Hispanics have to be aware of factors such as:

* Education level: Hispanics tend to have less education than other ethnic groups.

* Language: the majority of American Hispanics speak Spanish at home. Bilingual
staff are important to overcome this barrier.

* Poverty: the rate among all Hispanics was 22.6%, compared with the national
average of poverty rate 12.4 percent.










* Lack of understanding of the American free enterprise system: language and
cultural differences leave many Hispanics with little understanding of certain basic
skills and concepts to operate businesses (i.e. marketing, tax laws and record
keeping).

* Misunderstanding of cultural values: cultural values like personalism, familism,
and machismo, must be understood and addressed.

Volunteerism

According to O'Connell and O'Connell (1989) the United States is a country where

giving and volunteering is a pervasive characteristic of society. Research has shown that

the typical adult volunteer is white, middle-aged and middle-class (Safrit, King, &

Burscu, 1993). According to Peterson, Bawden, Harrel, Hill, Mincy, Nightingale, Turner

and Walker (1992), many of the critical issues facing contemporary urban communities

directly affect non-white, limited resource, and younger and older adult populations.

Consequently, Lopez and Safrit (2001) suggest that volunteer agencies and organizations

should focus their efforts to identify and locate individuals within these population

segments for targeted recruitment as program volunteers.

Fisher and Cole (as cited in Lopez & Safrit, 2001) suggested that regardless of

Hispanic American' s long tradition of involvement in volunteer groups (trade and

professional associations, and women's and men's clubs and unions) their numbers are

underrepresented in contemporary volunteer programs. Accroding to Hobbs (2000) in

order to effectively and efficiently target and engage volunteers from the Hispanic

community, volunteers programs must find ways to build relationships and establish trust

within the community.

Research shows that Hispanics volunteer, but their contributions are not reflected in

the various statistics gathered on volunteerism. Hispanics do not volunteer in the

traditional American way. Their volunteerism first takes place within the family context









and secondly in the neighborhood and church as opposed to mainstream community

based organizations. In numerous Latin American countries, volunteering is seen as an

activity carried out by the wealthy on behalf of the poor. As result of that Hispanics do

not consider their contributions as volunteering (Hobbs, 2001). The success of volunteer

agencies and organizations in recruiting and retaining Hispanic volunteers depends on the

awareness and sensitivity to the cultural differences between the American society and

Hispanics.

History of 4-H

Through the 19th century, rural America set the social tone for the United States.

At the end of the century, young people were moving from the rural areas to the cities,

drawn by the potential for jobs. They saw no future in staying home and working in

agriculture. That is when people realized that young people needed skills to live and

work in their homesteads (N4H, 2006; Rasmussen, 1989). The first record of any known

4-H type activity was in 1898. Liberty Hyde Bailey of Cornell University inaugurated a

system of junior naturalist leaflets in rural schools and assisted in the organization of

nature study clubs (NDST Extension Service, 2005).

In 1902, a superintendent of Springfield Township Ohio rural schools named A.B.

Graham established the concepts of education in a club atmosphere in Ohio. In the early

1900's he formed clubs that elected officers, focused on specific proj ects, held meetings

and kept records for their accomplishments (N4H, 2006; Seever et al., 1997). At the

same time, researchers that worked at the experiment stations of the land-grant

institutions and the United States Department of Agriculture realized that many farmers

were not interested in the new agricultural discoveries. Nevertheless, they found that

youth were willing to "experiment" with the discoveries and then share their experiences









with adults. In a way these clubs became a way to transmit the newest agricultural

technology to the adults (Seever et al., 1997; Van Horn, Flanagan & Thomson, 1998).

The idea of rural clubs and educational demonstrations were popular and spread

across the US and by 1905 the majority of the states had rural clubs. When Congress

formed the Cooperative Extension Service with the Smith Lever Act in 1914, it included

boys and girls clubs. These clubs were soon known as 4-H clubs (N4H, 2006).

The 4-H Program

Four-H is one of the current base programs of the CES, 4-H is the youth component

that promotes the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of the

school-age youth (Cornell University Cooperative Extension Service, 2006). The goal of

the program is to help young people become self-directing, productive, and contributing

members of society (Collins, 1986; N4H, 2006.). Four-H brings young people and their

families together with volunteers, community members, and county level staff in a

program that allows youth, families, volunteers and the community to learn and to grow.

Youth acquire life skills and are guided by a concerned adult who is a volunteer leader.

The 4-H members are actively involved in educational proj ects that are fun and that use

quality curriculum that incorporate the most up-to-date research and knowledge available

(N4H, 2006; Russell, 2001).

The 4-H program is characterized by the colors green and white. White represents

purity and high ideals and green represents growth. The program also has a pledge to

remind the 4-H' ers of the four areas that the program focuses on and emphasizes the

significance of having the ability to develop life skills "IPledge ... M~y Head to clearer

thrinkl\in. M~y Heart to greater loyalty, M~y Hands to larger service, and My Health to

better living, For My Club, my Community, my Country and my World" (N4H, 2006).









Four-H differs from other youth development organizations because of the method

it uses when working with children. While recreation is important for youth and their

development, 4-H employs recreation not as an end goal, but as one method of engaging

youth in science based education. The history of 4-H has been defined by science based,

nonformal educational activities that are family and community based. Four-H is science

based not only with regard to the substantive content of the educational activity (such as

science literacy, aerospace technology or animal science). It is also developmental

science-based in its teaching methodologies that acknowledge the developing cognitive,

behavioral, and social needs of children and adolescents. The curriculum is designed to

be age appropriate, and to build and enhance skills over multiple years of involvement

(Enfield, 2001; Van Horn et al., 1998).

According to Van Horn et al. (1998) 4-H was one of the first youth focused

organizations to utilize nonformal education as a means of reaching youth. Nonformal

education has some similarities to formal education, is based on a commitment to

learning and knowledge acquisition, and therefore relies on carefully designed and

scientifically sound curriculum and resources. Nevertheless, nonformal and formal

education differ in the fact that one approach is based in a school building and the other

one can take place anywhere in the community through clubs, camps, group meetings,

sporting or arts activities, or youth led events (Table 2-1).

Nonformal education is developmentally beneficial because it involves:

*Personal choice: Activities that encourage youth to choose their programs and
proj ects are important because they offer youth the flexibility and freedom to
explore their interests. When youth can choose the activities in which they
participate, they have opportunities to practice and develop decision-making skills.
These activities also encourage youth to clarify their interests and values.










* Experiential learning/Hands-on learning: Activities to foster the development of
knowledge and skills. This has been a key characteristic of 4-H1 programs; the
activities are designed to be engaging and interactive as they sequentially build
skill sets. This active learning helps youth build confidence in themselves and their
abilities.

* Development of personal relationships: Not only among youth but also between
youth and caring adults. Through interaction with multiple caring adults outside
the family, young people receive guidance, direction, and feedback that reinforces
or builds on the effort of parents and extended family. Finally, access to multiple
adult role models in addition to parents benefits youth emotionally, scholastically
and interpersonally.

The 4-H Delivery Methods

According to the 4-H1 101 manual (N4H, 2006), 4-H1 uses a variety of methods for

reaching youth with opportunities that help them grow and develop in positive ways. A

brief description of the most commonly used methods is provided.

* Organized clubs: an organized group of youth with officers and a planned program
that is carried-on through all or several months of the year.

* Special interest, short-term, or day camps: these delivery groups are usually short-
term and consist of members organized to work on one proj ect or subj ect matter
area, which is not part of a school curriculum. They have an informal structure and
do not elect officers or plan long-term proj ects. Special interest groups meet for a
specific learning experience involving one or more sessions with direct teaching by
the 4-H1 agent, volunteers, or teachers.

* Overnight camps: this delivery is a group experience that includes the youth
participant being away from home at least one night in a resident, primitive, or
travel camping experience. They are not restricted to members of organized 4-H1
clubs. They have a clear educational or youth development purpose and meet the
curriculum criteria.

* School enrichment: these programs are coordinated with schools personnel and use
selected 4-H1 learning materials as part of the school curriculum during school
hours. They may involve one or more sessions and should involve teaching and/or
other activities led by 4-H1 agents, volunteers, and teachers.

* Individual study, mentoring, or family learning: this includes individual youth who
live in remote areas or prefer to work alone on a 4-H1 proj ect experience.
Mentoring activities include individual youth and adults working closely on a
specialized proj ect or activity that is not associated with a 4-H1 unit experience.









Family learning includes an organized curriculum or experience that is delivered by
parents to only their children and family members.

Urban 4-H Programming

In the beginning, 4-H evolved as a way of involving farm youth in practical hands

on learning of agriculture and home economics subj ects relevant to their lives and

community. Taking into account the complexity of economic, social and environmental

issues 4-H has changed in several significant ways in the last 100 years (Kress, 2004). In

addition, population shifts from rural to urban areas challenge extension to expand and

redefine its traditional programs emphases to be meaningful to, and therefore supported

by, a mostly urban audience (Schaefer, Huegel & Mazzoti, 1992). As a consequence, the

need to develop urban 4-H programs has been recognized in several states.

Texas Cooperative Extension (TCE) acknowledged the need to redefine their

traditional 4-H programs in order to reach their urban population. During the 1990's

census estimates made it clear the need to examine educational programming in urban

counties. According to the census, about 50% of the 16.8 million Texas residents lived in

six counties: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Bend, Harris, Terrant and Travis (Fehlis, 1992;

Texas Cooperative Extension, 2006). As a result the 1990 Urban Initiative was created to

provide urban counties with 4-H programs that focused on their specific needs. Currently

Travis County has the Aerospace Camp that is a week-long summer camp. The

Aerospace Camp began 12 years ago as a part of the Capital 4-H proj ect. The 4-H

Capital project is an effort to take 4-H programs to inner city youth. The main obj ective

is to take 4-H programs to youth if youth does not engage in 4-H programs.

