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A Study of Life Skill Development of Oklahoma 4-H Alumni during the Years of 4-H Participation 1969-1998

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A Study of Life Skill Development of Oklahoma 4-H Alumni during the Years of 4-H Participation 1969-1998
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MAASS, SARAH ELIZABETH ( Author, Primary )
Copyright Date:
2008

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Adults ( jstor )
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Extension education ( jstor )
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Life skills ( jstor )
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Research studies ( jstor )
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Sarah Elizabeth Maass. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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4/30/2006
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436097533 ( OCLC )

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A STUDY OF LIFE SKILL DEVELOPMENT OF OKLAHOMA 4-H ALUMNI DURING THE YEARS OF 4-H PARTICIPATION 1969-1998 By SARAH ELIZABETH MAASS 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 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Sarah Elizabeth Maass

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I would like to dedicate this research document to the memory of my late grandfather, Gilbert Wittkopp, who made sure I would receive a higher level of education.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This research study and master’s degree would not have been possible without the support and guidance of several individuals. I would first like to express my thanks to my parents, Delbert and Shirleen Maass, for their continued love, encouragement, and support. Special thanks go to my committee members, Drs. Carolyn Wilken (chair), Jerry Culen, Joy Jordan, and Nick Place. I thank them all for their guidance throughout this learning process. Extra special thanks go to Dr. Wilken for setting deadlines, dedicating countless hours to reading my many drafts, and the numerous words of encouragement. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Katie Walker for taking time to read and guide the development of some chapters. I thank the Oklahoma 4-H State Staff, Drs. Lynda Harriman and Charles Cox, for their financial support for the postage for this research project, and to the 232 Oklahoma 4-H Alumni who responded to this research study, thank you for your participation. I would also like to thank those who helped with the mailings for this research study: Amy, Audrey, Sarah, and Steve. Without their help, it would have taken many more hours to complete the mailings. I thank my fellow graduate students, for all of the memories from the past year and a half. I thank them for also for being there with words of encouragement and support through classes and this research process. iv

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Finally, a thank you goes to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without him, none of this would have been possible. v

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.......................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.................................................................................................ix LIST OF FIGURES...............................................................................................xi ABSTRACT.........................................................................................................xii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................1 Purpose..........................................................................................................2 Research Questions, Hypotheses and Variables...........................................3 Research Questions................................................................................3 Hypotheses..............................................................................................4 Variables..................................................................................................4 Assumptions and Limitations.........................................................................5 Key Terms Defined........................................................................................5 The Organizational Framework Surrounding and Supporting 4-H.................7 Land Grant Universities...........................................................................8 The United States Department of Agriculture..........................................9 Cooperative Extension Service..............................................................10 The 4-H Organization............................................................................14 4-H Program and Projects.....................................................................14 The Oklahoma 4-H Program........................................................................15 2 LITERATURE REVIEW................................................................................19 Adolescent Development.............................................................................19 Life Skill Model.............................................................................................22 Transfer of Learning Theory.........................................................................24 Research Studies Regarding the Transfer of Life Skills...............................30 Life Skills Studied or Assessed in 4-H...................................................30 4-H Tenure and Participation Experiences and Life Skill Development......................................................................................33 Other Program Aspects of 4-H Related to Life Skill Development.........35 4-H Eligibility..........................................................................................36 4-H Compared with Other Youth Organizations....................................37 vi

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Other Findings.......................................................................................39 Community Involvement as an Adult.....................................................42 Research Studies of Other Youth Organizations and Life Skill Development............................................................................................42 3 METHODOLOGY.........................................................................................46 Subjects/Participants....................................................................................46 The Instrument.............................................................................................49 Section 1: 4-H Experiences..................................................................50 Section 2: Aspects of 4-H.....................................................................50 Section 3: 4-H Eligibility........................................................................51 Section 4: Other Youth Organizations..................................................51 Section 5: Life Skill Development.........................................................51 Section 6: Community Involvement as an Adult...................................52 Section 7: Demographics......................................................................52 Expert Panel................................................................................................52 Layout of Questionnaire...............................................................................53 Procedures...................................................................................................53 4 DATA ANALYSIS.........................................................................................56 Purpose of Research...................................................................................56 Summary of Responses...............................................................................57 Participation and 4-H Experiences...............................................................58 4-H Tenure............................................................................................58 Types of Clubs.......................................................................................59 4-H Offices Held....................................................................................59 4-H Experiences at Various Participation Levels...................................60 Collegiate 4-H........................................................................................61 Other Program Aspects of 4-H.....................................................................61 Influencing Adult Life.............................................................................61 Opportunities to Grow............................................................................62 4-H and the Influence of Future Decisions.............................................63 Eligibility.......................................................................................................64 Involvement in Other Youth Organizations as Youth....................................67 Community Involvement as Adults...............................................................68 4-H Volunteers.......................................................................................68 Other Community Volunteerism.............................................................69 Life Skill Development..................................................................................70 Research Questions and Hypotheses..........................................................73 Qualitative Analysis......................................................................................75 Quantitative Analysis....................................................................................79 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS.......................91 Purpose, Guiding Research Questions, and Hypotheses............................91 vii

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Conclusions and Recommendations............................................................92 Tenure and Participation Influence the Development of Life Skills........93 Aspects and Opportunities of the Oklahoma 4-H Program Influence the Development of Life Skills..................................................................95 Cohort Effect and Life Skill Development of Long-Term 4-H Members.97 Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program and the Difference Made.........99 Predicting Life Skill Inventory Scores: The Impact of Personal Factors and Aspects of the 4-H Program......................................................101 Alum Attribute Life Skill Development more to 4-H than Other Youth Organizations...................................................................................103 Summary of Research Findings.................................................................107 Recommendations for the Oklahoma 4-H Program...................................108 Recommendations for Further Research...................................................111 Evaluation of this Research Study.............................................................112 Oklahoma 4-H Alumni Comments..............................................................112 APPENDIX A LIFE SKILL DEFINITIONS.........................................................................114 B OKLAHOMA 4-H ALUMNI STUDY 2003 QUESTIONNAIRE.....................118 C IRB APPROVAL LETTER..........................................................................130 D INITIAL POSTCARD..................................................................................131 E COVER LETTERS.....................................................................................132 F THANK YOU AND REMINDER POSTCARD.............................................135 LIST OF REFERENCES..................................................................................136 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...............................................................................142 viii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Sociodemographic Characteristics of Sample............................................58 4-2 4-H Tenure: Number of Years the Sample Participated in 4-H (n = 219)..59 4-3 Key Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program that the Sample Reported Influencing Everyday Lives........................................................................62 4-4 Opportunities to Grow Offered through the Oklahoma 4-H Program (n = 220)............................................................................................................63 4-5 The Oklahoma 4-H Program and the Influence on Future Decisions of 4-H Members as They Exit the Program...........................................................64 4-6 4-H Eligibility and Why Individuals Left the Program Before Becoming Ineligible.....................................................................................................65 4-7 Respondent’s Children and the 4-H Program: Members of 4-H, Why or Why Not.....................................................................................................66 4-8 Respondent’s Participation in Other Youth Organizations* (n = 223)........67 4-9 Respondent’s Community Involvement Excluding the 4-H Program (n = 223)....................................................................................................69 4-10 Development of Life Skills Taught by the 4-H Program (n = 223)..............71 4-11 Development of Life Skills Taught by Other Youth Organizations (n = 223)....................................................................................................72 4-12 Bivariate Correlation Matrix: Life Skills Inventory and Individual Factors (n = 223)....................................................................................................73 4-13 Bivariate Correlation Matrix: Life Skills Inventory, Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program, and Opportunities to Grow...................................................76 4-14 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Total Sample (n = 223)..............................................................................82 ix

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4-15 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Male (n = 223)............................................................................................83 4-16 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Female (n = 223).......................................................................................84 4-17 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 1 (n = 82)........................................................................................85 4-18 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 2 (n = 80)........................................................................................86 4-19 Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 3 (n = 61)........................................................................................87 4-20 Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Adult 4-H Volunteer..................89 4-21 Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Education Level........................90 4-22 Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Ethnicity....................................90 x

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Organizational Chart..................................................................................10 2.1 Targeting Life Skills Model by P.A. Hendricks from Iowa State University...................................................................................................24 xi

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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 A STUDY OF LIFE SKILL DEVELOPMENT OF OKLAHOMA 4-H ALUMNI DURING THE YEARS OF 4-H PARTICIPATION 1969 – 1998 By Sarah Elizabeth Maass May, 2004 Chair: Carolyn S. Wilken Major Department: Family, Youth and Community Sciences Four-H, “a dynamic, non-formal, educational program for today’s young people,” offers a unique educational setting where youth can develop life skills and “reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.” Four-H programs are designed to help youth learn life skills in a way that is developmentally appropriate as well as interesting and fun. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life-skill competencies known to assist individuals with living a productive and rewarding life. The Targeting Life Skills Model depicts areas in which 4-H strives to teach the life skills needed for adolescents as they grow into adulthood. This research study used this model and the Transfer of Learning Theory to guide the development of this research study. xii

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The sample for this study was Oklahoma 4-H Alumni who participated in the Oklahoma 4-H program from 1969 through 1998 and had participated in one or more of the following 4-H related experiences: National 4-H Congress; National 4-H Conference; Oklahoma 4-H Key Club; State officer; District officer; State 4-H ambassador; State Hall of Fame winner; State project winner; and State scholarship winner. The questionnaire for this study included seven sections: 4-H Experiences; Aspects of 4-H; 4-H Eligibility; Other Youth Organizations; Life Skill Development; Community Involvement as Adults; and Demographics. The study found that the aspects of 4-H most influential in the Oklahoma 4-H program were 4-H trips; 4-H club meetings; and adult 4-H volunteers/leaders. Being included in making important decisions and being given the freedom to develop and use one’s own skills were the most important opportunities identified by the respondents in this study. Seven variables combined to predict 62.7% of the variance in the Life Skill Inventory Scores: freedom to develop and use own skills; adult 4-H volunteers/leaders; 4-H trips; Other Youth Organization Life Skills; included in making important decisions; and 4-H club meetings. Four-H alumni in the sample were more likely to credit the 4-H program with their life skill development than to other youth organizations in which thy participated. xiii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Four-H, “a dynamic, non-formal, educational program for today’s young people” (National 4-H Council, 2000A, 1), offers a unique educational setting where youth can develop life skills and “reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults” (National 4-H Council, 2000B, 2). Four-H programs are designed to help youth learn life skills in a way that is developmentally appropriate as well as interesting and fun. This is particularly important for young people who may not learn these skills at home or at school. Most people recognize the 4-H clover as the emblem of 4-H. The bright green clover with a white ‘H’ on each leaf represents the traditional areas of youth development addressed by 4-H. The 4-H pledge “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 community, my country, and my world” (United States Department of Agriculture – National 4-H Headquarters, 2003, 3) guides 4-Hers of all ages. While 4-H began as project clubs devoted to teaching agricultural and homemaking skills, the program has evolved into an organization that teaches the life skills young people need to succeed in the modern world. Van Horn, Flanagan and Thomas (1998) place the traditional Head, Heart, Hands and Health areas into a more modern context of “intellectual experiences” (Head), 1

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2 “compassion and caring about the community” (Heart), “learning and applying new skills” (Hands); and “living a healthy lifestyle” (Health) ( 3). As youth progress through the 4-H programs, often for as long as ten years, they have numerous opportunities to develop increasingly complex life skills as well as develop practical skills through project clubs. These experiences provide 4-H’ers with opportunities to acquire the competencies in life skills that will be critical to their success throughout their lives. Purpose The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life-skill competencies known to assist individuals with living a productive and rewarding life. Specific life skills targeted in this research include critical thinking, goal setting, communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, problem solving, decision-making and community service (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002B). This study involves respondents from Oklahoma who participated in the 4-H program from 1969 through 1998. The respondents for this study participated in the Oklahoma 4-H program at the highest levels (state and national) and include former State 4-H Officers, State 4-H Scholarship winners and National 4-H Congress attendees. While anecdotal reports support the belief that 4-H programs represent the gold standard in youth development, there is a dearth of peer-reviewed, published empirical research on 4-H programs in the scientific literature. Research to assess the impact of 4-H participation is critically needed to evaluate existing programs, to support on-going program development, and for program

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3 accountability to stakeholders and funders. Professionals and parents alike must be able to trust that the 4-H programs are built on research and theory and that the programs are continually tested against accepted models. Research Questions, Hypotheses and Variables The research questions and hypotheses addressed in this study are listed below. The variables that were used in this study are described below as dependent and independent variables. The independent variables are related to the respondent as well as the Oklahoma 4-H Program. Research Questions Research Question 1: Is there a relationship between tenure of 4-H participation and the development of life skills? Research Question 2: Is there a relationship between level of participation in 4-H programs and the development of life skills? Research Question 3: What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are correlated with development of higher life skill scores? Research Question 4: What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are perceived to have made a difference in the lives of its alumni? Research Question 5: How do 4-H alumni compare 4-H with other youth organizations in contributing to the development of life skills? Research Question 6: What cohort effect is seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members?