During the school year Capital 4-H carries out after-school programs/projects and

as part of the outreach component the Aerospace Camp is held during the summer. The









Aerospace Camp is a science and technology camp that includes activities such as:

building rockets, solar cars and exploring global positioning systems. It also enables

children to explore astronomy through the star lab. Parents credit this type of program

with increasing their children's positive development with statements such as "4-H

instills a sense of integrity, self reliance and community spirit while the children are

being educated and having fun."

In order to reach urban underserved youth University of Minnesota Extension has

implemented a site-based youth development programming within the Minnesota Urban

4-H Youth Development. This type of programming is an innovative method that aims to

reach underserved youth with accessible, high quality, educational youth development

programming. Each site is a public or subsidized housing neighborhood with a

community center serving as the hosting location for the 4-H program. The site-based

youth development programs are developed from the community up rather than from the

program down. Residents of the community provide input into the program-development

process. As a result, the program reflects the community in terms of design, methods,

and curricula. (Skuza, 2004; University of Minnesota Extension, 2006). This type of

programming requires collaboration. A partnership was formed between Urban 4-H

Youth Development and housing agencies in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The housing

sites provide facilities, volunteer, and program supplies, as well as transportation through

their extended partnerships. Through collaboration, the reach and impact of

programming is increased without duplicating programs of increasing costs (Skuza,

2004).









Cornell University Cooperative Extension in New York City (CUCE-NYC) designs

proj ects and brings together resources in their programs to develop competencies and

skills through age appropriate activities. The programs try to strengthen the foundation

skills of youth literacy, science, technology and math. It also tries to enhance the

personal development of youth and build leadership skills. The CUCE-NYC works

closely with partners to develop and implement educational programs that use innovative,

science-based and hands-on learning strategies. One of the most successful programs is

the Garden Mosaics and Urban Agriculture program. In the program, youth gain and

demonstrate horticultural science and urban agricultural skills, while conducting

environmental and community development projects that benefit their community. In

2005 more than 150 Bronx-based educators and youth learned about the Garden Mosaics

program. Youth learned about the value of community gardens as neighborhood

resources and gained an appreciation for the relationship between their local environment

and their health and well-being (Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 2005).

The 4-H Clubs

According to the 4-H1 101 manual (N4H, 2006), the 4-H1 club serves as the primary

means of delivering youth development programming in 4-H1. It has the advantage of

providing long-term involvement with the support of "caring" adults. Youth are reluctant

to take ownership in groups or establish relationships with leaders when they appear

temporary. Four-H clubs are organized and supported to be there for youth throughout

their developmental years. While the other delivery methods are effective, the more in-

depth experiences occur in and through the club.

The goals and structure of the clubs vary according to the need of the members they

serve. Some clubs offer a selection of proj ects delivered through proj ect meetings held at










times outside the clubs. Some clubs have a singular focus such as community service

clubs, or they target a specific audience such as tribal reservation clubs or after-school

clubs or home-school clubs. But there are elements and characteristics that are common

to all 4-H1 clubs and these are:

* An organized group of youth.
* A planned program that is ongoing throughout all or most of the year.
* Advised by adult staff or volunteers.
* Typically elects onfcers.
* May meet in any location.
* Includes opportunities to learn skills through a variety of proj ect experiences.
* Offers opportunities for leadership, citizenship/community service, and public
speaking.

Impact of 4-H1

Many people describe what is learned in 4-H1 as 'life skills." In other words, 4-H1

teaches young people skills that will help them lead a productive life (Dubas & Snider,

1993). Parents, other adult volunteer leaders, extension agents, peers, and others

associated with 4-H1 programs have a direct impact on the youth involved. Learning life

skills through 4-H1 is a youth development process. Through learning life skills, youth are

developing in areas such as leadership, citizenship, and community service.

The impact of 4-H1 has been recognized in several studies. Ladewig and Thomas

(1987) conducted a national telephone survey of 710 former 4-H1 members, 743 former

members of other youth organizations, and 309 non-participants in youth organizations.

The goal was to compare youth organizations and their impact on youth development.

Those who had j oined 4-H1 and other youth groups were similar in personal life skills

characteristics, but different from the non-participants. Four-HI participants were found

to have significant development in the life skills areas of knowledge and self-worth.

Four-HI alumni were significantly higher in the following areas than the other youth










organizations' participant regarding: making decisions and freedom to develop skills. No

significant difference between 4-H participation and other youth organizations

participation was found in the following areas: planning activities and making a

contribution. This study suggests that participation in 4-H and other youth organizations

had a positive impact on life skill development.

Matulis, Hedges, Barrick and Smith (1988), conducted a study in Ohio, and mailed

questionnaires to a random sample of 275 4-H alumni. The questions consisted of three

areas of 4-H impact: self-awareness, career awareness, exploration, and selection; and

work competency development. Alumni credit the 4-H program with increasing their

self-awareness by identifying with the statements such as "I discovered things I enj oy

doing" and "I discovered things I did well." The impact of 4-H on career awareness,

exploration and selection was assessed through statements such as, "I learned that things I

enjoyed doing could lead to a career," and I expanded my knowledge of people or

materials available to explore careers of interest to me."

Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992), compared 4-H and non-4-H youth in their

leadership life skills. The study sample consisted of 309 randomly selected Texas 4-H

members between the ages of 13 and 19 and 558 non-4-H youth in randomly selected

schools. The survey instrument consisted of 21 leadership life skills statements in five

measurements scales. Results of the study found 4-H club members to be significantly

higher than non-4-H youth in the level of attainment of all five of the life skills

measurement scales: leadership, communicating, working with groups, understanding

self, and making decisions.










Mead, Rodriguez, Hirschl, & Goggin (1999), conducted a two year study that

focused on understanding the impact that 4-H1 club involvement has had in New York

State. Among the findings of this study are: participation in 4-H1 has a positive effect in

the development of life skills, youth do better in school, and they are more motivated to

help others. Youth also developed skills in leadership, public speaking, self-esteem,

communication and planning, and they are able to make long-lasting friendships. They

also developed a positive relationship with caring adults such as parents, volunteers and

extension agents. The participants also indicated that their clubs provided them with a

safe environment, where they were able to spend time with their friends and work on the

different proj ects.

Thomas (2004), conducted a study to determine if Florida 4-H1 participants were

attaining positive youth development outcomes through their participation in 4-H1. Five

counties were selected and the sample youth were between the ages of 13 and 18 years.

Independent variable measured were degree of participation, non-4-H time, and

participant' s demographics. Dependent variables for measuring positive youth

development outcomes consisted of the constructs of relationships, safe environment,

belonging, service and leadership, self-development and positive identity. When

correlated to the degree of participation all the constructs showed a positive correlation

with belonging, service and leadership, self-development and positive identity showing a

significant correlation. The study showed that 4-H1 members feel that 4-H1 provides them

with positive relationships, a sense of belonging, a safe environment, an opportunity for

service and leadership, for self-development, and it creates a positive identity.









Outreach to Hispanics

As previously mentioned, Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the

United States. For this reason CES has seen the need to encourage teaching, research,

and outreach activities that can enhance the well-being and success of this population.

The need to increase Hispanic enrollment in 4-H programs has been recognized in several

states.

Oregon State University (OSU) Extension acknowledged the need to increase

Hispanic participation and to design programs more accessible to them. In 1996 a survey

was conducted among 4-H agents in counties with the most significant Hispanic

population asking them why Hispanic youth was not participating in their programs. The

main reasons were: agents did not speak Spanish and could not communicate with them,

the lack of understanding of the culture and outreach is time consuming. These responses

were taking into account and in 1997 OSU extension funded the Oregon Outreach

Program, the program has been successful and today 13 of their 36 counties have

Hispanic outreach efforts (Oregon State University Extension Service, 2006).

The key to OSU extension's success in engaging Hispanics are that the 4-H agents

are ready to make a long-term commitment to actively participate in outreach, extension

administration' s commitment and support at all levels, and the support of the extension

audience. Another factor that has contributed to their success is staffing for outreach this

translates into hiring people who are bilingual/bicultural. Retaining the

bilingual/bicultural staff is a challenge there needs to be constant communication among

the staff, recognition by valuing their knowledge and experience and promoting a sense

of community.









University of Califomnia Cooperative Extension 4-H developed in Santa Barbara

County "Agua Pura" in collaboration with the County's Project Clean Water. This

proj ect engages Hispanics and their families in watershed and water quality issues by

integrating their needs, issues and concerns through hands-on educational experiences,

and service proj ects. The proj ect has involved approximately 3,500 youth, and it has

reinforced the sense of family by having the parents train their children in working the

land and having children train their parents in using computers. Among the

accomplishments of the proj ects are that many youth participants have gone onto college

education and elected maj ors such as business, technology and science related fields. The

participants have expressed that their involvement in the proj ect helped them developed

new work skills and self-confidence (University of Califomnia Davis, 2006).

University of Illinois Extension formed a partnership with the Hispanic/Latino

Coalition of Will and Grundy Counties (HLC) to develop programs that address the

needs of the Hispanics rather than just one proj ect with a limited audience. The HCL

agreed to co-sponsor a summer camp for Hispanic children to expose them to extension

4-H youth development programs. The camp was designed for 5 days from 9:00 a.m. to

2:30 p.m. based on a camp clover curriculum. The morning session, Monday through

Thursday, focused on three specific topics: Que Rico-Latino Cultural Arts, Food Guide

Pyramid Revisited, and Aerospace Adventures; the 4-H pledge was recited in English and

Spanish. The afternoon program consisted of a variety of physical fitness activities,

including soccer, volleyball, basketball, judo, and jump rope. The activities for Friday

included a morning session of hands-on science and physical activities, with recognition

and concluding ceremonies in the afternoon. The camp has demonstrated that extension




















































Certified teachers

Youth are tested and grades

Source: Russell (2001)


programs can be effectively carried out in Hispanic communities (Farner, Cutz, Farner,

Seibold, & Abuchar, 2006)

Summary

This literature review chapter was compromised of: youth development and how it

has evolved through time and what are the main characteristics of a good youth

development program. It also describes what 4-H is, and what it can offer to youth

through their core program. Finally it provides a broad overview of the current situation

of Hispanics and especially youth in the United States. Literature documents that taking

into account Hispanics current demographic and their status as a minority is important

when developing youth development programs. Four-H could be a good alternative for

Hispanics to participate in youth development programs, since it can provide Hispanic

youth with a safe environment and allow children to socialize and get involved in

valuable after-school activities.

Table 2-1: Formal versus nonformal education
Formal Education Nonformal Education
Committed to learning Committed to learning

Carefully planned curriculum Carefully planned curriculum

Takes place in a physical building Occurs anywhere in a community

Based on standards for knowledge Based on community/youth interests and


needs

Training professionals and volunteers

Youth accomplishments are recognized and
celebrated















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

In this chapter, the methodology used to accomplish the obj ectives of the study will

be explained. The three objectives for this study were to describe the perceptions and

impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic members and their parents, to describe

the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of traditional

4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County, and to describe the perceptions

of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. The research design,

target population, instrumentation, data collection, and analysis will be explained.

Research Design

This is a descriptive study, in that it is describing the Hispanic 4-H members and

their parent' s perceptions regarding their participation in traditional 4-H clubs. It also

describes the perceptions of non-4-Hers and their parents regarding 4-H programs offered

in Miami-Dade County. The study also describes the perceptions of 4-H professionals

regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. This study used focus groups and

interviews with 4-H agents to accomplish the obj ectives of the study.

The researcher developed four different interview guides for the focus groups and a

structured interview guide for the 4-H agents. The interview guide was designed for

current Hispanic 4-H members of a traditional 4-H club. The second interview guide was

for parents of current 4-H members of a traditional 4-H club. The third interview guide

was designed to collect information from non-4-Hers that reside in the southwest area of

Miami-Dade County. The fourth interview guide was for parents of non-4-Hers.









Given that this study was primarily descriptive, qualitative methods were utilized

for the data collection. With qualitative methods participants are interviewed and

observed in their natural settings. The researcher is able to get a firsthand look at the

settings as the participants describe them. It also allows participants to raise topics and

issues the researcher did not anticipate but yet be important to the study. The participants

are allowed to express their feelings and perspectives and clarify any information that the

researcher does not understand. Qualitative data collection provides an environment

where the researcher and the participants are directly involved and where the information

gathering techniques can become a learning process for both parties (Ary, Jacobs &

Razavieh, 2002; Myers, 1997).

The researcher accomplished objectives one and two by using focus groups. The

advantage of using focus groups is that this method possesses elements of the two maj or

techniques used by researchers to collect qualitative data that are participant observation

and individual interviews. Basically focus groups are a way of listening to people and

learning from them (Morgan, 1998). Focus groups create multiple lines of

communication; the group setting offers participants a safe environment where they can

share ideas, beliefs and attitudes among people from their same background (Madriz,

2000). The third objective was accomplished through interviews; this method is one of

the most widely used for obtaining qualitative data. Interviews enable the researcher to

gather information from the participants regarding their opinions, beliefs, and feelings

about the situation in their own words (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002).

Population

This research relied on a nonprobability sampling technique called purposive

sampling, where the researcher selected the participants based on the obj ectives of the










study and the potential contributions of the participants. This study consisted of five

populations of participants: a) 4-H members of a traditional 4-H club in Miami-Dade

County, b) parents of current 4-H members of a traditional 4-H club in Miami-Dade

County, c) non-4-Hers of the southwest area of Miami-Dade County, d) parents of non-4-

Hers of the southwest area of Miami-Dade County and e) 4-H professionals of Miami-

Dade County. The researcher purposely selected the southwest area of Miami-Dade

County because of the high concentration of Hispanics in that area.

The 4-H Members

The participants for this focus group were recruited by contacting the 4-H agent in

Miami-Dade County. The agent and the researcher worked closely to select a club that

primarily consisted of Hispanics. Due to the low participation of Hispanics in traditional

4-H clubs in Miami-Dade County, the researcher was not able to work with a traditional

club that was made up only of Hispanics. The club selected for the study was very

diverse and the one that had the highest Hispanic participation. Eleven members of the

club voluntarily and with their parent' s permission participated in the focus group. Out

of the eleven participants six were Hispanic, three were African-American and two were

White. Regarding gender, three were male and eight were female. The focus group was

conducted entirely in English.

Parents of 4-H Members

The participants of this focus group were recruited by contacting the 4-H agent in

Miami-Dade County. Since the parents had to be contacted to request permission for the

children to participate in the 4-H focus group, they were also presented with the idea of

participating in the study. A total of ten parents voluntarily participated in the study. Out

of the participants eight were Hispanic and two were White. More than one parental










member of two of the Hispanic 4-H members participated in the focus group. Regarding

gender five were male and five were female. The focus group was conducted in English

and Spanish because some participants were not fluent in English.

Non-4-H Members

In order to recruit the participants for this focus group, the researcher contacted

various schools and Hispanic churches in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County.

Finally the researcher was able to establish rapport with a youth pastor of a well establish

Baptist Church in the area. The researcher went on to explain to the pastor the purpose of

the study and solicited support to recruit participants. The pastor contacted the principal

of a nearby school and asked if they would be willing to participate in the study. The

principal and the researcher worked closely to select the participants. A total of eleven

students voluntarily and with their parent' s permission participated in the focus group.

Out of the eleven participants all were Hispanic and regarding gender three were male

and eight were female. The focus group was conducted entirely in English.

Parents of non-4-H Members

These participants were recruited at the same time as the non-4-H members. Since

the parents had been contacted through the youth pastor and the principal of the school to

request permission for their children to participate in the non-4-H focus group, they were

presented with the idea of participating in the study. A total of nine parents voluntarily

participated in the study. All the participants were Hispanic; five were female and four

male. The focus group was conducted in English and Spanish because some participants

were not fluent in English.










The 4-H Professionals

The researcher automatically selected two 4-H professionals of Miami-Dade

County. The researcher interviewed a 4-H agent and a program assistant, and they were

both females. Regarding race one was White and the other one was Hispanic. Even

though both participants were fluent in English one interview was conducted Spanish.

The participants felt more comfortable conducting the interview in their mother tongue.

Instrumentation

In order to collect the necessary data to complete the study, the researcher

developed an instrument for each group of participants: 4-H members, parents of 4-H

members, non-4-H members, parents of non-4-H members and 4-H agents. The

researcher developed these instruments after reviewing The Focus Group Guidebook

(Morgan, 1998). The questions for the focus groups consisted of five types of questions

as noted in Table 3-1.

The researcher developed a moderator' s assent text for focus groups with

participants under eighteen and one for the adults. The assent basically outlined the

moderator' s introduction; it gave a brief explanation of the study and established the

ground rules that were going to be followed during the session (Appendix B & C).

4-H members. The researcher developed an interview guide that collected data

from 4-H members in reference of their perceptions of 4-H, their perceptions regarding

the benefits of participating in a 4-H club as well as their perceptions on how 4-H can

increase their enrollment in 4-H clubs (Appendix D).

Parents of 4-H members. The researcher developed an interview guide that

targeted parents of 4-H members. It was used to collect information regarding the










participants overall perceptions of the program, what is effective and ineffective as well

as how they think their children benefit from the program (Appendix E).

Non-4-H members and parents of non-4-H members. The researcher developed

an interview guide for non-4-H members and another set for parents of non-4-H

members. These instruments were designed to collect information from non-4-H

members and their parents. They were utilize to gather information about their

knowledge of 4-H, their degree of desire of participating in a youth program like 4-H, as

well as, the elements a 4-H club should have in order for them to become members

(Appendix F & G).

4-H professionals. A structured interview guide was developed for 4-H

professionals. It was used to collect information about current programs they offer within

the county, perceptions regarding Hispanics, as well as the barriers and obstacles they

foresee working with this group (Appendix H).

Given that this is a qualitative study, validity, credibility, transferability and

dependability were taken into account by the researcher. Validity is defined as the extent

to which an instrument measures what it claims to measure (Ary et al., 2002). For this

purpose, a panel of two experts from the Department of Agricultural Education and

Communication and one expert from the Family, Youth and Community Sciences

Department at the University of Florida reviewed the five instruments developed.

Credibility is known to be how well the researcher has established confidence in

the findings based on the research design, participants, and context (Ary et al., 2002). In

order to enhance the credibility of the study the researcher used the method of referential

or interpretive adequacy. According to Johnson and Christensen (as cited in Ary, et al.,










2002) this method refers to "accurately portraying the degree to which the participant's

viewpoints, thoughts, feelings, intentions, and experiences are accurately understood and

portrayed." The two strategies used by the researcher to enhance referential adequacy

were the following:

Member checks. This is basically participant's feedback. At the end of the data

collection period, the researcher shared her interpretations of the data with the

participants. This enabled the researcher to clear up any miscommunication, identified

inaccuracies, and obtained additional data.

Low inference descriptors. It is the use of direct quotations that is described as

exactly what the participants said; it is extracted from the field notes. This will help the

reader experience the participant' s world.

Transferability is defined as the degree to which the results of the research can be

generalized or transferred to other contexts or settings (Trochim, 2000). The researcher

addressed this by providing great detail and description of the context of the study to

allow future researchers the ability of deciding to "transfer" the results to a different

context.

Dependability is known as when the consistency is examined as to the extent to

which variation can be tracked and explained (Ary, et al., 2002). The researcher

addressed dependability by using a strategy audit trail. The audit trail contained the raw

data gathered through the focus groups and interviews.