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4 Hypotheses Null Hypothesis 1: No relationship exists between life skill scores and 4-H tenure. Null Hypothesis 2: No relationship exists between life skill scores and level of 4-H participation. Null Hypothesis 3: No cohort effects are seen in the development of life skills among long-term Oklahoma 4-H members. Alternate Hypothesis 1: Life skill scores are positively related to length of 4-H tenure. Alternate Hypothesis 2: Life skill scores are positively related to levels of 4-H participation. Alternate Hypothesis 3: Persons whose 4-H experiences reflect higher levels of participation will attribute their life skill development to 4-H more than other youth organizations. Variables The dependent variable in this study is Life Skills Inventory Score. The independent variables related to the respondent include: number of years as a 4-H member participation level in 4-H programs (local, county, district, state, national) participation in other youth organizations cohort age gender

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5 Independent variables related to the Oklahoma 4-H program include: leadership opportunities provided to members programmatic experiences of 4-H adult leaders and mentors Assumptions and Limitations An assumption and a limitation to this study is the expectation that long-term 4-H members will feel high positive regard for the 4-H program. There may also be unforeseen internal validity problems with the instrument because the research is based upon participant recall; they may misattribute their life skill development to 4-H giving 4-H credit for life skills they may have learned at home, from school, athletics, church, or other youth development organizations. The use of a convenience sample is a limitation of this study, preventing generalizability of the results beyond the study population, Oklahoma 4-H alumni participating in 4-H between 1969 and 1998. Key Terms Defined Adolescence – “a period of the life course between the time puberty begins and the time adult status is approached, when young people are in the process of preparing to take on the roles and responsibilities of adulthood in their culture” (Arnett, 2001, p. 441). Cohorts – a group of people born during the same period of time who share common historical, societal and cultural experiences. Three cohorts are represented in this study: Cohort 1 – ages 21 to 33 participating in 4-H during 1989 through 1998; Cohort 2 – ages 34 to 43 participating in 4-H during 1979 through 1988;

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6 Cohort 3 – ages 44 to 53 participating in 4-H during 1969 through 1978. Collegiate 4-H – 4-H program conducted at the college level. Experiences – 4-H program activities and awards (i.e., delegate to National 4-H Congress, Oklahoma 4-H Key Club member, Oklahoma 4-H Hall of Fame winner, served as a state officer, district officer or state 4-H ambassador, state hall of fame winner, state project winner and state scholarship winner). 4-H Alumni – a former member of the 4-H organization. Level of Participation – a formula measuring participation in 4-H based upon the number and level (local, county, district, state, and national) of experiences. Life Skills – learned competencies known to assist individuals with leading a constructive and rewarding life. Life Skills Inventory Score– a collection of life skills identified as outcomes of 4-H program participation. The specific life skills included in the Life Skill Inventory as reported in Hendricks (1998) are defined in Appendix A. These individual scores are added together to make this score. Local 4-H Clubs – “a group of young people and adults who meet regularly for fun and learning. Clubs are usually made up of families from a community and often forme [sic] around schools, churches or community centers” (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.B 1). Project 4-H Clubs – similar to local 4-H clubs, with specific project area focus (e.g., horses, food science).

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7 Projects/project area – an area of concentration that will allow the 4-H’er to grow in applied skill development. Projects can range from animal science, food science, clothing and textiles, child-care, leadership and citizenship and increase in difficulty and complexity with each year. The Organizational Framework Surrounding and Supporting 4-H A contextual description of land grant universities, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Cooperative Extension, 4-H programs, youth development programs and Oklahoma 4-H is presented in this chapter to ‘set-the-stage’ for the research project and to acquaint readers with the organizational framework – historical and current – that surrounds and supports 4-H. In the 1860’s, 48% of the American people were farmers (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.C). As the population of the country grew, it was evident that agricultural production must increase accordingly. Yet American farmers were using the tools and techniques of their forefathers. Farmers needed agricultural education. The most effective way to increase production was to educate farmers in the latest research-based findings developed at the university, but farmers were generally unable to leave their farms to attend the university. It was known that the nation needed universities to educate the “common man” in two areas: agriculture and the mechanical arts. Justin Morril, a representative from Vermont, introduced a bill to help make all of this possible (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). The first time this bill was introduced, it was vetoed by President Buchanan. Three years later, Morril introduced a similar bill to the one that was vetoed. The Morril Act was signed by President Lincoln in 1862.

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8 Land Grant Universities Land grant universities were created in 1862 with the enactment of the Morrill Act. The Morrill Act granted each state “thirty thousand acres of land for each senator and representative in Congress” for the express purpose of creating institutions of higher learning for the common man (Morrill Act, 1862, p. 503). The Morrill Act was “An Act donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts” (p. 503). States and territories could sell the land, but required that the proceeds be “invested in stocks of the United States, or of the States, or some other safe stocks, yielding not less than five per centum upon the par value of the said stocks” (p. 504). The act stated that the interests of these colleges that were to be formed shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such a manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life. (Morrill Act, 1862, p. 504) These colleges formed as a result of the Morrill Act came to be called Land-grant universities. Oklahoma State University, University of Florida, Purdue University, Auburn University, and Pennsylvania State University are examples of land grant universities.

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9 The United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was established in 1860 to respond to the burgeoning agricultural information, food safety, and marketing needs of American farmers and the American public. The mission of the United States Department of Agriculture today is to: Enhance the quality of life for the American people by supporting production of agriculture: ensuring a safe, affordable, nutritious, and accessible food supply caring for agricultural, forest, and range lands supporting sound development of rural communities providing economic opportunities for farm and rural residents expanding global markets for agricultural and forest products and services and working to reduce hunger in America and throughout the world. (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.B, 1) The USDA mission is followed by a vision statement which says that, “A healthy and productive Nation in harmony with the land” (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.B, 2). In addition to helping American ranchers and farmers, the USDA provides a service to the general public. For example, the USDA is the governmental agency that is in charge of assuring that poultry, egg and meat products are safe for consumers (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.C). The USDA also supports rural development. Ensuring the safety of the drinking water and bringing more modern ways to communicate are a few ways that the USDA helps to improve the lives of rural Americans. The USDA includes a number of agencies that help support the USDA mission. These agencies include farm and foreign agricultural services; food, nutrition and consumer services; food safety; marketing and regulatory programs;

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10 natural resources and environment; rural development; and research; education and economics (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.A). Many changes have occurred in this organization throughout the years that has helped develop these agencies. The research, education and economics area of USDA is administrated through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and the 4-H program are administered by CSREES. Figure 1-1. Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Organizational Chart (USDA, n.d.D). Cooperative Extension Service The purpose of the Cooperative Extension Service “to take the university to the people” was made possible with the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 which established the Cooperative Extension System in association with land-grant

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11 universities. Technology transfer or taking the university to the people became the responsibility of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES). Colleges in land-grant universities typically focus on agriculture, natural resources, rural community development and family and consumer sciences. The 4-H youth development program is part of the Cooperative Extension Service. The mission of the Cooperative Extension Service is “to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well being, and communities” (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, 2003, 2). It is the responsibility of the Cooperative Extension Service to identify, develop, and manage “programs to support university-based and other institutional research, education, and extension” and to provide a “fair, effective, and efficient administration of Federal assistance implementing research, education, and extension awards and agreements” (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, 2003, 3-4). 4-H History In 1901, Albert B. Graham, the superintendent of schools for Springfield Township, Ohio, met with teachers and students about forming “experimental clubs” that would be held outside of regular school hours (Wessel & Wessel, 1982). In 1902, on Saturday mornings, the first club meetings were held in the basement of a county building. Graham picked Saturday mornings because that was the time that families came to town to do their shopping. Since these meetings would keep the children occupied and out of trouble, the parents approved (1982). The first projects for this club concentrated on items that the children could clearly understand and would be successful in completing.

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12 Graham asked the children to go home and to test the soil in the cornfields with litmus paper. He also asked them to “select the best seed corn from their father’s crop for future planting in test plots” (1982, p. 4). The 4-H movement was started with corn clubs. Soon gardening, knot tying, rope splicing, and science projects were added to the project areas (1982). Eight years later, in 1910, tomato clubs for girls started to bloom across the nation. These clubs were known as the girls -H” clubs. The tomato club projects covered the numerous skills that women needed to help run a household. Projects included sewing, baking, and canning (Wessel & Wessel, 1982). “Girls’ clubs worked to help young women develop self-confidence and a sense of community responsibility, an idea later incorporated into all the club work” (1982, p. 14). The original charter of the 4-H organization stated that the National Committee on Boys’ and Girls’ Club work was dedicated to giving rural boys and girls an opportunity to develop themselves educationally, economically, morally, and socially, through clubs demonstrating all phases of agriculture and home economics; to publish bulletins and magazines, to furnish news service to the press; to conduct public demonstrations; to organize Junior Club Work Departments at fairs and expositions; to solicit prizes, such as educational trips, medals, and scholarships; to provide funds for appropriations for leadership in clubs throughout the country. (Wessel & Wessel, 1982, p. 39) Awards were first given during the charter year for tomato clubs. The first college scholarship was given in 1910 to a tomato club member (Wessel & Wessel, 1982). The state legislature of South Carolina awarded this college scholarship based on a young girls’ achievement with canning during a three-day

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13 “canning bee.” This 14 year-old girl had canned 512 cans of tomatoes that she had grown herself. Through continued participation, 4-H members developed decision-making skills and other skills. Each year the projects became more challenging requiring more developed skills and higher levels of cognition. Continued success led members to become more self-directed and motivated. Completing a project in a 4-H club was not an easy matter. A young person engaged in a 4-H project was a year of work and training. Some projects were divided into phases where completion in one year led to a second phase of increased difficulty. In at least one project, completion of the entire range of training took four years. (Wessel & Wessel, 1982, p. 84) During the early 4-H movement, one 4-H member from Oklahoma, Floydia May Colbert, made bread making her 4-H project (Wessel & Wessel, 1982). While she was a member of 4-H she had served 362 breakfasts with hot breads, 10 company dinners, 271 other dinners, and 82 suppers. Colbert said “The crowning joy of my work, though, was the trip to the State Round-Up, the honor of placing first in bread making, and the privilege of meeting and mingling with other 4-H club members and their leaders from all over the state” (1982, p. 85-86). During the early 4-H club movement, trips to Washington D.C. were awarded to the members of the corn clubs who won awards on the state level for achieving the best corn yield (Wessel & Wessel, 1982). In 1919, the National 4-H Congress began with a delegation of 40 young men and women. The following year, a delegation of 475 young men and women went to Chicago as state contest winners from states all over the United States (1982). 4-Hers still gather each year at National 4-H Congress.

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14 The 4-H Organization The 4-H youth development mission states, -H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults” (National 4-H Council, 2000B, 2). The 4-H organization accomplishes its mission by offering more than 110 program/project areas (National 4-H Council, 2000A) including food sciences, animal science, leadership and community service. Four-H has a multi-tiered (local, state and national) organizational structure. The federal program with USDA CSREES, state 4-H offices at the land-grant universities and county offices and local programs are entities that work cooperatively to bring high quality youth development to the American public. Van Horn, Flanagan and Thomson (1998) described the purpose of county and local 4-H programs as follows: “provide youth with opportunities to learn about forming organizations and decision-making groups, skills that prepare them for adult roles in leadership and decision making” ( 5). Local and county 4-H programs are instituted by Cooperative Extension Agents, also called Educators, who are dually employed by the county and land-grant university, with the support and assistance of adult volunteers. 4-H Program and Projects The 4-H program teaches applied skills and life skill development through a myriad of program and project areas. Applied skills are gained through experiential learning where youth are cognitively challenged to acquire increasingly complex skills within a chosen area of interest. “Many projects have been designed so 4-H’ers can build and enhance their skills over several years”

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15 (Van Horn, Flanagan, & Thomson, 1998, 4). For example, the food science project allows members to start off simply by learning how to make cookies and brownies. By the final year in the food science project, members have learned how to make cakes, fast breads and yeast breads. The longer the member has been in a particular project area, the more advanced skills he/she needs to accomplish the projects each year. Through these project experiences, 4-H members acquire life skills in areas such as decision-making, communication, record keeping and leadership. Four-H members often take on increasingly responsible leadership through local, county, district and state level opportunities. The Oklahoma 4-H Program Oklahoma, an Indian territory, became the 46th state in the United States on November 16, 1907 (Oklahoma’s History, n.d.). Only two years later, the first corn club in Oklahoma was established in Tishomingo, OK (Oklahoma 4-H Ambassadors Handbook, 1997). Almost 90 years later, there were more than 147,000 4-H members in 5,918 clubs in Oklahoma (1997). 4-H is one of the few youth programs in Oklahoma that appeals to both rural and urban youth. Project areas are wide ranging and include applied skill development in topics as diverse as pets, rocketry, livestock production, clothing and textiles, food science, gardening and horticulture, and life skill development programs in leadership, community building, and critical thinking. Within each area, participants complete increasingly complex projects which are defined as an in-depth look at a particular area using experiential learning (The National 4-H Web, n.d.).

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16 Oklahoma 4-H Programs and Projects The Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program focuses on five areas: Leadership, Health and Wellness, Sciences and Technology, Family Strengths, and Natural Resources and Environmental Education (Oklahoma 4-H Ambassadors Handbook, 1997). Members in Oklahoma can choose from 68 projects within these five areas. Animal science is the most popular project area with more than 65,000 members enrolled in this project annually; while the enrollment in natural sciences projects exceeds 35,000. Natural sciences includes but is not limited to environmental education projects such as wildlife, conservation, and forestry (1997). Four-H members range in age from five to 21 years, depending on the state where that member resides (The National 4-H Web, n.d.). In Oklahoma, children can join a 4-H club at the age of 9 and be a member until the age of nineteen (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.A). Children who fall between the ages of 5 and 8 may also become a member of Oklahoma 4-H, as “cloverbuds” but may not participate in competitive events (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.C). Oklahoma Awards and Recognition Program In the late 1980s when funding ended and national 4-H scholarships were no longer funded; Oklahoma continued to award state scholarships based on competitive project areas and general scholarships that recognized leadership and life skills. According to Sheila Forbes, retired State 4-H Specialist, the biggest challenge the scholarship committee faced was “getting everyone to look at a broader aspect of the 4-H program” (S. Forbes, personal communication, May 13, 2003). It was at this time when the term “recognition” was added to the

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17 awards program to make it the “awards and recognition” program. The Oklahoma CES faculty wanted to minimize the project competition aspect of 4-H and emphasize the life skills learned through years of active 4-H participation. “Broadening out the program . . . includes other things than peer competition” was one of the goals of the new awards and recognition program (S. Forbes, personal communication, May 13, 2003). When asked to identify the life skills she thought were learned through the awards and recognition process, Forbes listed these skills: record keeping, organizational skills, communication skills, public speaking skills, interview skills, how to put together a rsum, being able to deal with disappointment, and decision making. In 1993, the Oklahoma State 4-H Ambassador Program was started for senior 4-H members to have a leadership role where they could tell the 4-H story (M.S. Sanders, personal communication, May 14, 2003). The Ambassador program, coupled with the change in the scholarship recognition framework reflected a national trend away from project competition. Four-H programs, as well as other national youth development programs, were beginning to focus on the development of a broad range of life skills. In this study, the researcher surveyed 4-H alumni who were active as 4-H members in the Oklahoma 4-H program to determine the relationship between their 4-H experience and the development of life skills. Chapter 2 presents a review of the literature related to adolescent growth and development, transfer of learning theory, and previous research relevant to youth development programming and life skill development. Chapter 3 describes the methodology