Data Collection Procedure

A review of the study by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) preceded the data

collection. The IRB-02, located at the University of Florida, reviews non-medical

research proposals for ethical soundness. The IRB approved the research proposal and










assigned an IRB protocol number (2005-U-805) for the study. The researcher presented

each participant with an informed consent form letter prior to each focus group and

interview, an example is provided in Appendix I. The informed consent described the

study, the researcher, and any potential risk associated with participating in the study

would require, and they were informed there was no compensation for their participation.

Participants decided to participate voluntarily in the study and by signing the form that

they confirmed their acceptance of the terms. The data collection occurred during the

months of March, April and May 2006. The focus groups lasted from 1'/2 to 2 hours and

the interviews from 30 minutes to an hour. Formal review of the data occurred during

June through July 2006.

Prior to hosting the focus groups with 4-H1 members and their parents the researcher

worked closely with the 4-H1 agent, 4-H1 leader and parents. In order to establish trust and

rapport the researcher provided the 4-H1 agent and 4-H1 leader with a copy of the proposal

of the study outlining the study obj ectives and the procedures in addition to a copy of the

instruments. Providing the 4-H1 agent and 4-H1 leader with a copy of the proposal allowed

the researcher to establish rapport with the adults and was able to answer any questions

they had regarding the whole process before involving the children in the study.

Then the researcher proceeded to explain that the 4-H1 member focus group and the

parent' s focus group were going to be held on different days. The focus groups were

held on different days because the researcher wanted to create a more comfortable

environment for the participants. Once the adults had agreed to participate in the study

and also allow their children to do so, they continued to establish the dates and time each

focus group was going to take place. It was agreed that the 4-H1 members focus group










was going to be held after one of their monthly meetings. The parents focus groups were

held three weeks later. A pizza party was hosted before the parents focus group, this was

done so adults, children and the researcher could socialize and create a friendly and

comfortable environment.

On the days the focus groups were hosted the researcher arrived 1-1 V/2 hour ahead

of time. She met with the 4-H1 agent and 4-H1 leader to go over the process that was going

to be followed. Being there ahead of time allowed the researcher to socialize with the

children before starting the focus group. It also permitted her to determine the layout of

the equipment for the room. Prior to the club's monthly meeting the researcher was

introduced by the 4-H1 leader to the children. The researcher introduced herself and gave

the children an overview of the study and what the focus group was going to consist of.

She also made it very clear that participation was completely voluntarily and that they

could withdraw from the group at any point in time without an explanation.

Following the monthly meeting held by the 4-H1 club, only the children that wanted

to participate in the study stayed. Before starting the focus group the researcher

introduced the observer, explained to the children the dynamics of a focus group, and

informed them that they were going to be recorded. The researcher explained to the

participants that they were going to sit around a table, and that each of them was going to

pick out a nickname so they could have confidentiality while being recorded. As a result

of selecting nicknames the children were more at ease because it was clear to them that

there were no right or wrong answers and that they were not being evaluated.

Furthermore, the researcher explained to the children that they had to raise their hand and










say their nickname before answering a question. Finally the researcher explained and

went over the informed consent with the children.

The same process was followed with the focus groups of non-4-H members and

their parents. They differed in the fact that the researcher made contact with a pastor of a

church. Through the pastor the researcher was able to contact the principal of a Christian

school and coordinate a meeting. The fact that the pastor was involved in the process

gave credibility to study. Consequently, the principal and the parents were more willing

to participate and collaborate with the researcher.

Moderating the focus group. At the beginning of each focus group, the

moderator established rapport immediately by thanking the participants for coming and

letting them know that without them the study would not be possible. Once the

participants and the moderators had picked out their nicknames, the moderator went

ahead and established ground rules and showed them where the refreshments and the

restroom were. After the introductions and general purpose of the focus groups was

reiterated, warm-up questions were asked in order to facilitate discussion. As participants

became more comfortable with the discussion, the moderator became more specific.

When the stipulated time period was almost up, the moderator began to wrap up the

session by summarizing the discussion to make sure the she had interpreted correctly

what the participants had said. Finally the moderator provided a significant closing

statement, thanked the participants for their time and assured them that their responses

were going to be completely confidential. The researcher also gave participants thank

you notes and souvenirs from her home country to show them her gratitude for their

participation in the study.










The researcher coordinated and scheduled the interviews with the 4-H professionals

according to their work agenda. The interviews were done in places where both the

participants and the researcher were comfortable and at ease. This made it easier for the

researcher because it was more like a conversation rather then an interview.

Data Analysis

The focus groups and the interviews were taped (audio only) then they where

professionally transcribed by Document Express. The researcher used domain analysis to

analyze the data. The first step that followed was the translation of conversations that

were held in Spanish to English. Subsequently the researcher read through the transcripts

and colored-coded (marker technique) each question and the discussion that was

associated with each question. The use of the marker technique allowed the researcher to

identify when there was a topic change in the transcript. Next the researcher conducted

an initial coding by generating numerous category codes reading over the transcriptions.

Since the codes are not always mutually exclusive, a piece of text might be assigned

several codes. After the initial coding the researcher moved on to focused coding by

eliminating, combining or subdividing coding categories. The researcher looked for

repeating ideas and maj or themes that connected codes. This classification was possible

with the help of the marker technique in which similar responses are highlighted with a

marker of a certain color which represents a certain code.

Once the data was coded the researcher went on to arrange the data according to the

study objectives using the cut-and-paste methodology (Stewart & Shamdasami, 1990).

This method allowed the researcher to distribute and organize the data collected under

each objective. Major themes emerged under each objective and conclusions and

recommendations were drawn from the data.









Summary

This chapter described the study in terms of the research design, the population of

the study, the instrumentation, and data analysis procedure. In summary, this is a

descriptive study that provides an insight of the perceptions and the impacts of traditional

4-H club among its members and their parents. It also describes the perceptions of 4-H

and areas of interest among potential Hispanic members, and it finally describes the

perceptions of the 4-H extension agent in Miami-Dade County regarding Hispanics. The

populations under study included 4-H members and their parents; non 4-H members and

their parents as well as the 4-H extension agents. The primary methods used to gather the

information for this study were focus groups and interviews. The results of the study

were analyzed using the domain analysis method.

Table 3-1: Categories of question for focus groups
Question Type Purpose
Opening Designed to be answered quickly and identify characteristics
participants have in common. Participants get acquainted and
feel connected.

Introductory Introduce the general topic of discussion and/or provide
participants with the opportunity to reflect on experiences and
their connections with the overall topic.

Transition Move the conversation toward the key questions that drive the
study .

Key Drive the study

Ending Bring closure to the discussion; enable participants to reflect on
previous comments.
Source: Morgan (1998)















CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of Hispanic parents and

youth about 4-H programs offered by the Cooperative Extension Service Miami Dade

County. Qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews and focus groups,

were used to collect data in answering the objectives identified in Chapter 1. The

obj ectives were to:

* Describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs among Hispanic
members and their parents.

* Describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members
of 4-H clubs in the Southwest area of Miami-Dade County.

* Describe the perceptions of 4-H professionals regarding Hispanics in Miami-Dade
County.

Participants

This study consisted of five different groups of participants (a) 4-H members,

(b) parents of 4-H members, (c) non 4-H members, (d) parents of non 4-H members, and

(e) 4-H professionals. Each group of participants had certain characteristics regarding

age, race, gender and year of involvement in 4-H.

Four focus groups were conducted; demographic data collected was limited due to

the confidential nature of the focus group environment. Tables 4-1, 4-2, 4-3 and 4-4

present the known demographic information of participants in this study. The focus

groups consisted of: a) 4-H members, b) Parents of 4-H members, c) Non 4-H members;










and d) Parents of non 4-H members. In addition, interviews were conducted with two

4-H professionals.

4-H members. Overall three males and nine females participated in the focus

group. Ages ranged from nine to 15 years of age, and their involvement in 4-H clubs

ranged from four months to eight years. Out of the eleven participants, six were

Hispanic; three were African-American, and two were White.

Parents of 4-H members. Overall five males and five females participated in the

focus group discussion. The participants involvement in the 4-H club with their children

ranged from two years to 12 years. Out of ten participants eight were Hispanic and two

were White.

Non-4-H members. Overall three males and eight females participated in the

focus group discussion. Participants' ages ranged from eight to 13 years, and school

grade ranged from third to seventh grade. All the participants in this group lived in the

southwest area of Miami-Dade County and were Hispanic.

Parents of non-4-H members. Four males and five females participated in the

focus group discussion. They all lived in the southwest area of Miami-Dade County and

were Hispanic.

4-H professionals. Two females participated in the semi-structured interviews,

one was Hispanic and the other participant was White. Both had been involved with 4-H

(as a member or professionals) for at least 15 years. One was an extension agent and the

other one was a program assistant.

Objective 1

Obj ective one was to describe the perceptions and impacts of traditional 4-H clubs

among Hispanics members and parents. In order to achieve the objective, two different










focus groups were conducted; one with the 4-H1 members and the second one with the

parents of 4-H1 members. In the focus group with 4-H1 members, six themes emerged, and

in the focus group with the parents of 4-H1 members four themes emerged as described in

Table 4-5.

4-H1 Members Perceptions and Impacts of 4-H1

At the beginning of the focus group discussion, participants were asked to define

4-H1. Once it was defined the researcher went on to uncover how they initially found out

and how they got involved in the 4-H1 club. Then the researcher continued to determine

what the participants thought about participating in the 4-H1 club and whether their

participation in the club had any positive or negative consequences. The participants

were also asked to reveal what they thought that their 4-H1 club needed to be a perfect 4-H1

club. Finally the participants advised the researcher on how to encourage other children

to participate in a 4-H1 club. The maj or themes that were identified among the children

were as follows:

4-H1 is agriculture and fun

When the participants were asked to describe what 4-H1 was to them, participants

linked 4-H1 to agriculture and fun activities. They also described how being in 4-H1 has

allowed them to develop an appreciation for agriculture even when they live in an urban

county. Some of the participants expressed that before j oining the 4-H1 club they had

never had contact with farm animals or agriculture. The maj ority of participants do not

live on a farm. Participating in the 4-H1 club has given them the opportunity to have

contact with nature and learn about the anatomy of animals.