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18 used in the project, specifically the sample, instrumentation and procedures. The results of the study are presented in Chapter 4, followed by a discussion of the results and recommendations in Chapter 5.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter summarizes the theoretical and research literature that supports this study. Because the focus of this study is on the relationship between 4-H participation and the development of fundamental life skills, this review begins with a summary of the most recognized theories of adolescent development, focusing specifically on cognitive development as described by Piaget (1972) and Erikson’s (1968) theory of psychosocial development particularly as related to adolescence. The Targeting Life Skills Model (Hendricks, 1998) is used to direct 4-H programming and is described in detail to further lay the groundwork for the study. The final section of this theoretical review focuses on Haskell’s (2001) transfer of learning theory which will support the hypotheses that learning which occurs in 4-H projects and programs is transferred to the life skills required for adulthood. The review of scientific research describes life skill development studies in both 4-H and other youth organizations. This study integrates theory and research from a variety of fields focusing on assessing the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life skill competencies. Adolescent Development Piaget (1972) proposed that cognitive development occurs in four stages: sensorimotor (birth to two years of age), preoperational (two to six years of age), concrete operational (seven to ten years of age), and formal operational (eleven 19

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20 to fifteen years of age). Children experience the concrete operational stage when they begin to think logically and begin to perform tasks. As 4-H leader’s work with new and younger 4-H members, these members begin to develop concrete skills such as: baking cookies, sewing an apron, and taking care of livestock animals. According to Piaget (1972) this stage “marks a decisive turning point in the development of conceptual tools” in an individual’s life (p. 34). As they mature, adolescents enter the formal operational stage. At this stage, the adolescent begins to think more logically and abstractly. This is when a child is considered to have moved beyond concrete experiences and is capable of thinking hypothetically and being able to reason through problems presented to them (Piaget, 1972). Older 4-H members demonstrate this stage as they begin to take on the leadership role and start to lead workshops and teach younger 4-H’ers. Erikson (1968) identified eight stages of psychosocial development experienced by individuals across the life cycle beginning in infancy and ending in later life. Erickson (1968) hypothesized that at each stage of development, the individual faces a conflict between basic tasks of development: trust vs. mistrust; autonomy vs. shame and doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority; identity vs. identity confusion; intimacy vs. isolation; generativity vs. stagnation; and integrity vs. despair. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, each stage identified by Erikson must be achieved before moving on to the next stage. Erikson’s stages include inner and outer conflicts where personality is tested. He proposes that individuals will come out of “each crisis with an increased sense of inner

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21 unity,” better judgment is increased, and there is also an increase in wanting to do better according to each individual’s own standards as well as those who are significant to the individual (p 92). The 4-H program provides youth many opportunities and experiences in which to achieve performance standards important to them and their adult leaders who work with them. Industry vs. Inferiority – Industry versus inferiority is seen when a child is trying to master important social and academic skills. In this stage, children start “to share in constructing and planning, instead of trying to coerce other children or provoke restriction” (Erikson, 1968, p. 122). During this stage, children start to observe and imitate individuals who are in a career field that interests them. Children also attach themselves to adults they know, such as their teachers and their friends’ parents. Erikson (1968) defines industry when children “become dissatisfied and disgruntled without a sense of being able to make things and make them well and even perfectly” (p. 123). If industry is not achieved, then a child may yearn to be with his/her mother more than wanting to go to school to be with friends and learn. This is what Erikson defines as inferiority. Four-H projects, as described earlier, provide youth many opportunities to develop industry. This leads to a better mastery of social and academic skills. Identity vs. Role Confusion – In this stage there is “an important need for trust in oneself and in others, then clearly the adolescent looks most fervently for men and ideas to have faith in, which also means men and ideas in whose service it would seem worth while to prove oneself trustworthy” (Erikson, 1968, p.

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22 128-129). If the child does not achieve identity, then the child may be confused about the role he or she is to play as an adult. Identity versus role confusion occurs when a child attempts to establish basic social and occupational identities. Older 4-H members, in adolescence, seek to clarify their roles in life and develop a unique sense of identity through participation in club activities and by taking on increasingly responsible leadership roles. Life Skill Model The Targeting Life Skills Model depict areas in which 4-H strives to teach the life skills needed for adolescents as they grow into adulthood. The Targeting Life Skills (TLS) Model was developed by P.A. Hendricks at Iowa State University (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002B). Targeting Life Skills Model Hendricks defined life skills as, “abilities individuals can learn that will help them to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life” (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002A; Hendricks, 1998). The Targeting Life Skills Model consists of eight categories with 35 life skills subcategories. The eight categories are classified under the four H’s: the head, the heart, the hands, and health (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002A), which form the foundation of the 4-H model. Managing and thinking falls under the “head.” Managing includes the following life skills: resiliency, keeping records, wise use of resources, planning/organizing, and goal setting while thinking includes these life skills: service learning, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and learning to learn. The “heart” includes relating and caring, incorporating the following life skills: nurturing relationships, sharing, empathy, concern for others, accepting

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23 differences, conflict resolution, social skills, cooperation, and communication. “Hands” include giving and working. Giving consists of community service volunteering, leadership, responsible citizenship, and contributions to group effort. Working includes marketable skills, teamwork, and self-motivation. Living and being falls under “health.” Self-esteem, self-responsibility, character, managing feelings, self-discipline, healthy lifestyle choices, stress management, disease prevention, and personal safety are the life skills that are included under “health.” A total of 35 life skills are addressed using these categories and subcategories. Figure 1 shows the relationship between specific life skills and the four H’s of the 4-H foundation. According to Hendricks (1998), “the purpose of the TLS Model is to provide a way to simplify coordination of life skill development with ages and stages tasks so programs will be developmentally appropriate and more effective in achieving identified outcomes” (p. 4). Hendricks mapped out four age stages (ages 5-8; ages 9-11; ages 12-14; and ages 15-19) for individual life skills in the model. Under each life skill and age stage, she identifies what a child should be able to do in relation to the life skill according to his/her age. Hendricks (1998) writes, “the TLS Model has the potential to greatly improve the possibility of achieving measurable program success in youth development” (p. 4).

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24 Figure 2.1. Targeting Life Skills Model by P.A. Hendricks from Iowa State University Transfer of Learning Theory When using past learning experiences with the application of a new aspect of that learning, transfer of learning is taking place. This theory “is the very foundation of learning, thinking, and problem solving” (Haskell, 2001, p. xiii). “Transfer of learning underlies the ability to think, reason, plan, and to make good decisions” (p. xiv). This underlies the 4-H foundation of experiential learning. “The aim of all education . . . is to apply what we learn in different contexts, and to recognize and extend that learning to completely new situations” (Haskell,

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25 2001, p. 3). In college, for example, it is important for students to apply what they have learned in one class to another. More specifically, if a student has to take Calculus I and II for his/her degree, they should be able to apply what they have learned in Calculus I to Calculus II. Haskell (2001) states that the number of professors concerned about the transfer of learning are increasing. These professors say that “they have to teach students to read and write” before they can teach their subject matter (p. 4). Haskell (2001) claims that the transfer of learning theory has a double paradox. The first paradox looks at the importance of this transfer and states that “although transfer has been almost universally recognized as fundamental to all learning and must therefore occur all of the time, the history of research findings on transfer suggest it seldom occurs in instructional settings” (p. 9). In most situations, transfer occurs each and every day. “General transfer from instructional settings and ‘significant’ transfer in everyday settings, as well as transfer leading to invention and discovery, seldom seem to occur” (p. 10). The second paradox states that it is not only important to look at the importance of this theory, but to look at the failure to transfer. Transfer refers to how previous learning influences current and future learning, and how past or current learning is applied or adapted to similar or novel situations. Transfer, then, isn’t so much an instructional and learning technique as a way of thinking, perceiving, and processing information. Therefore it’s fundamental to all learning. Without it we couldn’t engage in our everyday thinking and reasoning nor even acquire the most basic of motor skills; transfer is responsible for the simplest of ideas and for the highest achievements of humankind (Haskell, 2001, p. 23).

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26 Individuals are more skilled at transfer when they use creativity, efficient thinking and performance (Haskell, 2001). “Transfer involves the use of figurative language with analogies and metaphors” (p. 24). According to Haskell (2001), “all learning is transfer of learning” (p. 24). Almost all learning requires a carry over of things learned from a previous situation to a new or current situation. Transfer, the seeing of similarities, creates categories and concepts for us, and it is responsible for our creating generic or general structures of thinking. Thus the concept of transfer of learning, although simple, is crucial to all learning from the lowest level of skill to the highest reaches of theoretical thinking (p. 25). If an individual does not have enough information or knowledge to base a decision, or when an individual does not use common sense, logic or reason, negative transfer can take place (Haskell, 2001). “These inappropriate transfers are the consequence of not possessing sufficient knowledge and theory of the phenomena we are attempting to transfer. Though not complex, transfer isn’t a simple matter” (pg. 26). Haskell (2001) writes that transfer involves a fundamental way of thinking and one way to explain transfer “is to repeat the same thing over and over, using different terms from different fields, in different contexts, on different levels of abstraction, and in different orders of magnitude” (p. 26). Haskell (2001) has identified six levels of transfer: Level 1 – Nonspecific Transfer: The connection to what has been learned in the past.

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27 Level 2 – Application Transfer: The ability to apply what has been learned in the past to a similar situation. Level 3 – Context Transfer: The ability to apply what has been learned in the past to “a slightly different situation” (p. 29). Level 4 – Near Transfer: The ability to transfer what has been learned in the past “to new situations that are closely similar but not identical to previous situations” (p. 29). Level 5 – Far Transfer: The ability to apply what has been learned in the past “to situations that are quite dissimilar to the original learning” (p. 30). Level 6 – Displacement or Creative Transfer: The ability to apply what has been learned in the past to be able to say “that is like this” (p. 30). Haskell (2001) states that one of the problems with this theory is that there is no way to define how similar or alike X is to Y. “There is no simple way to say if something is a case of near transfer or far transfer” (p. 30). Even though there may not be a simple way to decipher one level of transfer from another, the knowledge base of an individual “greatly influences whether something is considered near or far transfer” (p. 30). Haskell identifies levels one and two to be simple learning, level three to be “the application of learning,” level four to be where transfer is almost accomplished, and levels five and six are “far transfer” (p. 30). Haskell (2001) identified two categories that transfer can fall into: “(a) the type of knowledge that the transfer is based on and (b) the specific kinds of transfer” (p. 30). Conditional, declarative, procedural, strategic, and theoretical

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28 are all types of knowledge that fall into Haskell’s first category where the “second category is based on transfer itself” (p. 31). Below are the fourteen kinds of transfer identified by Haskell (2001): Content-to-content transfer – occurs when an individual uses what knowledge s/he have gained in one subject area to help them learn in another area. Procedural-to-procedural transfer – occurs when an individual uses the procedures that s/he have learned in one skill area and apply them to another skill area. Declarative-to-procedural transfer – occurs when an individual learns about something that will actually help that individual in doing something. Procedural-to-declarative transfer – occurs when an individual applies what practical experience they have in an area of interest that assists that individual to “learn more abstract knowledge of the area” (p. 31). Strategic transfer – occurs “when knowledge about our mental processes, such as how we learn or remember, is gained through monitoring our mental activities during learning” (p. 31). Conditional transfer – occurs “when knowledge concerning when to apply the knowledge learned in one context may be appropriate for transferring it to another context” (p. 31). Theoretical transfer – occurs when the individual has an understanding of the cause and effect relationship in one area of interest “that can be transferred to another” (p. 31).

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29 General or nonspecific transfer – occurs “when previous knowledge that is not specific to the training situation transfers to other situations even though no apparent similarities exist between the old and the new situations” (p. 31-32). Literal transfer – is when an individual uses the knowledge gained or a procedure learned and applies it to a new situation. Vertical transfer – occurs when an individual “refers to prior learning transferred to new learning that presupposes the prior learning” (p. 32). Lateral transfer – occurs when an individual draws from a previous learning experience and then transfers that knowledge on the same “level in a hierarchy” (p. 32). Reverse transfer – “occurs when existing (prior) knowledge is modified and re-viewed in terms of its similarities to the new information” (p. 32). Proportional transfer – “is a more abstract transfer” (p. 32). An individual being able to recognize a song played in one or more different octaves is an example of proportional transfer. Relational transfer – occurs when an individual can see “the same structure between two things” (p. 32). “Learning from history . . . is transfer of learning; it’s the very paradigm of transfer: past knowledge influencing present learning” (p. 33). The transfer of learning theory has 11 principles according to Haskell (2001). They are: Learners need to acquire a large primary knowledge base or high level of expertise in the area that transfer is required; Some level of knowledge base in subjects outside the primary area is necessary for significant transfer;

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30 An understanding of the history of the transfer area(s) is vital; Motivation, or more specifically, a “spirit of transfer,” is a primary prerequisite for transfer to occur; Learners need to understand what transfer of learning is and how it works; An orientation to think and encode our learning in transfer terms is necessary, for significant transfer doesn’t happen automatically; Cultures of transfer need to be created; An understanding of the theory underlying the transfer area is crucial; Hours of practice and drill are requisite; Significant transfer requires time to incubate; it tends not to occur instantaneously; and Learners must observe and read the works of people who are exemplars of transfer thinking (p. 45-46). This theory was chosen because of the “many projects have been designed so 4-H’ers can build and enhance their skills over several years” (Van Horn, Flanagan, & Thomson, 1998, 4). The 4-H program teaches applied skills and life skill development through a myriad of program and project areas. Applied skills are gained through experiential learning where youth are cognitively challenged to acquire increasingly complex skills within a chosen area of interest. Research Studies Regarding the Transfer of Life Skills The next sections review research studies, of 4-H or other youth organizations, related to life skill development. This review summarizes the relationships found between 4-H tenure, participation and experiences, other aspects of the 4-H program, community involvement as adults, and 4-H compared with other youth organizations and life skill development. Life Skills Studied or Assessed in 4-H Several studies during the last two decades have been conducted with current 4-H members or alumni that have measured or reported various types of

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31 skill development resulting from 4-H. In 1985 a national 4-H alumni study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture to help answer the question “who benefited, by how much, and what difference does it make that individuals participated in 4-H?” (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987, p. i). A similar 4-H alumni study in North Carolina was conducted in 1988 (Mustian, 1988). McKinley (1999A; 1999B) also researched the impact of the 4-H program, but he concentrated on how the 4-H program in Indiana was seen by Indiana 4-H alumni. Life skill development, personal growth, and career orientation were three areas that were identified to be influential according to Indiana alumni. This study was the first impact study done related to the Indiana 4-H program according to McKinley. The “items on the questionnaire were adapted from those included in the National 4-H Alumni Study” by Ladewig and Thomas (1987), (McKinley, 1999A, p. 28). McKinley said, “it was not possible to confidently state the degree to which 4-H lead to the development of the participants’ skills apart from their other experiences (e.g., family upbringing, formal schooling, and participation in other youth organizations)” (McKinley, 1999A, p. 31). Responsibility, self-esteem and self-confidence/worth, were some of the contributions that alumni considered important skills learned through 4-H (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999A; McKinley, 1999B). In the North Carolina 4-H Alumni Study, Mustian (1988) found that -H alumni felt that their 4-H experiences were more helpful in all situations except building cooperation” (p. 25). In addition to these skills, McKinley (1999A; 1999B) found the following

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32 life skills mentioned by the 4-H alumni as having an impact due to 4-H participation were: leadership, personal goal development, and the ability to relate to others. Influencing education and careers, enhancing family relations, and developing life skills were the three areas that the 4-H alumni reported receiving the “most impact from their 4-H participation” (McKinley, 1999B, p. 3). Cantrell, Heinsohn and Doebler (1989) completed an impact evaluation on teen programming in Pennsylvania. There were 55 life skills identified and these life skills formed 10 clusters determined by factor analysis. These 10 clusters were identified as: home economic skills, agriculture skills, leadership skills, personal development, social development, communication skills, citizenship development, value development, career development, and interpersonal skills. In a study of 4-H animal science alumni, Ward (1996) found that decision making, the ability to relate to others, public speaking, spirit of inquiry, ability to maintain records, self-esteem, and responsibility averaged a 4.0 response on a 5 point Likert-scale. A study conducted by Rodriguez, Hirschl, Mead, and Goggin (1999) found that the majority (over 63%) of 4-H agents felt the main goal of the 4-H clubs was to develop life skills. These researchers also found that more than 50% of 4-H members said that 4-H had helped them learn the following life skills: accepting people who are different, communicating ideas, feeling confident about myself, keeping records, leadership, making decisions, making healthy choices, nutrition and food safety, planning/organizing, resolving conflict, setting goals, solving problems, and working as a team.

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33 In 2001, the National 4-H Council sponsored a study titled Prepared and Engaged Youth: National 4-H Impact Assessment Project (2001) and they found that 90% of youth agreed that -H teaches me to help other people,” but they also felt that -H teaches me to be responsible for my actions” (p. 6). It was also found that over 88% of 4-H youth believe that they have the ability to try new or different things (Prepared and Engaged Youth: National 4-H Impact Assessment Project, 2001). Of the 4-H youth surveyed, 84% believed that the 4-H organization “can help them solve problems on their own” (p. 5). No research studies were found in cited literature at the time of this review using the Targeting Life Skills Model as defined by Hendricks (1998) that is used in most states currently. 4-H Tenure and Participation Experiences and Life Skill Development In most studies, tenure and various levels of experiences and participation were reported as contributing factors to either alumni or current members’ reports of life skill development. Cantrell, Heinsohn, and Doebler (1989) found that the development of life skills related positively to 4-H participation and the leadership positions that individuals held at the three different levels. A significant relationship was found between general participation in 4-H and the life skill development of these adolescents in the citizenship, leadership, and personal development areas. Those individuals who held leadership positions at the local level appeared to have higher levels of interpersonal skills than those individuals who did not hold leadership positions. Those 4-H members who held leadership positions beyond-the-club level increased life skill development. Those who participated in 4-H activities beyond-the-county level had a greater life skill

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34 development perception. -H activities and events are major factors in promoting life skill development” (Cantrell, Heinsohn & Doebler, 1989, 10). Morris (1997) found that holding office in 4-H was the highest ranked activity that 4-H’ers identified assisting in the development of leadership life skills. Seevers and Dormody (1994A, 1995) found in regards to participation rate in 4-H activities, participation in fairs, demonstrations, teaching younger members and community service projects were the highest ranked. Holding office, being a member of a committee, and livestock shows were also ranked relatively high in regards to participation (Seevers & Dormody, 1994A; 1995; Morris, 1997). Seevers & Dormody (1994A; 1995) also identified participating in workshops relating high in regards to participation and Morris (1997) found that teaching younger members, educational presentations, exhibiting projects at fairs, serving as a committee member, community service projects, and judging contests were ranked high with the development of leadership life skills. Those activities that older 4-H members in the Seevers and Dormody (1994A, 1995) tri-state study reported as contributors to developing their leadership life skills were “holding office, teaching younger members, fairs, livestock shows, judging contests, demonstrations, public speaking and community service” (p. 51; 8). There were over 100 older 4-H members who participated in at least ten leadership activities (Seevers & Dormody, 1994A; 1995). Seevers and Dormody (1994B) found a positive relationship with life skills development and youth

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35 leadership when looking at the participation of senior 4-H members in 4-H leadership activities. Richey (2000) “concluded that participation in 4-H promoted leadership life skills development” (p. 42). Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992) also reported that 4-H “participants’ level of leadership life skill development increased as their participation in 4-H activities increased” (). Other Program Aspects of 4-H Related to Life Skill Development Four-H alumni reported that the activities, clubs, and competitive events were more popular than other 4-H activities (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999B). It was also found that the 4-H volunteers, leaders (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999B; Mustian 1988) and other club members, added value to the 4-H program (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999B) and added to 4-H member’s leadership life skill development (Morris, 1997). In addition, McKinley (1999B) found when specifically looking at the Indiana 4-H program, these aspects of the program were reported by 4-H alumni as the most impact: 4-H projects and the awards and prizes received. It was also found that county extension staff added value to the 4-H program (Mustian, 1988) and encouraged the leadership life skill development in senior Iowa 4-H members (Morris, 1997). Four-H alumni were less satisfied in the opportunities for leadership development than in other youth organizations where they were a member (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987). The National 4-H Alumni Study revealed that those who were involved in some planning and decision-making experienced more responsibilities and challenges (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987, pg. iii). Four-H alumni in Indiana reported

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36 that they were not included in challenging tasks or making important decisions very frequently (McKinley, 1999B). -H gave alumni the opportunity to lead others, allowed them to make a contribution, gave them freedom to develop and use their skills, and involved them in planning club activities” (McKinley, 1999B, p. 3). In a tri-state study conducted by Seevers and Dormody (1994A; 1995), they found that in regard to the involvement of planning, implementing and evaluating, 88 percent of the senior 4-H members in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado said that they were involved in implementing, 70 percent were involved in the evaluation of activities and only 50 percent were involved in the planning of 4-H activities. A significant difference in life skill development existed between 4-H members who “implemented but did not plan the leadership activity” and those who ”planned but did not implement the activity” (Seevers & Dormody, 1994A, p. 51). Seevers and Dormody (1994A) used a descriptive survey to: measure participation of which 4-H leadership activities have made the greatest contribution to leadership life skills development, and participation in planning, implementing, and evaluating 4-H leadership activities perceived to have made the greatest contribution to leadership life skills development (p. 50). 4-H Eligibility Fifty-nine percent of the 4-H alumni in the National Alumni Study said that they had left the 4-H program due to their lack of interest in the 4-H program (Ladewig and Thomas, 1987). Fifty-three percent of those who participated in the study, that were 4-H alumni and who were also members in other youth organizations, reported several experiences in other youth organizations helped them more in developing their leadership skills and having more responsibility

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37 than the 4-H organization did. Despite these factors, there was added value to the 4-H program and other youth programs. All youth programs were rated high in regards to the opportunities that they gave the young people in developing skills, having the opportunity to contribute to the organization, and being able to develop communication and cooperation skills. “All wanted more leadership opportunities” (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987, p. iv). In addition, it was also found that more often than not, 4-H alumni were more involved than others in their particular organization. 4-H Compared with Other Youth Organizations There was no significant difference found by Ladewig and Thomas (1987) between those who were 4-H alumni and those who were members of other youth organizations when looking at the demographic variables. Those individuals who were members of other youth organizations were members for an average of 6 years, while those individuals in 4-H were only members for 4 years. When looking at the two groups, those who were members of other youth organizations and those who were members of 4-H, those surveyed said that being able to be in contact with others in the same organization was a good experience (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; Mustian, 1988). For both groups, “learning to work with others and developing a sense of responsibility” was a major addition to their personal development (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987, p. 53). Mustian (1988) found that both 4-H alumni and participants in other organizations rated “the opportunity to make a contribution and to develop skills” higher than leadership opportunities, planning activities, making decisions, and challenging tasks.

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38 In 2000, Richey (2000) conducted a survey of senior 4-H members (ages 13 to 19) of 10 randomly selected counties in a Texas district. In addition to the 4-H’ers, school children who were not in 4-H and who fell in the same age group were also surveyed. The responses of the survey were grouped into six skill scales: working with groups, understanding self, related to others, communicating, learning/sharing, and managing and making decisions. In all of these six skill scales, a higher frequency level of life skill development was achieved as self reported by those in the 4-H organization vs. those who were non 4-H members. Therefore, it is concluded that participation in 4-H promoted leadership life skills development . . . leadership life skills development show that there is a significant difference among 4-H’ers and non 4-H’ers in the leadership life skills development for the Understanding Self, Communicating, Relating to Others, Learning/Sharing, Managing and Making Decisions, and Working with Group scales (Richey, 2000, p. 42). Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992) found that teen 4-H members had significantly higher perceptions of their development of leadership life skills vs. non 4-H members. The leadership life skills that Boyd, Herring, and Briers identified were: working with groups, understanding self, communicating, making decisions, and leadership. They also found that “as a group, 4-H club members rated their skill development higher on the scales of working with groups, understanding self, communicating, and making decisions, and lower on the leadership scale” ( 8). Those who were not involved in 4-H reported “their skill development as higher on the scales understanding self and working with groups, and lower on the remaining scales” ( 8). Even though the 4-H participation and leadership life skill development relationships were reported low

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39 on the communication, making decisions, understanding self, and working with groups life skills, Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992) report that they were statistically significant. Unlike Richey (2000) and Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992), Miller and Bowen (1993) found that there no significant differences according to 8th grade students “in the self-perceived level of competency, coping, and contributory life skills” between the 4-H and non-4-H participants (p. 70). Miller and Bowen (1993) also found that the participation in 4-H or other clubs had a solid influence in regard to the development of competency, coping, and contributory life skills. Morris (1997) reported that the 4-H members felt that their school activities assisted a little bit more with their leadership life skill development than 4-H. “Church activities and other community group involvement provided slightly less leadership life skill development than did 4-H” ( 5). Other Findings McKinley (1999B) reported that over 91% of the Indiana 4-H alumni sample, agreed or strongly agreed that participating in the Indiana 4-H program made a difference in their adult lives. Ladewig and Thomas (1987) reported that the number of years an individual was a member of 4-H was the strongest predictor of whether 4-H made a difference in their lives. Groups that participated in the North Carolina Impact Study (Mustian, 1988) “agreed that knowledge and skills gained through participation in youth programs have benefited them in their adult lives” (p. 30). Overall, Ladewig and Thomas (1987) found that 4-H alumni describe the program favorably, saying, “as having a high, positive image when compared to other youth programs” (p. iii).

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40 McKinley (1999B) found that close to 96% of the 4-H “alumni agreed or strongly agreed that knowledge and skills gained through 4-H had benefited them as adults” (p. 3). When compared to other experiences the 4-H alumni had as youth, the 4-H organization was ranked fifth in regards to impact. “Family, church, school, and friends” were ranked above 4-H (p. 4). The following are the conclusions that McKinley (1999A; 1999B) derived from his research: 4-H alumni volunteer in their communities, but not in 4-H; Fair and ethical competition is valuable; 4-H projects are not judged consistently; Junior leaders provide 4-H members with challenges; Enhanced training will increase adult 4-H leaders’ influence on 4-H members; 4-H lacks effective marketing strategies; and 4-H members with higher tenure receive more impact from 4-H. (1999B, p. 4-6). In a study done by Collins (1986), Nebraska adolescents were surveyed and asked who taught them the life skills they have learned in relation to 4-H. For this study, life skills were defined as helping people: “perceive and respond to significant life events; life in an interdependent society; leading a satisfying life; and function effectively in a changing world” (1986, 2). According to Collins (1986), 4-H members said that they had learned life skills through the 4-H organization. T-tests were conducted to look at the difference between males and females in relation to their life skill development. The females reported learning more life skills through 4-H than the males did. In addition to learning more life skills through 4-H, females rated the following skills significantly higher than the males: communication skills, relating to change skills, and problem solving skills. There was no significant difference found

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41 between the genders on the following skills: inquiry, decision making, and relationship skills. Participants were also asked about their “perceptions about who influenced their life skills development through 4-H” (Collins, 1986, 8). The top three rankings mentioned were the mother (89.7%), the 4-H leader (76.5%), and the father (75.1%). Others included on the list in rank order were: a 4-H friend of similar age, an adult friend, county extension staff member, sister and/or brother, former 4-H’er, teacher, 4-H junior leader, grandmother and/or grandfather, other older relative, other relative close in age, state extension staff, district extension staff, and other (i.e. boyfriend, self). Both genders ranked the same four influential individuals most frequently, but these people were ranked in a different order of frequency. The implications from this study looked at two different levels for professionals: “(1) the philosophical or policy level and (2) the practical or program level” (Collins, 1986, 11). When taking a look at the first level, the results from this study show that parents are influential in their child(ren) development of life skills through the 4-H organization. Also, through the 4-H experiences these children are participating in, they are perceived to be learning life skills. The implications for the second level mentioned above for this research study says that -H can provide an opportunity to enhance positive family interaction” and -H experiences that combine the skills and interests of parents