Simultaneously, they have established relationships with other children and adults.

Being part of a 4-H1 club had provided the participants an opportunity to learn about other










cultures as well as given them a chance to learn about hard work and the benefits that

agriculture has for everyone. Some of the statements provided by the participants when

asked the questions "When you hear the word 4-H1 what come to mind?" and "Tell us

what you think the purpose of 4-H1 is" are as follow.

* I think about agriculture and people wanting to learn about it as well.

* At 4-H1 we meet friends, you get money and we gain an animal friend.

* I think about the unity you know how everyone comes together.

* The purpose of 4-H1 is having fun with the animals that you choose.

* The purpose of 4-H1 is that you learn a lot about the animals and the different breeds
and all that.

* I think 4-H1 is about an after-school program where you can come and you can learn
about something that you like and you want to understand more.

* The purpose of 4-H1 is for people of all around to come together and get smart about
many different things.

* 4-H1 in my opinion is for kids to have fun, stay out of trouble and for communities to
come together and for kids to learn more about their community and environment
around them.

* What I like about 4-H1 is that we get to meet new friends and their animals. You have
fun with the animals too and we get to earn money and prizes when we go to the fair.

Learning about 4-H

The participants were asked the question "Let' s talk about how you first found out

about 4-H1." The majority of the participants found out by word-of-mouth. Participants

revealed that in some cases their friends told them about the 4-H1 club. Other participants

learned about 4-H1 because their cousins or other family members were already involved

with the program. According to some participants they found out about 4-H1 by accident

because they were not seeking information about the 4-H1 program. Several participants

learned about the 4-H1 program through the county fair. They were visiting the fair and









saw children working with animals and competing for prices. This situation caught their

attention, and they decided to approach the extension agent to find out how they could be

involved in similar activities. Some of the statements provided by the participants were:

* I found out about 4-H1 'cause my cousin. My first time I went with him he took me
here (4-H1 meeting) and I just started getting involved with 4-H1.

* I found out because my sister was in 4-H1 and then she took me here (4-H1 meeting).

* My friend told me about 4-H1.

* My uncle told me about 4-H1 and I decided to participate.

* Six years ago or I should say seven, I was at the youth fair and I saw a lamb giving
birth, and I saw a bunch of kids working with animals and I wanted to know how to
do that and that's when I found my 4-H1 leader and I've been in it ever since. It's
quite addicting.

* I found about the club when I went to the fair with my parents.

Youth involvement

Overall the participants have been involved in the 4-H1 club from four months to

eight years and the maj ority of them were involved in at least one more program or

activity besides the 4-H1 club. Many of the participants were part of a program called

"5,000 role models of excellence" which is a dropout prevention and intervention

program for minority young boys "at-risk" of dropping out of school and/or choosing a

life of crime. It is sponsored by the Miami Dade County School Board.

Other participants were part of the "Leadership for Excellence" program in school.

Children in this program give talks to other children on how to focus on positive rather

than on negative activities. Furthermore, some participants volunteer in Marine Animal

Rescue Society (MARS), an organization dedicated to the conservation of marine animals

through, rescue, rehabilitation, research, and education.









Several participants were involved in sports, dance, and acting clubs. Other

participants have also been camp counselors, members of a judging team, and leaders of

their 4-H1 club. All the participants are actively involved in the fair activities in Miami

Dade County. The participants help each other out with their proj ects to show in the fair,

which allows them to develop teambuilding skills as well as the importance of

cooperation. Some of statements provided by the participants were as follows:

* I'm the president and I'm also in the judging team.

* I'm part of 5,000 role models of excellence.

* Next Wednesday I'm going to a club and talk about animals. I give presentations to
the different 4-H1 clubs and talk about animals. I help at the fair and I help out
basically where the Clovergirl (extension agent) needs me at that point in time.

* In school; I'm part of the Leadership for Excellence group that my counselor helps
and what we do is like we talk about kids doing bad stuff and what they should do,
the good stuff.

* I'm in a dance team in my high school and I do acting class in John Robert' s
Followers.

* I'm in the soccer team at school.

* I'm an active volunteer with the Marine Animal Rescue Society, which rescues,
rehabilitates and releases whales and dolphins for the most part, but marine animals
of all sorts. Then I'm also an active volunteer of species of wildlife, which is wildlife
sanctuary, which takes in lions, tigers, bears, you name it. I'm also a camp counselor.

Development of life skills

Participants were asked to describe the benefits of their participation in 4-H1. After

analyzing the results and transcriptions the researcher identified the following benefits

described below:

Development of life skills. The maj ority agreed that 4-H1 has helped them develop

life skills. Overall the participants stated that working with the animal projects has

helped them to become more responsible, disciplined and dedicated. This is a direct










result of the fact that the participants are in charge of feeding, bathing, showing and

selling their animal each year.

Development of public speaking and leadership skills. Participants agree that

sharing information with the general public on their animal's weight gain, breed and the

different benefits of raising an animal have enhanced their skills.

Learning and accepting diversity. Participants agree that participating actively in

the 4-H club has facilitated them to be more aware and at ease with the diversity of their

community, it has also taught them about different cultures and being able to do

teamwork.

Establishing long lasting relationships. Some of the participants stated that in the

clubs they had really good friends and this provided them with a good supportive group.

Their friends help them solve their problems or at least give them ideas. Some of the

statements provided are as follows:

* We have all sorts of different backgrounds in this club and I love all my members and
they're all my good friends and I couldn't live a day without them.

* The benefits of 4-H is going out to show your animals and make people understand
what 4-H is.

* Sometimes you find people that will tell you that you can't do something and when
you come to 4-H there is a supportive group of people that tell you can do it, that' s
cool .

* Sometimes I can't solve my problems and here you have people that can help you
solve them, not solve them for me but they help me out.

* The advantage of 4-H for me is that it is teaching me responsibility, dedication
towards something whether it be a proj ect or an animal. Leadership skills, I'm the
president of my club and meet friends.

* 4-H allows us to take like the negative things that happen in life and learn from them.
I have a lot of friends that are starting to have sex or drugs, when I look at them I
think I'm glad I'm in 4-H cause I could be just like them.










* 4-H1 helps to discipline yourself and it also helps you become a better person because
you get to interact with people and you know it gives you strategies you can use for
the rest of your life.

* 4-H1 helps you get used to like different races and different sexual orientations,
different types of people, so it' s really cool because we have a variety of people in
this club. I'm like the only white person in here and I still don't know Spanish.

* We get to practice our public speaking skills. We also get to like communicate with
others on different other things like animal and drafting. We also get to compete like
go to other place. Like if you win at one spot, you get to onto a higher level and
practice more what you're trying to achieve.

* What I like about my proj ect. They teach me responsibility, dedication even though
they do stuff on me and hurt me from time to time its still worth it and I love every
minute spending time with them, bathing them, showing them is lots of fun. You get
to make lots of different new friends and that' s about it.

Start small, offer diversity, recognition and have a good leader

Another question focused on what would be a "perfect" or ideal 4-H1 program for

participants. In order to achieve this, participants discussed the elements and resources

needed for the "ideal" program. After analyzing the responses five principles were

identified and are described below:

* Participants pointed out that the program should offer food; that way children
would be more willing to attend.

* The availability of facilities that offer children a diverse range of animals for
projects such as, rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs and others types of
animals. All the participants agreed that the program should offer different projects
other than their animal projects. The program should offer projects such as artistic
like drama, music performance, painting and photography, crafts and sports; that
way children who do not enj oy working with animals could still have the
opportunity to j oin 4-H1 clubs.

* Participants recognized that the program should be able to provide family friendly
environment, where parents can also be involved in the proj ects.

* In addition participants feel it is important the 4-H1 programs provide recognition of
their accomplishments at the county, state and national level.

* Finally, participants believe that an "ideal" program should have a good leader.
The characteristics of the leader should include: to be a fun person, responsible,










willing to help others and someone who understands the Hispanic culture. In
addition the extension agent should be fun, energetic, and knowledgeable.

Some of the statements provided for this question were as follows:

* Food!

* For the little kids you could give them crafts to do.

* All the proj ect representative of 4-H can go all over the country meeting senators,
meeting presidents doing whatever.

* I would have like a national field day or some day that would represent the 4-H.

* I think you should have a variety of animal proj ects for the kids to choose from and I
think you should start out small because that would be your best choice because it
would be easy to maintain and to handle.

* Animals so kids can have some to choose from and small like dogs, rabbits, cats,
hamster, guinea pig, chicks, chickens anything that's small, all sorts of animals. And
a bird too.

* I think you should have a variety of activities for your kids. Say if one kid doesn't
like animals you could have drama or something. And it should be lots of fun and it
should keep kids interested, lots of animals and make sure it' s a family friendly
environment.

* The ideal thing for me would be either animal husbandry or like working with all
sorts of different animals and training them and learning about their behavior or going
around to different theaters and seeing Broadway productions and going behind the
scenes and meeting all the actors.

* She's (extension agent) constantly happy. She's brings joy to the club every time she
walks through the door.

* She' s (extension agent) funny. She's cool. She' s energetic. She has a lot of instincts.

* She loves animals, she know how to handle kids and she's a great leader.

* She's (leader) very helpful when you're in need or if something needs to get done,
she reminds you a lot. She' s very responsible and she gets the j ob done.

* She's (leader) a very wonderful woman. She's somebody you can count on, some
body you can depend on.


*She's (leader) nice and she sound funny when she talks Spanish.










Join our club! Its fun and we accept everyone

The researcher wanted to determine how the participants would promote their 4-H1

club and how would they recruit new members. The first observation made by the

participants was the importance of the parents' involvement. According to the

participants many of their friends did not participate in the club because their parents do

not have time or thought it was not worth their time (parents do not know what 4-H1

does). After reviewing the results and transcriptions four strategies were identified to

recruit new members:

* Tell other kids and friends how much fun they could have with the animals and
how much they could learn.