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42 and children will help them grow as individuals and as families” (Collins, 1986, 13). Community Involvement as an Adult Community involvement as an adult has been a fundamental transfer of learning expectation of 4-H participation. Several alumni studies have researched this question. When Indiana 4-H alumni were asked to report any volunteering that they had done with the 4-H organization since becoming an alumnus, 24% reported having volunteered (McKinley, 1999A; McKinley, 1999B). In relation to participating in non 4-H community activities, 39% said they do not have time, but 17 individuals reported being active in their church which was the most frequently mentioned. Ladewig and Thomas (1987) also found that 4-H alumni as adults were significantly more involved with community activities than were non 4-H alumni. Research Studies of Other Youth Organizations and Life Skill Development Dormody and Seevers (1994B) conducted a tri-state study which looked at the 1992-93 Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico FFA members who “participated in FFA leadership development activities” (p. 43). The top five activities identified by the sample that contributed to the participants’ leadership life skill development were: judging contests, public speaking, chapter meetings, holding office, and parliamentary procedure. Dormody and Seevers (1994B) also found that “significantly more (p<.001) FFA members implemented but did not plan the leadership activity perceived to have made the greatest contribution to leadership life skills development (n=90) than those who planned but did not implement the activity (n=3)” (p. 45). Dormody and Seevers (1994A) report that

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43 “FFA members were most likely to participate during the implementation phase (85%) and less likely to participate in the evaluation (67%) or planning (48%) phases of their top leadership development activities” (p. 20-21). It has also been found that most FFA members only compete on the chapter level in regards to leadership development activities, excluding the judging contests (Dormody & Seevers, 1994A; Dormody & Seevers, 1994B). Those FFA members who participated in the Washington Conference Program, judging contests, public speaking, National FFA Convention, and holding office (Dormody & Seevers, 1994A; Dormody & Seevers, 1994B) were referred to as making “the greatest contributions to their leadership life skill development” (Dormody & Seevers, 1994B, p. 46). “Although it is probably safe to assume FFA members are valuing these activities, it is not clear whether participation in these activities is really related to development of leadership skills” (p. 46). “Participation in leadership activities was a much weaker predictor of leadership life skills development for FFA members than for 4-H members” (Dormody & Seevers, 1994A, p. 20). Townsend and Carter (1983) conducted a study to look at FFA activities and the leadership, citizenship, and cooperation components of the organization. They studied senior FFA members in Iowa. They found a positive and significant correlation between participation score and the leadership aspect of the FFA program. The citizenship and cooperation aspects of the FFA program had no significant relationship. Those that participated in 18 of the 22 FFA activities identified “had a significantly higher perception of their leadership than

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44 nonparticipants” (p. 22). The researchers came to the conclusion that these FFA activities “enhanced and strengthened the leadership competencies of the students” (p. 22). When looking at the overall FFA program, “students with participation in local activities seemed to attain higher personal development. In fact, state and national participants had lower perceptions of themselves in the area of cooperation” (p. 24). Carter and Neason (1984) found a weak indication that individuals who were active in FFA reported having higher personal development. Scanlon and Burkett (1986) found no significant relationship when looking at the FFA participation level and the interpersonal skill development, which included the following skills: achievement via conformance, communality, dominance, good impression, responsibility, self-acceptance, and socialization. A study conducted by Ricketts and Newcomb (1984), found that high school students who participated in vocational agriculture programs and/or were members of FFA “possess significantly more leadership and personal development abilities than non-vocational agriculture students” (p. 58). They also found that those students who were more active appeared to have “higher levels of leadership and personal development ability” (p. 58). Dormody and Seevers (1994C) found that “achievement expectancy, or a combination of the level of evaluation FFA members expect from others and the level of performance they expect from themselves in FFA activities and projects, had a positive relationship with youth leadership life skills development” (p. 69).

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45 Among Girl Scouts (Royse, 1998) found that in relation to a pre/post test given in regard to troop activities and Girl Scout clubs, there was “no statistically significant improvement in self-esteem scores” of the Girl Scouts surveyed ( 18). The researchers also found no overall improvement in regards to self-esteem when looking at the effect of the Girl Scout curriculum. There was a statistically significant difference found in regards to age and self-esteem. They found that in general, self-esteem decreased with age. Of those surveyed, if they were at one point in time a member of Girl Scouts, they scored higher on the self-esteem pretest than those who had never participated in Girl Scouts. This chapter has provided a brief summary of the theoretical and empirical support for this study to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life skill competencies. The following chapters describe the methods used to conduct this research project, an analysis of the data and a discussion linking the theory and research described above to the results of this research.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY This chapter describes the methodology employed in this research project and includes a description of the sample; a discussion of the instrument; and an explanation of specific procedures. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life-skill competencies. Such competencies are known to assist individuals with living a productive and rewarding life. Using a cross-sectional, quasi-experimental research design with a mailed survey, this research also sought to identify which program components of the 4-H program’s former active members, long-term Oklahoma 4-H alumni cite as most influential in impacting their adult lives. Subjects/Participants The sample used in this study was drawn from a database maintained by the Oklahoma 4-H Program. This database consists of the names, contact information, and participation records of 21,407 4-H alumni, volunteers, and donors. For the purpose of this study, only 4-H alumni were included. Two-thousand, one-hundred and eighty (2,180) 4-H alumni met the criterion for this study and had participated in one or more of the following 4-H related experiences: National 4-H Congress; National 4-H Conference; Oklahoma 4-H Key Club; State officer; District officer; 46

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47 State 4-H ambassador; State Hall of Fame winner; State project winner; and State scholarship winner. Although many individuals participated in one or more of the activities listed above, each person was only listed once in the database. The database entry for each person included a list of activities in which the person participated. Only individuals who participated in one or more of the 4-H experiences described above were included in the sample. Donors and volunteers were excluded unless they also met the sampling criteria. In addition to participation data, this database includes the 4-H alumni’s name, address, phone number, age, spouse, birth date, maiden name, social security number, and an identification number. For the purpose of this study, only the alumni’s name, address, age, and ID number were used. This was a large and complex database and it met the requirements as identified by Dillman (2000): such as being aware of who is included in the database; knowing if the database contains names other than those in the sample; understanding how the database is updated and maintained; awareness of entry duplications in the database; and assessing if the database contains any information that can be used to improve the survey. This database was designed to include everyone in the survey population, but like all databases of this nature, some addresses were not correct or had not been updated. The Oklahoma State 4-H office works to keep the database current using the following processes: 1) ‘request mail correction’ and 2) sending

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48 names back to the individual’s original county of residence to acquire current information when available. The final pool of 2,180 4-H alumni included persons who had been 4-H members for a minimum of 4 years, between 1969 and 1998 and were involved in 4-H at what the 4-H community would consider a very high level of participation. The rationale for this sampling criterion is explained below: 1. Member of 4-H for four years or more High levels of participation in 4-H is only achieved over an extended period of time. 2. 4-H member between the years 1969 and 1998 These years were chosen for three specific reasons. First, those who had the potential to be surveyed would be between the ages of 20 and 53, thus eliminating the possibility of minors being included in the sample. Second, those surveyed would have had some time to experience life and be able to critically reflect on their 4-H experience. Finally, this sample was chosen to allow the researcher to look for cohort effects between the three decades included in this study: 1969-1978; 1979-1988; and 1989-1998. These cohorts were chosen due to the historical eras (i.e., Vietnam War, Generation X), though not unique, but distinct. 3. High levels of participation and success in the 4-H program The 4-H’ers who were chosen to participate in the following experiences are considered by the 4-H community to be among the most competitive and successful of all 4-H’ers. Achievement of these experiences reflects many years

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49 of involvement and commitment to the 4-H program. To participate in each of the experiences the 4-H’ers must have completed a highly competitive and challenging process which may have included a formal application process, a detailed record book and/or personal interview. Within the 4-H community, the most successful and involved 4-H’ers participated in one or more of the following: National 4-H Congress; National 4-H Conference; Oklahoma 4-H Key Club; State officer; District officer; State 4-H ambassador; State Hall of Fame winner; State project winner; and State scholarship winner. The researcher used Dillman’s (2000) Power Equation for estimating sample size (95% confidence) and determined the acceptable sample size was 222 usable responses. The researcher used a systematic sampling procedure to draw the final sample: specifically, every 10th person was selected. To compensate for potentially inaccurate addresses, the researcher oversampled by 100% and subsequently mailed a total of 444 questionnaires. After every 10th person was selected to comprise the initial 222 in the sample, the researcher went back through the database and selected the every 10th person again (with the initial first 10th person taken out of the database) to total 444. The Instrument The instrument used for the mailed survey was a 12 page, paper/pencil questionnaire that included items from the Indiana 4-H Impact Study (McKinley,

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50 1999) and the National 4-H Impact Study (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987). These questions were used with permission from Dr. Steven McKinley (personal communication, April 7, 2003) and Dr. Harold Ladewig (personal communication, April 6, 2003). Qualitative and quantitative items were used to guide the respondent’s reflection of their 4-H experience and consideration of the impact of 4-H on their adult lives. The questionnaire was divided into seven sections as described below. Section 1: 4-H Experiences Respondents were first asked to describe their 4-H tenure, leadership experiences (offices held) as well as the type and levels of the activities they had participated in. These questions were asked to determine how active each respondent was in the 4-H program in terms of tenure, type and level of activity. Section 2: Aspects of 4-H Participants were next asked to reflect on their 4-H experience and to recall specific aspects of the 4-H program that had the most influence on their adult life, how often they participated in challenging tasks, and had opportunities to hold leadership roles. These questions were adapted from the National 4-H Impact Study (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987) and helped guide the researcher to determine 4-H activities and individuals (i.e., volunteers, leaders, agents, etc.) who had made an impact on their lives. This information is vital to the 4-H program as it can help identify strengths and weaknesses of the program. This set of questions also helped to determine what major life decisions such as educational and career choices were influenced through 4-H.

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51 Section 3: 4-H Eligibility Participants were then asked if they stayed in the program for the duration of 10 years or until they were no longer eligible to participate. Those who responded that they left the 4-H organization were asked why they left 4-H. This question was included at the request of the Oklahoma State 4-H Office for use in recruitment and retention efforts. Section 4: Other Youth Organizations The questionnaire also asked respondents to identify other youth organizations in which they had been a member for more than one year. This question allowed the researcher to explore the possibility that other organizations may have also contributed to the life skill development of the 4-H alumni. Section 5: Life Skill Development Participants were asked to list organizations, activities, and experiences in addition to 4-H that impacted the development of their life skills. They were then asked to rank (1 through 5, 5 weighted the lease influence) the significant impact each organization had on their life skill development. This question was adapted from McKinley (1999) and is designed to compare 4-H to other youth organizations in terms of life skill development. The life skills chosen for this instrument were identified by Hendricks (1996) in the Targeting Life Skills Model (2002B). The concepts by Hendricks (1996) were each operationalized. These questions were developed from the Washington State University Cooperative Extension (2001) Life Skills Evaluation System (13 questions), other questions were guided by McKinley’s (1999)

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52 research questionnaire and the researcher (23 questions). The public speaking life skill was included as a primary skill addressed by the 4-H program. The last life skill question asked participants to describe qualitatively the impact that 4-H had on the development of their life skills. This question allowed the sample to give testimonials and explain in their own words what impact the 4-H program had on the development of their life skills. Section 6: Community Involvement as an Adult This section referred to respondent’s community involvement and volunteer work as adults and included questions regarding the participant’s community involvement and their involvement in other youth organizations besides 4-H. Respondents were asked to describe any 4-H volunteer experience they may have had in adulthood. Finally, participants were asked to describe their membership in any other community organizations (i.e., civic organizations, volunteering with youth organizations, school athletics, etc.). Section 7: Demographics The participants were asked to provide demographic information including age; current place of residence; highest level of education; occupation; race/ethnic background; and gender. Additionally, respondents were asked about their children’s participation in 4-H as well as why or why not their children participated in 4-H. The entire questionnaire can be found in Appendix B. Expert Panel Extension professionals from the University of Florida and Oklahoma State University comprised an expert panel that reviewed the questionnaire for face and content validity. Those that served on this panel were state and district

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53 extension staff. The panel’s suggestions and recommendations to improve the clarity, readability, content, and layout of the questionnaire were incorporated into the final questionnaire. Layout of Questionnaire As suggested by Dillman (2000), this survey was printed on conventional legal size paper, 8 ” x 14” in a booklet (8 ” x 7”), stapled along the fold. “These booklets can be folded lengthwise to fit into a regular size (4 ” x 9 ”) business stationary envelope” (Dillman, 2000, p. 83). To enhance completion and minimizing skipped items, the questionnaire was printed using 12 point font (Dillman, 2000). Procedures The researcher went through the process of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects at the University of Florida. The approval letter can be found in Appendix C. A pilot study for this research was not conducted. In addition to the expert panel, the survey was given to a few individuals to complete and give suggestions on readability and clarity of the questions asked. This study used a mailed survey to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative questions were used to identify the alumni’s feelings about the life skills they learned as a member of the 4-H organization. The procedure for this research closely followed Dillman’s (2000) recommendations for mail survey research. A postcard was mailed to all identified sample participants the last week in June, 2003, to inform them that they had been chosen to participate in this study. A copy of the postcard can be

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54 found in Appendix D. The cover letters and questionnaires were mailed one and a half weeks after the initial postcard. Two cover letters, the questionnaire, and a self addressed stamped envelope were included in this mailing. One of the cover letters was placed on Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service letterhead and was signed by Dr. Charles Cox, Extension Specialist, 4-H Program Leader, and Dr. Lynda Harriman, Assistant Director, 4-H Youth Development. This letter encouraged the alumni to participate in this study. The second cover letter was from the University of Florida. This letter provided a description of the study, encouraged participation, and informed respondents of their right to refuse to participate. Both cover letters can be found in Appendix E. Each questionnaire had an identification number that was placed in the upper right hand corner of the questionnaire. “Informing respondents of the presence of an identification number seems not to have a serious negative effect on response rates, especially when compared to not being able to use the tailored follow-up that it facilitates” (Dillman, 2000, p. 165). This assisted the researcher to know to whom to send follow-up postcards. Dillman (2000) recommended sending out a postcard thank you and/or reminder two weeks after the initial mailing. “One week is an appropriate interval of time for making an appeal that, if carefully worded, conveys a sense of importance” (p. 179). He said that if a questionnaire is not answered within a week that the response rate will decrease “sharply at first and then gradually” (p. 179). Therefore a follow-up postcard was mailed by the researcher one week after the initial mailing thanking them for sending back the survey, and if they had

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55 not returned the survey, asking them to take time to complete the survey and return it. This postcard can be found in Appendix F. After four weeks, “a letter and replacement questionnaire are sent only to the nonrespondents. Similar in appearance to the original mail, it has a shorter cover letter that informs nonrespondents that their questionnaire has not been received and appeals for its return” (Dillman, p. 178). The researcher followed the recommendations of Dillman (2000) and mailed a replacement questionnaire and a cover letter five weeks after the initial mailing to the nonrespondents. The nonrespondents were identified by the identification numbers. When the questionnaires were addressed, the researcher boxed the postcards and envelopes up and mailed them to the Oklahoma State 4-H Office. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service agreed to pay the postage for this research; therefore all outgoing mail was initially mailed to Stillwater, OK. The items were mailed from Oklahoma for two reasons: 1) to receive a better response rate from Oklahoma if mailed from Oklahoma and 2) Oklahoma Cooperative Extension office paid for the postage for all mailings. To keep track up some address changes and those individuals that had bad addresses, the researcher was in constant contact with the Oklahoma State 4-H Office through email and phone. Changes were made to addresses and individuals were pulled from the sample as mail was returned to the Oklahoma State 4-H Office. Results of the survey are described in chapter 4 which details the return rate and provides specific information regarding responses to each section of the questionnaire.