* It is crucial to tell kids that besides having fun and making friends they could earn
money with their 4-H1 proj ects.

* Let potential members know that 4-H1 clubs do not discriminate against race, sex,
color or religion.

* Share with them that they will be able to help others in the community and in the
club.

Some of the statements provided by the participants were as follows:

* My friends were going to come, it' s just they have other activities to do and their
mothers and fathers didn't have time to take them.

* I told my friends to j oin, but their parents don't want to just take the time to come
over here while the kids have time to study they have to come over here and it's just
not in their budget.

* I would tell my friends that' s it fun. You get to go to the fair. You get to meet new
friends and at the end of the year you earn a lot of money.

* I would tell them 4-H1 is a wonderful experience because you learn how to speak in
public, interact with others. You get to study in your field on what you want to be or
if you're interested in animals you get to deal with them and help with them.

* You get to play with the animals and go to competitions. You get trophies and
medals and stuff.










* I would say to people that 4-H accepts everybody. You can be African American,
Hispanic, you can be from Puerto Rico, Mexico, we accept everyone. 4-H is here for
everybody and 4-H is like a club. It' s a club for helping people, for going to the fair,
helping and everything.

* I would tell people that it is very fun and rewarding. It' s something to do. It keeps
you out of trouble and it' s a great environment and besides the fact that you make a
lot of money.

Parents of 4-H Members

At the beginning of the parent' s focus group discussion, they were asked to define

4-H. Once the participants had defined it, they went on to uncover how they found out

about the program. In addition, they were also asked to describe if they thought that the

club has had an impact on their children. Finally, participants shared with the researcher

what they thought would be a "perfect" or "ideal" 4-H program and how they would

encourage other parents to get their children involved in 4-H clubs. The maj or themes

that were identified by the researcher on this group were as follows:

4-H is agriculture, friends and community

When participants were asked to describe what 4-H meant to them, most parents in

this group related 4-H programs to agriculture. According to parents, the 4-H clubs are a

place where their children learn to appreciate agriculture and animal production mainly.

After examining the result and transcriptions four maj or benefits of enrolling children in

4-H clubs were identified:

* Children are able to establish relationships with other children as well as with adults.

* Children have fun.

* Four-H' ers have a better understanding of the diversity and the needs of the people in

their community as a result of participating in community service proj ects.










* Children learn responsibility as well as the ability do team work. Parents also pointed

out that they are learning about agriculture through their children. Some parents were

not knowledgeable about agriculture but as a result of their children' s participation in

4-H they have learned of its importance.

Some of the descriptions provided by the participants are as follows:

* 4-H is about farm animals.

* Commitment.

* I think friends and community comes to mind.

* Adventure for kids.

* Activities. Events for the kids.

* Learning about responsibility, nurturing and caring for an animal and learning all
about them.

* Teamwork and adult teaching kids and kids teaching other kids, working together and
learning responsibility, having fun.

* I learn from them, right now I'm learning a lot about baby goats and I've been college
educated as well about animals. Well, I had no idea even though we raised chickens
as a kid, but I wouldn't have known all the things I know now.

* City kids get to find out about animals when usually other kids can't find out about
cows and deer and all that. 'Cause when you're in the city you don't have much
contact with them.

Learning about 4-H

The maj ority of the parents learned about 4-H through the county fair, they visited

the fair and saw children working with animals. Other parents knew about 4-H because

they owned a ranch and had contact with the local extension office. Regarding the

accessibility of the club, the maj ority of participants said that the location was too distant

for the maj ority of the members. Nevertheless, parents expressed that driving a longer

distance was worth the benefits of participating in a 4-H club. However, some parents










expressed they had searched for a club closer to their home but were not able to find one.

Some of the statements provided by the participants are as follows:

* Last year we went to the fair and we saw how a 4-H member was taking care of
animals and my daughter wanted to do the same thing she was doing. We talked to
the 4-H leader and she told us about it, and ever since she has been involved in 4-H.

* We were at the Dade County Fair one year, we had never heard of 4-H at all and our
daughter saw a lamb being born and she saw kids in there with it and she's like I want
to do that. How come they can get to be in there and everything? So, we talked
to..... She was there and she said that we could start the following year so we started
and I guess we've been here for six or seven years. My daughter loves it.

* I own a ranch and I work with the extension agent and he told me about 4-H, that is
how we found out about it.

* We visited the Amelia Earhart park and saw a kids working with animals, we asked
the person in charge and she explained that it was a 4-H club that was getting ready
for the fair, that' s how we found out.

* For me it is very far from my home, I come from Broward, it is kind of a hike, but we
love the club so much it' s worth it.

* It' s a long way for my daughter but she likes it so we drive all the way here.

* I looked for clubs closer to home until we found this one, and we have been involved
in 4-H about five years.

Development of life skills

According to all the parents the maj or benefits of participating in 4-H has been the

acquirement of life skills. Through the proj ects, the children have learned to be

responsible and learn to work out problems with their proj ects since the kids are

responsible for looking after their animals. Furthermore, kids have also learned how to

work in a team and help each other. Some parents pointed out that their children used to

be very shy and are now more sociable, self confident and outspoken as a result of

participating in livestock shows in the county fair and other events.









More children are also exposed to real life experiences like competition; which

teaches kids how to face life situations like winning or losing and dealing with the feeling

that come with being involved in group activities and competition. Overall 4-H1 has

provided their children with skills they usually do not learn in school and it also helps

them to focus on educational activities and programs that keep them out of trouble. Some

of the statements provided by the participants are as follows:

* They are learning responsibility, nurturing and caring for animals and learning all
about them.

* They leamn teamwork and adult teaching kids and vice versa.

* They gain knowledge, not something they leamn in school, but something that could
help them in the future and teaches a lot of responsibility.

* They leamn how to deal with other people and being able to work and help each other
out and not just be an individual, they can help everybody else in the club.

* It teaches them competition, so they learn early like how to deal with it. When the
kids lose and they see someone else win, maybe their friends then they have to go to
that person and praise them for winning. That' s a big challenge.

* It is a form of premier leadership and personal growth.

* My daughter was really shy before the club, now she is not afraid to speak in public,
she has learned to be responsible because she needs to take care of her animal.

* My son is more self-confident, being able to speak in public.

* My daughter had a class and she had to stand up and speak in front of everybody and
she felt comfortable.

* The maj ority of the kids volunteer because also they realize the benefits and this
builds up confidence.

* There is acceptance in the club and I think that it teaches the kids acceptance and that
diversity is a good thing.

* It kept him out of the street, doing other things and this is a very healthy environment.










A good program is a collaborative effort

Overall participants described a good 4-H program as a collaborative effort

between extension agents, leaders and parents. The parent' s involvement is a must for

the success of the program. Parents expressed they need to encourage the children and

get involved with them in the activities so the experience is more rewarding, it should be

a family event. In addition, programs should be year round and have more community

service, so the children could give back to their communities. Some of the statements

provided by the participants are as follows:

* Without adult support and drive you don't get the kids motivated and that' s what you
need.

* Adults need to be participating as much as the children because you're like a mentor,
you are teaching them.

* It' s something the whole family can enj oy and do and be proud of it.

* I think it' s good for the adults, right know I'm learning a lot and I've been educated, I
wouldn't have known all the things I know about goats, heifers, hogs or rabbits.

* Involved in more community service.

* Have it year around.

* More people doing community service.

Overall the children and parents had the same perceptions about 4-H and agreed

that participating in the club has impacted them in a positive way as noted earlier in Table

4-5.

Objective 2

Obj ective two was to describe the perceptions of 4-H and areas of interest of

potential Hispanic members of traditional 4-H clubs in the southwest area of Miami-Dade










County. In order to achieve the obj ective, two different focus groups were conducted one

with the non 4-H1 members and the second one with the parents of non-4-H members.

Non-4-H Members

At the outset of the focus group discussion, non-4-H members were asked about

youth programs in their community and specifically about 4-H1. The majority of the

participants were not aware of the existence of youth programs and had never heard about

4-H1. Out of the ten participants only one knew about the existence of Boys and Girls

clubs and YMCA. This participant said that he/she had noticed three different locations

in less than five miles from his/her house. Some of the statements provided by the

participants are as follows:

* I don't know what that is.
* It sounds like math or something like that.
* It sounds boring to me.

The participants were asked to provide their perceptions about 4-H1 programs, their

willingness to participate in a youth program like 4-H1, and to list the components a youth

program should have based on their experience. The maj ority of the participants said they

would participate in a 4-H1 club because it sounded like a fun activity where they could

spend time with friends and meet other people. In addition, non-4-H members said they

would like to have clubs focused on other topics like: sports, dancing and learning from

different cultures. The participants pointed out that they would like their parents to be the

4-H1 leaders, and if that was not possible they would like to see a person who was

sociable, fun and that liked kids. Some of the statements provided by participants are as

follow:

* 4-H1 sounds fun and I would like to be in it.










* I would participate in it if my parents can be a part of it, 'cause my parents are fun
and other kids can have fun with them.

* I would participate cause I can meet other kids and besides I have nothing else to do.

* I would like it because I can hang out with my friends and talk about what is going on
in our lives.

* I would like a multicultural club, like have a bunch of people hanging out from
different places.

* I would like to learn how to dance like salsa, merengue, and reggaeton different
traditional dances form other countries.

* I would like to learn how to play soccer.

* Field trips would be cool, we can learn about dolphins.

* We can learn how to make t-shirts.

* I would like to make good friendships with different people. How do you say that?
Like multiculture. Like have a bunch of different people hanging out like she said and
hanging out and going out to different places.

* I would like a club like every time we meet we would have different like a day to
learn about Colombia and their food, music, everything. They next time it would
Nica (referring to Nicaragua), another day Boricua (referring to Puerto Rico) and
stuff like that. Like we can learn about each other and like where we are from. Like
me, I was born here but dad is from Brazil and my mom is from Colombia.

* If my dad goes with me, it would be more fun.

* If my dad or mom were part of the clubs my brother and sister would be in too. My
cousins would go too.

The participants were also asked how they would recruit other Hispanic children to

join a 4-H club. According to participants the first thing that should be done is to visit

communities and to learn the interests of the kids in that society. Several kids expressed

that recruiters should go to schools, attend meetings where they can explain the 4-H

programs and discuss ideas people have about what kinds of clubs are available. All

participants said these meetings should provide food and music so people feel motivated









to attend. Kids said they would tell potential participants that being part of the club is fun

and that they can complete projects in different subj ects or topics and as an added bonus

they can earn money with their proj ects. Some of the statements provided by the

participants are as follow:

* I would go around the community and get to know the kids, like just to find out about
the people there and what they like, 'cause they wouldn't want to come if it has
nothing to do with them.

* I would tell them that it' s a lot of fun, like you go, you hang out with your friends,
you play games and like just a place to hang out and relax.

* I will tell them to come because there is like a lot of sports to do and you can get
skinny and strong.

* I will tell them about all the good and fun things we are doing out there and how
much fun it is to do what we are doing and how much we love it.

* I would tell them they are going to experience new things and meet new people, so
come and j oin the club.

* I would go to schools because like we have a lot of Hispanics, I would tell them to
like come and check it out for themselves and see if they like or not. Like everyone
could bring in like their own ideas.

* I would invite them and like have reggaeton, salsa, merengue. I'm serious I would
also have Cuban food, have a lot of food so they can feel comfortable.

Parents of Non-4-H Members

First topic discussed with parents was different youth development programs in

their communities. Overall parents identified as youth development programs: Girls and

Boys Scouts, YMCA, Sunday school, after school programs like sports, band, dancing

and acting. According to the participants the only youth programs their children attend is

Sunday Bible School and that their kids do not participate in other programs like YMCA

or Girls and Boys Scouts because they do not have time to transport them to these

programs during weekdays. The majority of kids attend after school programs and are










usually picked-up from school between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. According to the parents

the teachers make sure the children do their homework and study during after school

programs. Some of the statements provided by participants are as follows:

* I've seen the sign of YMCA when I drive home.

* I know there is a club of girls scouts by my house, they always come over and sell
cookies, that's how I know.

* Well, my children go to Sunday Bible School, that' s where they learn about God and
the youth pastor talks to them about behaving good and the difference between right
and wrong.

* Well, I don't know if this counts, but my son stays in school until 6:00 pm, I pay
extra and he stays here and the teacher helps him out with homework and they make
sure he studies.

The maj ority of the participants had never heard of 4-H and did not know what it

was. Out of the nine participants, two knew about 4-H and they stated they did not like

that program because it was only agriculture and they were not interested in that. The

other participant stated that he knew what 4-H was but they had no interest in working

with them (Hispanics). According to him it was only about cows and they had no

intention of changing it or making a program more attractive to Hispanics.

* I don't know what that is.
* I have no idea what 4-H is.
* I have seen it at the County fair, they only have animals there.
* They only talk about cows.

The second part of the focus group was used to provide non-4-H parents a clear and

concise explanation of 4-H programs so that they could understand the diverse nature of

the programs outside agriculture. In addition, participants were asked if they would

allow and encourage their kids to become 4-H members and to provide feedback on ideas

for establishing future 4-H clubs. Overall participants believed that they would










encourage their children to participate in 4-H1 clubs. Participants expressed it was

essential that clubs meet during the weekends, since both parents on most households in

this group have full-time j obs. Regarding the content of the programs they would like

their children to learn, the parents included: how to embrace their background and

appreciate the sacrifices they have done as parents so they could have a better future.

Another aspect is to provide an environment where children get the chance to socialize

and relate to other children from different backgrounds, acquire skills such as self-

confidence, responsibility, communication and leadership. Finally the participants

pointed out that they would like a program that encourages children to attend college and

higher education since most children do not see the importance of education on their

future, and most children aspire to be professional athletes or rappers. Some of the

statements provided by the participants are as follows:

* I would like my children to participate in 4-H1.

* The program should teach children things they are not able to learn in school.

* I want my son to relate more to other children. To simply learn new things that they
don't teach in school that might help them and skills, special skills and just to have
something to do that just not being at home and watching T.V. or something like that.

* The program should be flexible, because sometimes you have problems with schedule
and/or some days you can't always go to some of the meetings.

* I would 1 like my children to appreciate all the sacrifices we have made so they could
have a better life than we did back home.

* It would nice if someone can talk to the children about going to school, right now
they just want to be professional athletes or rappers and I want them to have the
education I didn't.

Finally the participants were asked to describe what would be the best way to

inform parents about 4-H1. They were also asked to describe what would be the best place

to start a 4-H1 club in their communities so it could be accessible to most residents.










Regarding information about 4-H, several of the participants thought that flyers in

Spanish could be handed out in the grocery stores and use Spanish radio stations to

promote programs. Usually the Spanish radio stations provide the communities with

information regarding immigration, jobs and other services aimed at Hispanics. They

also mentioned that they would promote the clubs through churches; the priest or the

pastor usually makes announcements at the end of the service and encourages members

to explore this programs. Out of nine participants, two suggested offering information

through the Internet. Overall the participants agreed that they would be interested in

being a 4-H leader as long as the club met on weekends and preferably on school

grounds, churches, or on public parks. Several of them pointed that they could be 4-H

leaders as long as clubs were not only focused on agriculture. On the other hand, three

participants were open to the idea of having animal science clubs because they could

learn together with the children about agriculture. The only obstacle they saw was that

they didn't have a farm because they lived in the city. Some of the statements provided

by participants are as follows:

* I would ask the pastor of my church to encourage the community to participate in
4-H, we usually listen to him.

* Why don't you use the radio? When I go to work the radio usually is letting people
know how to deal with the immigration stuff especially right now. They also
announce different services offered to us.

* I would be a 4-H leader if the club is not about agriculture, I don't know anything
about it.

* I would not mind being a 4-H leader for an agriculture club, I could learn about it
with kids, besides I did some farming back home. The only problem I see is that we
live in the city.

* The clubs could meet at church, or we could ask the principal if we could meet here,
that way it would be accessible to all of us.










* What about the park? That would be good. The whole family can go and that way we
can get some exercise.

Objective 3

Obj ective three was to describe the perceptions of 4-H extension agents regarding

Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. In order to achieve the objective, interviews were

conducted with a program assistant and a 4-H extension agent.

At the time of the research there were only two 4-H agents for the entire county, in

other words they were understaffed. Overall both interviewees have been involved with

4-H over 15 years as either a 4-H member, volunteer, leader or extension agent. Both

were familiar with the 4-H culture, they are true believers that 4-H can make a difference

in a child's life; consequently they are very passionate about their work.

The researcher aimed to uncover the following information: current programs,

types of clubs, volunteer recruitment, requirements of being a 4-H leader, barriers of

working with Hispanics and alternatives on how to increase Hispanic involvement.

Current Programs and Types of Clubs

The participants indicated that the maj or programs they are currently working on in

Miami-Dade County are as follows:

* Youth leadership program: basically youth get together to plan community service
proj ects for the county.

* Youth and Governance: This is a government club, which prepares children for the
legislature experience. They meet six times in the year and conduct field trips to
legislative offices.

* Community and Proj ect Clubs.

* Coordination of county and district events, specifically public speaking events.

* After school programs: Through a partnership with different youth organizations
such as Boy's and Girl's clubs. These include after school programs in areas 4-H
would not be able to reach.










* School enrichment programs

* Camps

In Miami-Dade County four types of 4-H1 clubs are utilized:

* Community clubs: These are characterized by their geographical area and can explore
a wide variety of topics such as: clothing, clowning, rabbits, sewing, marine science,
food and nutrition, health and safety, and nutrition.

* Proj ect clubs: These focus on a specific proj ect or subj ect matter. Some topics include
marine science, animal science or shooting sports. The members are usually very
passionate about animals or shooting sports, they travel long distances for the
meetings.

* After-school programs: Are usually held on a community center and meet only during
the school year.

* In-school club: These clubs are led by teachers during school hours and are only
during the school year.

Participants also elaborated on how they determine the content of their programs.

Many of them are already structured such as the school enrichment program. They follow

a guideline that is provide by the University of Florida 4-H1 program, where they have to

at least spend six hours working with the teacher and the students. In contrast the content

of the community and proj ect clubs are more flexible and most of the content depends on

the leader's initiative. Nevertheless they have certain standards they have to achieve such

as: a) apply for a club charter and on that club charter they are asked to obey by the

county, state and national policy, b) they have to do a community service proj ect and

c) the key leader has to be screened. The extension agents make sure leaders provide a

safe environment for the children that is warm and friendly to everyone. Agents also

remind leaders that in clubs all the members must have a say in the decisions, that way

the club members retain ownership of their program.









4-H Members

According to the participants their county is like a melting pot because they have so

much diversity among the members of the community. The participants indicated that in

Miami-Dade County at least 55% percent of the population is Hispanic, 30% is African

American, and probably less than 20% is White. When looking at those numbers, people

would assume that the Hispanic participation in 4-H would be the highest one.

According to the participants, 48% of the children they reach through 4-H are Hispanic.

The participants explained that they roughly reach 9,000 children; nevertheless only

1,000 of them are involved in a community/project club. The participants agreed that the

community/proj ect clubs are the programs that have the best effect on children. The

participation in this type of club helps children develop social, communication and

leadership skills. According to the participants, out of 1, 000 active members in a

community/proj ect club more or less seventy percent are White.