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CHAPTER 4 DATA ANALYSIS This chapter describes the analyses run on the data for this research project, the purpose of this research and a summary of the responses received. It includes a description of frequencies run in the following categories: demographics of the sample; types of clubs; 4-H offices held; 4-H participation; collegiate 4-H; aspect of 4-H influencing everyday life; opportunities to grow; 4-H and the influence of future decisions; eligibility; involvement in other youth organizations; 4-H volunteers; and the community involvement as an adult. In addition, t-tests, Analysis of Variance, correlations, and regressions were run to assist the researcher with answering the research questions and hypotheses that guided this research. The researcher used SPSS 11.5 (2001) to conduct all data analyses for this research. Purpose of Research The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life-skill competencies known to assist individuals with living a productive and rewarding life. Specific life skills targeted in this research include critical thinking, goal setting, communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, problem solving, decision-making and community service (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002B). This study involved respondents from Oklahoma who participated in the 4-H program from 1969 through 1998. These respondents participated at the 56

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57 highest levels in the Oklahoma 4-H program; the sample includes 4-H Key Club members, 4-H Hall of Fame winners and National 4-H Congress attendees. Summary of Responses A total of 444 surveys were mailed and 232 were returned (52%). There were approximately 50 undeliverable surveys in the initial mailings, resulting in a response rate of approximately 60%. Data from nine surveys were not useable in this study because respondents did not meet the sampling criterion or had excessive missing data. In one case a mother completed the survey. Data from 223 surveys were used for this analysis. The final response rate of 57% fell within the guidelines established by Dillman (2000) for mail surveys. Demographics of Sample Demographic information was collected for those who participated in this study. Table 4-1 displays the demographics for this research sample. The responses received for each cohort are: cohort 1 – 82 (36.8%); cohort 2 – 80 (35.9%); and cohort 3 – 61 (27.4%). Analysis of Variance using Tukey’s Post Hoc test of significance revealed no significant differences between cohorts for demographic variables. Therefore, the cohorts were collapsed into a single group for descriptive purposes related to demographics. Of the sample, 67.3% were female, and 89.6% were White, not of Hispanic Origin. Nearly 85% of the sample completed college with an associate degree, bachelor degree, master degree and/or doctorate degree.

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58 Table 4-1. Sociodemographic Characteristics of Sample n f % SD Age 37.5 8.43 Gender 220 Male Female 72 148 32.7 67.3 Ethnicity 221 White, not of Hispanic Origin American Indian or Alaskan Native 198 23 89.6 10.4 Education Level 221 GED/High School Technical School Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctorate Degree 3 4 28 11 102 61 13 1.4 1.8 12.6 5.0 45.9 27.5 5.9 Residence while in 4-H 218 Farm Rural, non-farm < 5,000 5,000 – 20,000 > 20,000 134 34 23 13 14 61.5 15.6 10.6 6.0 6.4 Currently resides in County where 4-H work completed 192 Yes No 73 119 32.9 67.1 Participation and 4-H Experiences Respondents were asked to describe their 4-H tenure, leadership experiences (offices held) and the type and levels of the activities they had participated in. In addition to these experiences, the respondents were asked if they had participated in collegiate 4-H. The findings for these 4-H experiences are described below. 4-H Tenure Respondents were 4-H members for nearly 10 years (range 4 to 10 years; = 9.08; SD = 1.057). The breakdown of the number of years of 4-H tenure is displayed in Table 4-2. More than 90% of the respondents participated in 4-H for 8 years or more.

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59 Table 4-2. 4-H Tenure: Number of Years the Sample Participated in 4-H (n = 219) Number of Years f % SD 9.08 1.06 4 1 .5 5 3 1.4 6 3 1.4 7 7 3.2 8 30 13.7 9 88 40.2 10 87 39.7 Types of Clubs Participants were asked to identify the types of 4-H clubs they participated in: local 4-H club/4-H project club. Local 4-H clubs are “a group of young people and adults who meet regularly for fun and learning. Clubs are usually made up of families from a community and often formed around schools, churches or community centers” (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.B 1). Project 4-H clubs are similar to local 4-H clubs, but focus on a specific project area (e.g., horses, food science). Ninety-nine percent of the respondents were members of a local 4-H club and 24.4% were also members of a 4-H project club. 4-H Offices Held Holding an office in a 4-H club provides members with opportunities to develop a variety of life skills ranging from basic leadership to organization management. As 4-H’ers develop leadership skills they often advance to higher level offices (i.e., local to county to district to state) and an increasingly higher level of responsibility. 4-H club offices included: president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, reporter, recreation leader, song leader, and parliamentarian. Each office may be held at the local, county, district, and state

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60 levels. To account for the differences in levels of responsibility at each level, offices were weighted. Holding a local office was weighted as 1, county offices weighted 2, district offices weighted 3, and state offices were weighted at 4. A new variable, Total Offices Held Adjusted Score resulted from totaling offices held times the weight of each office. The Total Offices Held Adjusted Score ( = 8.15; SD = 5.53) had a range of 1 (respondent held one local office) to 27 (where the respondent held several offices at different levels). The majority (67.6%) of the sample had a total adjusted score between 4 and 14; 11.6% had a score between 15 and 27. 4-H Experiences at Various Participation Levels Participation in the 4-H program was measured by listing various activities and asking the participants to select what activities they participated in and on what levels. The activities listed on the questionnaire were: community service projects, livestock shows, 4-H fairs, demonstrations/public speaking contests, fashion revues, judging contests, 4-H camps, exchange programs, district leadership conference, 4-H round-up, Citizenship Washington Focus, Denver Western Round-Up, Kansas City Conference, national 4-H conference, national 4-H congress, ambassador program, project winner, and scholarship winner. The participants identified their level of 4-H participation from the following: local, county, district, state, and national. An Adjusted 4-H Participation Score was developed which included weighting the levels of 4-H participation and were totaled to achieve the Adjusted 4-H Participation Score. These scores were weighted because the higher level of 4-H participation in activities, the more prestigious and more of an honor it is to be chosen to participate in these

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61 activities. The Adjusted 4-H Participation Score ( = 70.9; SD = 26.17) ranged from a minimum of 7 to a maximum of 129. Collegiate 4-H Collegiate 4-H is a 4-H program that is conducted at the college level. Currently, the collegiate 4-H chapter at Oklahoma State University is the only collegiate 4-H chapter in the state. Only students at Oklahoma State University could have participated in Collegiate 4-H. This study found that 28.4% of the respondents (61) had participated in Collegiate 4-H. Other Program Aspects of 4-H Participants were next asked to reflect on their 4-H experience and to recall specific aspects of the 4-H program that had the most influence on their adult life, opportunities to grow and future career decisions. Influencing Adult Life Participants in this study were presented a list of key aspects of the 4-H program, and they were asked to evaluate how these influenced their everyday lives. These programmatic aspects included: 4-H projects, adult 4-H volunteers/leaders, other 4-H members, opportunities to compete in 4-H, 4-H club meetings, awards and prizes received, and 4-H trips. Participants were asked to evaluate the amount of influence each aspect had on their lives using a 5 point Likert scale that included not at all (1), some (2-3) and a great deal (4-5). Table 4-3 details the list of key aspects of the 4-H program and the respondent’s ratings of how much each aspect influenced their everyday lives. In summary, respondents identified -H projects” as the aspect of 4-H that had the most influence on their everyday lives. The majority of the sample (64.2%) felt

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62 that 4-H projects influenced their everyday lives a great deal ( = 4.53; SD = 0.70). The second most influential aspect was adult 4-H leaders and volunteers. More than half of the sample (57.2%) rated “adult 4-H volunteers and leaders” as having a great deal of influence on everyday lives(= 4.45; SD = 0.771). Table 4-3. Key Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program that the Sample Reported Influencing Everyday Lives 4-H Aspects n SD Rank 4-H trips 219 4.54 0.73 1 4-H projects 218 4.53 0.70 2 Opportunities to compete in 4-H 216 4.53 0.67 2 Adult 4-H leaders 215 4.45 0.77 4 Other 4-H members 218 4.02 0.86 5 Awards and prizes received 217 3.97 0.92 6 4-H club meetings 219 3.95 0.91 7 Note: 5 = a great deal to 1 = not at all Opportunities to Grow A series of questions were included to evaluate how often 4-H members felt they had been given opportunities to grow and develop. The opportunities included challenging tasks, making important decisions, planning club activities, the freedom to develop and use their own skills, the opportunity to make a contribution, and the opportunity to lead others. Respondents were asked to evaluate these opportunities on a 5 point Likert scale including never (1), occasionally (2-3), and often (4-5). Table 4-4 describes the results of responses for each identified opportunity. In summary, 70% of the respondents felt that 4-H often (circling only 5) gave them “an opportunity to lead others” ( = 4.64; SD = 0.608). The next most recognized opportunity was “the opportunity to make important decisions.” Of the participants, 42.7% felt they were allowed to make important decisions often by circling 5 on the Likert scale ( = 4.19; SD = 0.953).

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63 Table 4-4. Opportunities to Grow Offered through the Oklahoma 4-H Program (n = 220) 4-H Opportunities SD Rank Given an opportunity to lead others 4.64 0.61 1 Able to make a contribution 4.52 0.67 2 Given freedom to develop and use your own skills 4.48 0.74 3 Involved in planning club activities 4.36 0.81 4 Given challenging tasks 4.34 0.72 5 Included in making important decisions 4.19 0.85 6 Note: 5 = often to 1 = never An Opportunities to Grow Scale was developed by summing the individual items. The Opportunities to Grow Scale ranged from 14 to 30 ( = 26.52; SD = 3.548). The median was 27.0 and the mode was 30.0 (32.3%). 4-H and the Influence of Future Decisions Respondents were asked how much 4-H influenced (5 = greatly to 1 = none) specific educational and career decisions. The decisions identified in the questionnaire included: completing high school, continuing education beyond high school, job/career choice, college choice, and the preparation to take on leadership roles. Table 4-5 describes the levels of influence respondents attributed to 4-H for each educational and career decision. In summary, 66.2% of the respondents felt that 4-H greatly prepared them to take on leadership roles ( = 4.54; SD = 0.746). The majority (57.7%) of the respondents reported that 4-H influenced their decision to continue their education beyond the high school level ( = 3.64; SD = 1.374); nearly 90% felt that to some degree, 4-H had influenced their choice of colleges. And, 55.4% felt that their 4-H experience influenced their job and/or career choice from some to greatly ( = 3.53; SD = 1.257).

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64 Table 4-5. The Oklahoma 4-H Program and the Influence on Future Decisions of 4-H Members as They Exit the Program Educational and Career Decisions N SD Rank Preparation to take leadership roles 222 4.54 0.75 1 Continuing education beyond high school 222 3.64 1.37 2 Job/career choice 222 3.53 1.26 3 College choice 221 3.45 1.50 4 Completing high school 222 3.33 1.48 5 Note: 5 = greatly to 1 = never Respondents were also asked how directly their 4-H project(s) influenced their choice of career. Nearly one quarter reported that their 4-H project(s) had a direct influence on their career choice; 43.5% reported that 4-H project(s) had a moderate influence on their career choice, and 33.6% felt that projects had no influence. Eligibility Subjects were asked if they decided to leave the 4-H program while they were still eligible to participate. If they responded yes, they were asked to identify which reasons were important to their decision to discontinue 4-H membership. They were asked to check all of the reasons that applied to their discontinued membership. The reasons identified on the survey were: there was a lack of funds needed to finance my project(s), 4-H no longer met my interests, 4-H was for younger kids, I was not learning any subject knowledge or beneficial skills, 4-H placed too much emphasis on competition, 4-H conflicted too much with my other activities (i.e., school, work), I started college and found it too difficult to continue in 4-H, other organizations were more important to me, I received pressure from peers to drop 4-H, I received pressure from a teacher to drop 4-H, and I was not aware I could be in both 4-H and FFA. The 4-H alumni

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65 were also given the opportunity to write down other reasons if their reason was not listed. Eighty-five percent of the respondents were members of the 4-H program until they became ineligible due to age. Only 15% (33) reported that they left the 4-H program while still eligible to participate. Table 4-6 details the responses to this item. In summary, the majority (58.8%) of respondents reported that they had started college and found it too difficult to continue in the 4-H program. In addition, 20.6% identified -H conflicted too much with their other activities,” and “other organizations were more important” as key reasons to leave 4-H. No one reported discontinuing the program because of lack of funds, or because they were not learning, or because of receiving pressure from teachers. Table 4-6. 4-H Eligibility and Why Individuals Left the Program Before Becoming Ineligible n f % Left 4-H program while still eligible 220 No 187 85.0 Yes 33 15.0 Reason for Leaving 34 % responding ‘Yes” Started college 20 58.8 Conflict with other activities 7 20.6 Other organizations were more important 7 20.6 No longer met interests 4 11.8 Idea that 4-H is for younger kids 3 8.8 Too much emphasis on competition 3 8.8 Received pressure from peer(s) 1 2.9 Not aware that membership in both FFA and 4-H were 1 2.9 Not learning 0 0.0 Lack of funds 0 0.0 Received pressure from teacher(s) 0 0.0 Respondents were asked if they had children who were above the age of nine and if those children were, or had been members of 4-H. Respondents whose children were not in 4-H, or had not been in 4-H were asked to explain

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66 why. Options included 1) lack of time; 2) they are/were involved in other similar programs such as_______; 3) while I value my 4-H experience I do not believe the program is relevant for my kids today; 4) the program lacks visibility in the area where I live; 5) they were members but had a bad experience and did not want to continue; 6) do not really know, we just have never given it much thought; 7) have never been asked to become involved by staff, volunteers or others; and 8) my child was not interested. Oklahoma State University requested that this question be included for use in recruitment and retention. Table 4-7 displays the findings. In summary, nearly 70% of respondents identified “lack of visibility for the 4-H program” as the most common reason their child was not involved in 4-H, followed by “child involved in similar programs” (42.1%). Twenty-nine percent of respondents stated that ‘their children were not interested in participating in 4-H. Table 4-7. Respondent’s Children and the 4-H Program: Members of 4-H, Why or Why Not n f % Children above the age of 9 220 Yes 96 43.6 No 124 56.4 Children in 4-H 102 Yes 59 57.8 No 43 42.2 Reasons for children not in 4-H 43 % choosing each option Lack of visibility 25 67.6 Involved in other similar programs* 16 42.1 Child was not interested 10 28.6 Never been asked 6 16.7 Lack of time 6 15.8 Were members but had a bad experience 5 13.5 Valued 4-H experience but not relevant today 4 11.1 Not given much thought 3 8.3 * Similar programs identified include: school activities, scouts, athletics, and church.

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67 Involvement in Other Youth Organizations as Youth Participants were asked if they had been involved in other youth organizations in addition to 4-H, for more than one year. Respondents identified youth organizations related to athletics, religious, school, vocational, and youth development organizations. Nearly all (92.6%, or n = 206) of the respondents reported that they had been a member of another youth organization in addition to 4-H for more than one year. Table 4-8 shows the breakdown of their involvement in other youth organizations. Table 4-8. Respondent’s Participation in Other Youth Organizations* (n = 223) f % Religious 147 71.4 Athletics 130 63.1 School Student Council 102 49.5 Music 19 9.2 Fellowship of Christian Athletes 6 2.9 Vocational Future Homemakers of America 77 37.4 Future Farmers of America 47 22.8 Future Business Leaders of America 14 6.8 Delta Epsilon Chi Association 5 2.4 Vocational Industrial Clubs of America 4 1.9 Home Economics Related Occupations 3 1.5 Freedom Support Act 3 1.5 Future Teachers of America 2 1.0 Oklahoma Education Association 1 0.5 Health Occupations Students of America 1 0.5 Youth Development Girl Scouts 25 12.1 Boy Scouts 22 10.7 Campfire Girls 7 3.4 YMCA 2 1.0 * Respondents may have identified more than one organization.

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68 Community Involvement as Adults 4-H Volunteers The participants were asked if they were currently or if they had ever been an adult 4-H volunteer. If they answered yes, they were asked what type of volunteer they are, or had been. Their choices included: club/organizational leader, project leader, and committee member. A club/organizational leader “coordinates the overall club program and the activities of members and other leaders. He or she serves as the club's communication link with the county Extension staff and the 4-H and Youth Council” (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.D 4). A project leader is an individual who works “with groups of members who are all enrolled in the same project. They help members set their individual project goals, teach new skills in project meetings, prepare for related activities such as demonstrations or judging, complete project records and prepare projects for exhibit” (Oklahoma 4-H, n.d.D 5; Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services, 2000, p. 5). As with previous questions, if they volunteered in another capacity, they were provided an opportunity to describe other 4-H volunteer experiences. Forty-five percent (45%) of the 4-H alumni reported being a 4-H volunteer at some point in time. Forty-six percent (46%) served as a club/organizational leader, 39% served as a project leader, and 51% were committee members. Other 4-H related volunteer capacities included: contest judge (15%) and board member (5%). Twenty-three percent (23%) identified a wide variety of other volunteer roles in which they had served.

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69 Other Community Volunteerism In addition to 4-H, the participants were asked to describe involvement in other community activities as an adult. Respondents identified community involvement related to athletics, religious, school, vocational/career development, youth development, and a variety of community service organizations. Many respondents are involved as volunteers with several organizations. Table 4-9 shows the breakdown of community involvement. Table 4-9. Respondent’s Community Involvement Excluding the 4-H Program (n = 223) f % Religious 124 55.9 Athletics 76 34.2 School Student Council 8 3.6 Fellowship of Christian Athletes 1 0.5 Vocational Future Farmers of America 33 14.9 Future Homemakers of America 10 4.5 Future Business Leaders of America 5 2.3 Oklahoma Education Association 4 1.8 Vocational Industrial Clubs of America 4 1.8 Delta Epsilon Chi Association 3 1.4 Home Economics Related Occupations 1 0.5 Health Occupations Students of America 1 0.5 Youth Development Boy Scouts 18 8.1 Girl Scouts 13 5.9 YMCA 10 4.5 Campfire Girls 0 0 Community Lions Club 15 6.8 Kiwanis Club 13 5.9 Rotary Club 10 4.5

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70 Life Skill Development The dependent variable in this study was life skill development. A Life Skill Inventory was created for this study using the 35 life skills identified by Hendricks (1998) and public speaking (Severs and Dormody, 1994A, 1995; Ward, 1996). Participants were asked to determine to what extent 4-H and another youth organization, in which they participated for more than one year, taught them life skills. Each question was asked using a Likert-scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (a great deal). Among the respondents, public speaking (= 4.79; SD = 0.56) was perceived as the most influential life skill. Community Service Volunteering ( = 4.65; SD = 0.65) was reported as the second most influential life skill taught by the 4-H program. Self-discipline (SD = 0.70), self-responsibility (SD = 0.67), and teamwork (SD = 0.69) ranked third with a mean score of 4.58. Table 4-10 displays the mean, standard deviation, and rank for each of the 36 life skills. Participants were asked to complete the same question while reflecting on the life skills learned in the other youth organization. In contrast to the 4-H program, the respondents ranked the life skill related to character ( = 4.42; SD = 0.82) as the most influential life skill taught by the other youth organizations. In addition, self-discipline ( = 4.24; SD = 0.93) was perceived as the second most perceived life skill taught by other youth organizations according to the respondents. Table 4-11 displays the remainder of the findings regarding life skills and other youth organizations.

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71 Table 4-10. Development of Life Skills Taught by the 4-H Program (n = 223) Life Skill SD Rank Public Speaking 4.79 0.56 1 Community Service Volunteering 4.65 0.65 2 Self-discipline 4.58 0.70 3 Self-responsibility 4.58 0.67 3 Teamwork 4.58 0.69 3 Cooperation 4.57 0.60 6 Marketable Skills 4.56 0.75 7 Self-esteem 4.55 0.66 8 Social Skills 4.53 0.66 9 Responsible Citizenship 4.52 0.64 10 Self-motivation 4.52 0.74 10 Contributions to Group Effort 4.47 0.71 12 Wise Use of Resources 4.46 0.72 13 Keeping Records 4.44 0.78 14 Sharing 4.44 0.73 14 Leadership 4.43 0.71 16 Goal Setting 4.39 0.79 17 Communication 4.39 0.77 17 Learning to Learn 4.28 0.91 19 Problem Solving 4.24 0.75 20 Service Learning 4.24 0.83 20 Character 4.22 0.80 22 Planning/Organizing 4.20 0.83 23 Accepting Differences 4.14 0.88 24 Critical Thinking 4.12 0.87 25 Concern for Others 4.12 0.85 25 Nurturing Relationships 4.02 0.89 27 Resiliency 3.96 0.98 28 Decision Making 3.83 1.02 29 Managing 3.82 1.00 30 Empathy 3.79 0.98 31 Stress Management 3.77 1.02 32 Healthy Lifestyle Choices 3.76 1.21 33 Conflict Resolution 3.73 0.98 34 Personal Safety 3.73 1.15 34 Disease Prevention 3.09 1.34 36 Note: 5 = a great deal to 1 = not at all

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72 Table 4-11. Development of Life Skills Taught by Other Youth Organizations (n = 223) Life Skill SD Rank Character 4.42 0.82 1 Self-discipline 4.24 0.93 2 Accepting Differences 4.23 0.88 3 Cooperation 4.15 0.89 4 Social Skills 4.13 0.93 5 Self-responsibility 4.11 0.97 6 Stress Management 4.03 1.02 7 Concern for Others 4.03 1.12 7 Contributions to Group Effort 4.03 0.90 7 Resiliency 4.01 1.10 10 Responsible Citizenship 4.01 1.03 10 Teamwork 4.01 1.00 10 Self-esteem 4.00 1.01 13 Sharing 3.98 1.02 14 Nurturing Relationships 3.96 1.02 15 Self-motivation 3.96 1.07 15 Personal Safety 3.93 1.22 17 Empathy 3.90 1.02 18 Problem Solving 3.88 0.98 19 Conflict Resolution 3.87 1.07 20 Goal Setting 3.87 1.05 20 Managing Feelings 3.79 1.10 22 Wise Use of Resources 3.78 1.05 23 Community Service Volunteering 3.77 1.20 24 Marketable Skills 3.77 1.16 24 Critical Thinking 3.59 1.05 26 Service Learning 3.58 1.10 27 Communication 3.53 1.01 28 Leadership 3.49 1.23 29 Planning/Organizing 3.35 1.17 30 Decision Making 3.34 1.17 31 Learning to Learn 3.24 1.19 32 Public Speaking 3.16 1.27 33 Disease Prevention 2.82 1.35 34 Keeping Records 2.62 1.30 35 Healthy Lifestyle Choices 2.57 1.32 36 Note: 5 = a great deal to 1 = not at all

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73 Research Questions and Hypotheses The research questions and hypotheses that guided the researcher in this study are listed below. The variables that were used to answer the research questions and hypotheses, and the findings are discussed. Research Question 1: Is there a relationship between tenure of 4-H participation and the development of life skills? Null Hypothesis 1: No relationship exists between life skill scores and 4-H tenure. Alternate Hypothesis 1: Life skill scores are positively related to length of 4-H tenure. A bivariate correlation was run to determine if there is a relationship between tenure of 4-H participation and the development of life skills. The two variables used in this correlation were the number of years the respondent’s participated in 4-H and the Life Skills Inventory. Table 4-12 displays a weak positive, but significant relationship that was found between length of 4-H participation and the 4-H Life Skills Inventory score (r = .184; p < .01) suggesting that continued participation in 4-H is related to higher life skill scores. Therefore, we must reject the null hypothesis and accept the hypothesis. Table 4-12. Bivariate Correlation Matrix: Life Skills Inventory and Individual Factors (n = 223) Variables 1 2 3 SD 1. 4-H Life Skills Inventory Score 1.00 151.18 19.75 2. Length of 4-H Participation 0.184** 1.00 9.08 1.06 3. Total Participation Adjusted Score 0.222** 0.310** 1.00 70.26 26.90 ** p < 0.01 Research Question 2: Is there a relationship between level of participation in 4-H programs and the development of life skills? Null Hypothesis 2: No relationship exists between life skill scores and level of 4-H participation.

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74 Alternate Hypothesis 2: Life skill scores are positively related to levels of 4-H participation. A bivariate correlation was used to determine if there is relationship between the levels of participation in 4-H and the development of life skills. The two variables used in this correlation were the Total Participation Adjusted Score and the 4-H Life Skills Inventory. Table 4-12 displays the positive and significant relationship between these variables (r = .222; p < .01) which suggests that greater levels of participation in 4-H programs are related to higher Life Skills Inventory scores. Therefore we must reject the null hypothesis and accept the hypothesis. Research Question 3: What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are correlated with development of higher life skill scores? A bivariate correlation was run to determine if there is a relationship between the Life Skills Inventory Score and the following aspects: 4-H projects, adult 4-H volunteers/leaders, other 4-H members, opportunities to compete in 4-H, 4-H club meetings, awards and prizes received, 4-H trips; and opportunities 4-H offers: given challenging tasks, included in making important decisions, involved in planning club activities, given freedom to develop and use your own skills, able to make a contribution, and given an opportunity to lead others. Table 4-13 displays the correlation findings. In summary, -H trips” was the strongest 4-H program aspect that had the highest positive correlation to the Life Skills Inventory Score (r = 0.47; p < .01). -H club meetings” (r = 0.44; p < .01) and “adult 4-H volunteers/leaders” (r = 0.43; p< .01) were the second and third most highly correlated aspects, respectively.

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75 “Included in making important decisions” had the highest correlation (r = 0.43; p < .01) to the Life Skills Inventory Score among the opportunities 4-H offers its members. “Given freedom to develop and use your own skills” (r = 0.42; p < .01) was the second most highly correlated 4-H opportunity. Null Hypothesis 3: No cohort effects are seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members. An ANOVA was run with Tukey’s post hoc analysis. The Life Skills Inventory score was compared by cohort. There were no statistically significant cohort effects seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members. Therefore, this null hypothesis must be accepted. Research Question 4: What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are perceived to have made a difference in the lives of its alumni? Qualitative Analysis Four-H alumni were asked to describe in their own words the impact 4-H had on the development of their life skills. One hundred sixty-nine respondents provided extensive written responses to this question. While formal qualitative analysis has not yet been conducted on these data, the following includes a count of the most frequently identified aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program. The following testimonials provided by respondents add further support to these findings.