The participants explained that the 48% of Hispanics reached was due to after

school programs and school enrichment. They see a need to increase Hispanic

involvement in community/proj ects clubs, so they can also have access to the benefits

mentioned above. According to the participants one of the reasons for the lack of

Hispanic participation is that, 4-H has its roots in rural White America, and this makes it

difficult to attract minorities in general. Another factor is the fact that 4-H is not known

by the Hispanic culture and they do not necessarily have a way to bridge into that.

Furthermore, these clubs are very volunteer intensive and not all families are able to

commit the time necessary. In many situations Hispanics families do not have the luxury

of time.










The participants indicated that in order increase Hispanic participation they have to

establish relationships, and this takes time and effort. The lack of personnel in their

county complicates that. There are only two 4-H extension agents for the entire county,

and neither of them speaks Spanish. There is a clear need to hire or partner with people

who are fluent in Spanish so they can start establishing the relationships needed to bridge

that gap and getting the word about 4-H dispersed among Hispanics. According to the

participants there is a need to promote 4-H among Hispanics, since the

community/proj ect clubs in Hispanic communities is rare. Four-H can be very beneficial

to Hispanics since it can facilitate their transition or adaptation to the American culture.

Some specific strategies suggested by the participants are as follow:

* Partnership with the city parks department and have them hire a 4-H staff member,
and that way we can have a 4-H club in each park and make the clubs more
accessible to the communities.

* Partner with other organizations that serve Hispanics.

* Have fields days during the weekends in places like "La Pequefia Habana" and
Hialeah, invite the parents with their children so they can learn about 4-H and make
sure to emphasis that it is a free service, all it takes is some time and commitment.

* Post flyers in laundry mats in Hispanic Neighborhoods.

* Hire more staff fluent in Spanish.

Successful 4-H Clubs

A crucial element of 4-H clubs are the volunteers. Participants expressed that they

do not recruit 4-H leaders, because of the lack of time available. The majority of the 4-H

club leaders were either 4-H'ers themselves and by random chance. Many of the 4-H

leaders have seen the 4-H display in the county fair and want to get involved. The

participants expressed that the main characteristics they look for in a 4-H leader are:










responsible, communication skills, being understanding, having compassion, open-

minded and fair.

According to the participants a common trait among successful 4-H clubs is that the

extension agent has to hand-hold them during the first year; that includes calling the 4-H

leader, following up and asking the following: How are you doing? Do you have any

questions? How can I help you? Do you need a guest speaker? Are you getting burned

out? Would you like me to come to your club meeting? In conclusion really hand-holding

and being there for the first year is what makes a club successful. Currently the 4-H

leaders receive fall training every year, where they are given fun hands-on activities, they

are taught games that can be done with the club, different ideas on different proj ects, and

they are also provided with a calendar that includes all the 4-H activities during the year.

According to the participants this is not enough, they need more financial and staff

support from extension, and they are currently developing a handbook specifically for

leaders to make their jobs easier. They are also planning to have another training during

spring 2007. The training aims to provide 4-H leaders with alternative strategies to

recruit potential 4-H members, youth development and club leadership, increase family

involvement and a more detailed understanding of the clubs reports and paper work.

Summary

This chapter presented the findings of the study. Findings were organized and

presented by the following obj ectives: 1) Describe the perceptions and impacts of 4-H

clubs among Hispanics members and their parents, 2) Describe the perceptions of 4-H

and areas of interest of potential Hispanic members of 4-H clubs in the southwest area of

Miami-Dade County and 3) Describe the perceptions of 4-H extension agents regarding






85


Hispanics in Miami-Dade County. Chapter 5 will present a more detailed discussion of

these findings, as well as implications for the findings for the groups studied.









Table 4-1: Four-H members focus group participants
Alias Gender Race
LZ Male Hispanic
Taz Female Hispanic
Alphaba Female White
Sandy Cheeks Female Hispanic
Freddy Krueger Male Hispanic
Tinkerb ell Female White
Baby Female Hispanic
Tiger Male African American
Pink Female African American
Bubbles Female African American
Princess Female Hispanic
*Alias names selected to maintain the confidentiality.


Years Involved with 4-H1
8
8
7
6
5
3
2
2
1
9 months
4 months


Table 4-2: Parents of 4-H members focus group participants
Alias Gender Race Years Involved with 4-H
CJR Male Hispanic 12
CPE Male Hispanic 12
CRS Female Hispanic 12
RBT Male Hispanic 12
IVT Female Hispanic 8
PMA Female White 7
MRY Female White 6
JLU Male Hispanic 5
NLN Male Hispanic 2
MRA Female Hispanic 2
*Alias names selected to maintain the confidentiality.


Table 4-3: Non-4-H members focus group participants
Alias Gender Race
Phoebe Female Hispanic
Rachel Female Hispanic
Dog Male Hispanic
Pop star Female Hispanic
Shaquille O'neal Female Hispanic
Sam Male Hispanic
U7U2 Male Hispanic
Princess Female Hispanic
Balloon Female Hispanic
Hillary Duff Female Hispanic
Queen Female Hispanic
*Alias names selected to maintain the confidentiality.


Schoolgrd

7th
7th
6th
6th
6th
5th
4th
3rd
3rd
3rd












Table 4-4: Parents of non-4-H members focus group participants
Alias Gender Race
AB Female Hispanic
AS Male Hispanic
DH Male Hispanic
DT Female Hispanic
GH Female Hispanic
IA Male Hispanic
MA Female Hispanic
Alias Gender Race
MF Male Hispanic
MG Female Hispanic
*Alias names selected to maintain the confidentiality.




Table 4-5: Themes emerged from focus groups with 4-H members and parents of 4-H
members.
Children Parents
4-H is agriculture and fun 4-H is agriculture, friends and community

Learning about 4-H Learning about 4-H

Youth involvement Development of life skills

Development of life skills A good program is a collaborative effort

Start small, offer diversity, recognition, and
have a good leader

Join our club!i Its fun and we accept
everyone















CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

This chapter presents the conclusions, implications and recommendations drawn

from the findings of the study. Additionally, it provides suggestions for further research

that can contribute to increase Hispanic enrollment in traditional 4-H club within Miami-

Dade County.

Discussion of Key Findings

4-Members and Parents of 4-H members

Result of our study reported that 4-H members and parents of 4-H members had

positive perceptions regarding 4-H as a youth development program. Both groups linked

4-H to agriculture and fun activities, where they were able to meet and establish

relationships with other children and adults. One can make the assumption that the 4-H

club format allows club members and adults to engage in different activities that promote

socializing.

Our study indicated that the maj ority of the 4-H members and parents of 4-H

members felt that the club members had developed life skills that will help them

throughout their lives. Participants reported multiple gains in terms of public speaking,

leadership skills, communication skills, responsibility, self-confidence, respect for and

from others; and real life experience from their projects. These findings support the

research by Astroth & Haynes (2001); Astroth (1996); Boyd et.al, (1992); Fox, Schroeder

& Lodl (2003); Heinsohn & Cantrell (1986); Ladewig & Thomas (1987); and Mead et al.,









(1999), which found that 4-H1 members perceived they had developed specific life skills

through the 4-H1 experience.

Contrary to what Allen, lyechad, Mayeske, Parson, Rodriguez, Singh, Swiney,

Tolley and Butterfield (1988) stated that competition decreases self-esteem and fosters

individualism rather than cooperation, in this study the maj ority of adults reported that

4-H1 involvement has enabled the children to deal effectively with emotion.; especially

with situations like winning or losing that come with being involved in group activities

and competition. Additionally, as mentioned by other authors (Mean et al., 1999) club

members and parents reported that 4-H1 club membership had allowed them to interact

with other people and establish long lasting friendship with other children and adults and

has also helped children to understand and embrace diversity.

Most parents of 4-H1 members who participated in the study believed that the

success of a 4-H1 club was related to a true commitment from parents, 4-H1 leader and

extension agent. Participants cited that the adult' s commitment to the club enables

children develop positive relationships with other adults besides their parents. This is in

a congruence with various studies that have demonstrated that one key factor in a youth's

life is a supportive mentoring relationship with a non-related adult (Bogenschnieder &

Olson, 1998; Seita, 1994; Werner & Smith, 1992).

In addition, like the study conducted by Perkins and Butterfield (1999) our study

shows that the 4-H1 club has provided participants the opportunity to interact positively

with an adult leader who cares about them; this interaction has positively impacted the

children because they feel important. In this regard Russell (2001) stated that through

interaction with multiple caring adults outside the family, youth receive guidance,









direction, and feedback that reinforces or builds on the effort of parents and extended

family. In conclusion, access to multiple adult role models in addition to parents benefit

youth emotionally, scholastically and interpersonally (Walker, 1998).

The findings of our study reported that the maj ority of 4-H members were involved

in other youth organization besides 4-H. This supports the researcher by Ladewig &

Thomas (1987) and Astroth & Haynes (2001) which found that 4-H members are more

likely to be involved in all types of after school programs than other youth. Furthermore,

4-H members and parents of 4-H members expressed the need to diversify the 4-H

program in order to increase Hispanic enrollment.

Non-4-H Members and Parents of Non-4-H Members

Limited exposure to 4-H programs was characteristic of the non-4-H members and

the parents of non-4-H members; only two adults had seen or heard about 4-H. Further

more, support services, sources of information and access to 4-H is almost non-existent to

this group of participants. Therefore not surprisingly, the participants perceptions of 4-H

were shaped by the limited access to such services. Parents of non-4-H members

erroneously associated 4-H only with cows and agriculture. This association led the

participants to perceive that 4-H was not interested in working with Hispanics.

The findings of our study showed that Hispanics (children and adults) are very

interested in participating in youth development program, like the 4-H traditional club.

Both groups were eager to participate in a program that will allow them to socialize and

develop new friendships (Farner, Cutz, Farner, Seibold & Abuchar, 2006). Although the

adults pointed out that location and access was important, it is not an overwhelming

constraint on participation. The participants expressed that as long as the club meetings

were held on weekends, they would encourage the children to participate in 4-H.