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Table 4-13. Bivariate Correlation Matrix: Life Skills Inventory, Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program, and Opportunities to Grow 76 Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 SD 1. Life Skills Inventory Score *** 1.00 151.18 19.75 2. 4-H projects 0.35** 1.00 4.53 0.70 3. Adult 4-H volunteers 0.43** 0.27** 1.00 4.45 0.77 4. Other 4-H members 0.41** 0.28** 0.42** 1.00 4.02 0.86 5. Opportunities to compete in 4-H 0.40** 0.34** 0.20** 0.28** 1.00 4.53 0.67 6. 4-H club meetings 0.44** 0.27** 0.33** 0.45** 0.39** 1.00 3.95 0.91 7. Awards and prizes received 0.35** 0.30** 0.32** 0.41** 0.42** 0.46** 1.00 3.97 0.92 8. 4-H trips 0.47** 0.27** 0.31** 0.34** 0.39** 0.32** 0.36** 1.00 4.54 0.73 9. Given challenging tasks 0.34** 0.27** 0.20** 0.23** 0.29** 0.16** 0.23** 0.19** 1.00 4.34 0.72 10. Included in making important decisions 0.43** 0.35** 0.18** 0.20** 0.30** 0.25** 0.29** 0.23** 0.58** 1.00 4.19 0.85 11. Involved in planning club activities 0.41** 0.37** 0.21** 0.27** 0.30** 0.22** 0.24** 0.27** 0.47** 0.71** 1.00 4.36 0.81 12. Given freedom to develop and use y our ow n skills 0.42** 0.31** 0.16* 0.08 0.34** 0.20** 0.28** 0.27** 0.43** 0.61** 0.49** 1.00 4.48 0.74 13. Able to make a contribution 0.39** 0.37** 0.18** 0.13* 0.30** 0.14* 0.24** 0.27** 0.46** 0.62** 0.60** 0.75** 1.00 4.52 0.67 14. Given an opportunity to lead others 0.40** 0.31** 0.21** 0.10 0.28** 0.14* 0.25** 0.22** 0.42** 0.62** 0.61** 0.57** 0.71** 4.64 0.61 * p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01 *** Range: 36 – 180 Note: Variables 2 through 14, range: 5 = a great deal to 1 = not at all

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77 Public speaking was the most reported life skill, identified by more than 75 respondents as a key life skill obtained through 4-H. The following statements describe how public speaking skills obtained through 4-H have impacted these 4-H alumni’s lives. “The organization taught me how to ‘sell’ myself and gave me the confidence to do what is right ‘no matter what.’ The public speaking project/experience placed me head and shoulders above my college classmates.” Female, 43 years old, 4-H member 1969-1978. -H has given me many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. From these opportunities I have acquired many skills that I use in my everyday life. One of the most valuable skills that I got from 4-H is, without a doubt, my ability to communicate with people and to lead. Through 4-H I was able to practice my public speaking skills and overcome my fear of being in front of a crowd of people.” Male, 23 years old, 4-H member for 10 years. Self-confidence and the development of leadership skills were the second most frequently identified life skills learned through participation in 4-H, identified in the written comments by 40 respondents. These testimonials describe this relationship. “The most important quality I found was increased confidence. That confidence comes from the many other life skills I learned in 4-H . . . organizational skills, working with groups of people, learning leadership skills and record keeping are all skills I have learned through 4-H. I don’t want to leave out the attitude I learned from 4-H of serving others – a sense of duty to help others and ‘Make the Best Better.’” Female, 34 years old, 4-H member 1978-1987. -H allowed me the opportunity to grow as an individual and to expand my knowledge of the world. 4-H taught me to believe in myself as well as to strive to be better. It gave me the foundation I needed to become an adult and succeed in life.” Female, 37 years old, 4-H member 1974-1983. “ . . . my 4-H experience was extremely beneficial in preparing for many of the challenges of life. I am confident that I had a great advantage in many adult leadership experiences because of 4-H. I continue to use many of the skills that were nurtured by 4-H activities. 4-H was by far the most important aspect of my youth,

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78 except that of my family.” Male, 46 years old, 4-H member 1966-1975. Basic living skills and responsibilities learned through 4-H projects, being able to set and obtain goals and gaining an appreciation for community and citizenship were each reported by more than 20 4-H alumni. “My parents by and large taught me my life skills, but 4-H provided a venue for the practice of them. Through 4-H meetings, competitions, project work and leadership positions, I gained adult skills as a child. I entered high school with well developed public speaking skills, negotiation skills and leadership skills.” Female, 41 years old, 4-H member 1972-1981. -H also taught me to always do my best and work hard at whatever I do. This work ethic has carried over to college and my career helping me keep good grades and promotions in the work force. I consider 4-H the most influential activity in my life.” Female, 26 years old, 4-H member 1988-1997. -H has given me more in the area of social development . . . it also instilled the desire for giving back to my community in the ways that I am best suited . . . some of the skills I acquired in 4-H are the reason I excel at my career.” Male, 31 years old, 4-H member 1981-1990. Forty-one respondents identified ‘other life skills’ associated with organization and planning as key lessons taken from 4-H. A 27 year old former 4-H’er states: “Often I just thought I was working to complete a project or get ready for an event, but in doing so I learned more about myself and the world around me. Before long it became habit for me to do things a certain way, and I took that into adulthood.” Female, 4-H member 1984-1994. Management, dealing with people of different backgrounds, social skills, communication skills, keeping records and working in teams were

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79 each identified by more than 10 respondents, who described their experiences as follows: -H gave me the opportunity to learn and deal with different life cultures and how to handle different life styles, how to work well with others, respect others and to treat others like you would want treated.” Male, 36 years old, 4-H member 1975-1985. -H brought me out of my ‘shell’ as a child. I learned to speak in front of a group because of 4-H. 4-H trips . . . allowed me to see the world outside of Oklahoma and let me see I could travel and see the United States. 4-H taught me to network with friends and make friends quickly on trips and at 4-H Round-up. 4-H gave me the confidence to express myself and share my ideas.” Female, 43 years old, 4-H member 1970-1978. “One of 4-H’s greatest strengths is kids demonstrating to kids, strong positive capable role models.” Male, 41 years old, 4-H member 1971-1981. “I really value the relationships I had with extension agents as mentors when I was I had growing up. Not all agents fully understood or appreciated their role in influencing youth but most did and were very positive influences during my teenage years.” Male, 44 years old, 4-H member 1968-1977. Quantitative Analysis Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the effects of personal factors and various aspects of the 4-H program on the 4-H Life Skill Inventory Score. An examination of the squared semi-partials also provides insight into the contributions made by conceptually relevant variables in explaining the variance in the 4-H Life Skill Inventory Score. Personal factors entered into the analysis included tenure of 4-H membership, 4-H participation adjusted score and opportunity to grow scale. Variables conceptually related to the 4-H program and included in the analyses were the individual opportunity to grow items (given freedom to develop and use your own skills and included in making important

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80 decisions) and aspects of the 4-H program (adult 4-H volunteers/leaders, 4-H trips, and 4-H club meetings). Finally, because all respondents had concurrently participated in other youth organizations Other Youth Organization Life Skill Inventory Score was added to the analysis. The possibility of violating the assumptions of regression was carefully considered, particularly the assumptions of multi-colliniarity of the dependent variable with the independent variables and between independent variables, the normal distribution of scores of the dependent variable, and the case to variable ratio. A correlation matrix offered assurance that multi-coliniarity was not an issue as the highest correlation between variables was 4-H trips and Life Skills Inventory Score (r = 0.472; p < .01). The large sample size of 223 allowed the inclusion of a maximum of 27 variables yielding a case to variable ratio of 8:1. The final assumption of concern was related to the normal, but positively skewed distribution of the dependent variable and it was determined that this was not so great as to interfere with the actual regression. Because of the robust nature of regression such a violation would have little effect on the regression analysis (Miller, R., personal communication, December 3, 2003). For the initial analysis, 4-H Life Skills Inventory Score was regressed on the respondents’ personal factors, aspects related to the 4-H program and Other Youth Program Life Skills Inventory Score. Stepwise multiple regression was used for this analysis; all variables were entered into the model simultaneously, and the computer program (SPSS, 2001) selected and rejected variables based upon each variable’s unique and significant contribution to the model. The

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81 original regression analysis revealed that personal factors –tenure, level of participation, and Opportunities to Grow Scale did not contribute significantly to the variance and were subsequently removed from the model. Each of the remaining variables contributed significantly to the model as evidenced by the R factor. Table 4-14 presents the best fit model for the total sample “freedom to develop and use skills” (R = 0.287); “adult 4-H volunteers/leaders” (R = 0.158); -H trips” (R = 0.077); “Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score” (R = 0.062); “Included in making important decisions” (R = 0.029); and -H club meetings” (R = 0.014); all contributing to the variance in 4-H Life Skills Inventory scores. Together these variables explained 62.7% (R = 0.627) of the variance in the 4-H Life Skills Inventory score. In order to provide the most detailed information possible to 4-H administrators and program planners, a series of models, controlling for gender and cohort, were developed. Tables 4-15 and 4-16 display the results of the original multiple regression analysis while controlling for gender.

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82 Table 4-14. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Total Sample (n = 223) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 Freedom to develop and use skills 15.20 8.62 0.001 (Constant) 82.88 10.33 0.001 Step 2 Freedom to develop and use skills 13.06 8.23 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 10.09 7.24 0.001 (Constant) 47.90 5.58 0.001 Step 3 Freedom to develop and use skills 10.78 7.02 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.97 5.88 0.001 4-H trips 8.06 5.42 0.001 (Constant) 31.21 3.64 0.001 Step 4 Freedom to develop and use skills 10.16 7.05 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.10 5.55 0.001 4-H trips 7.62 5.48 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.20 5.23 0.001 (Constant) 13.22 1.52 0.131 Step 5 Freedom to develop and use skills 6.75 4.03 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 6.82 5.51 0.001 4-H trips 7.60 5.64 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.18 4.88 0.001 Included in making important decisions 5.00 3.66 0.001 (Constant) 11.42 1.35 0.178 Step 6 Freedom to develop and use skills 6.46 3.91 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 6.10 4.87 0.001 4-H trips 7.01 5.22 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.17 4.68 0.001 Included in making important decisions 4.54 3.35 0.001 4-H club meetings 2.84 2.62 0.010 (Constant) 10.61 1.28 0.204 Step 1: R = 0.287; F = 74.369; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.445; F = 73.699; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.522; F = 66.516; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.584; F = 63.893; p < 0.001 Step 5: R = 0.613; F = 57.275; p < 0.001 Step 6: R = 0.627; F = 50.421; p < 0.001

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83 Table 4-15. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Male (n = 223) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 Freedom to develop and use skills 20.23 6.44 0.001 (Constant) 56.41 3.95 0.001 Step 2 Freedom to develop and use skills 16.22 5.41 0.001 4-H trips 11.03 3.82 0.001 (Constant) 24.03 1.57 0.123 Step 3 Freedom to develop and use skills 14.02 5.25 0.001 4-H trips 10.97 4.35 0.001 4-H club meetings 6.96 4.19 0.001 (Constant) 7.58 0.54 0.589 Step 4 Freedom to develop and use skills 11.52 4.53 0.001 4-H trips 10.56 4.59 0.001 4-H club meetings 5.89 3.81 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 6.92 3.40 0.001 (Constant) -5.99 -0.45 0.655 Step 5 Freedom to develop and use skills 7.89 2.80 0.007 4-H trips 11.97 5.29 0.001 4-H club meetings 4.93 3.24 0.002 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.66 3.91 0.001 Included in making important decisions 5.07 2.50 0.016 (Constant) -16.56 -1.24 0.221 Step 1: R = 0.434; F = 41.442; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.556; F = 33.226; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.668; F = 34.929; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.730; F = 34.408; p < 0.001 Step 5: R = 0.760; F = 31.614; p < 0.001

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84 Table 4-16. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Female (n = 223) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 Included in making important decisions 12.58 7.37 0.001 (Constant) 100.51 13.81 0.001 Step 2 Included in making important decisions 9.78 6.16 0.001 4-H trips 10.24 5.94 0.001 (Constant) 66.32 7.66 0.001 Step 3 Included in making important decisions 8.92 5.96 0.001 4-H trips 9.42 5.80 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.22 4.38 0.001 (Constant) 44.23 4.64 0.001 Step 4 Included in making important decisions 8.52 5.89 0.001 4-H trips 7.70 4.67 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.19 3.78 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 5.28 3.27 0.001 (Constant) 34.70 3.60 0.001 Step 5 Included in making important decisions 5.64 3.22 0.002 4-H trips 6.94 4.25 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.19 3.94 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 5.59 3.55 0.001 Freedom to develop and use skills 5.65 2.76 0.007 (Constant) 23.03 2.24 0.027 Step 1: R = 0.300; F = 54.333; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.453; F = 52.115; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.525; F = 46.123; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.563; F = 39.946; p < 0.001 Step 5: R = 0.589; F = 35.194; p < 0.001 Important differences are observed between males and females in the factors that contribute to the variance in the 4-H Life Skills Inventory scores. For example “freedom to develop and use skills” accounted for 43.4% of the variance for males, yet only 2.6% for females. -H trips” were more predictive of the variance for females (R = 0.153) than males (R = 0.122). -H club meetings” were predictive of life skill scores for males (R = 0.112), but was not

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85 as explicit for females. For females (R = 0.073), “Other Youth Organizations Life Skills Inventory Score” was predictive of life skills, but was not explicit for males. “Adult 4-H leaders/volunteers” were more influential according to the males (R = 0.061) than for the females (R = 0.038). The original multiple regression analysis for cohorts 1 through 3 is displayed in Tables 4-17 through 4-19. Table 4-17. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 1 (n = 82) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 4-H trips 15.33 5.83 0.001 (Constant) 82.11 6.92 0.001 Step 2 4-H trips 13.94 5.55 0.001 Included in making important decisions 8.38 3.15 0.002 (Constant) 53.29 3.70 0.001 Step 3 4-H trips 11.95 4.79 0.001 Included in making important decisions 8.15 3.23 0.002 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 6.55 2.79 0.007 (Constant) 34.60 2.26 0.027 Step 4 4-H trips 10.90 4.42 0.001 Included in making important decisions 7.18 2.88 0.005 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 6.65 2.92 0.005 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.17 2.26 0.027 (Constant) 19.85 1.23 0.225 Step 5 4-H trips 8.70 3.47 0.001 Included in making important decisions 2.31 0.76 0.449 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.62 3.44 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.20 2.70 0.009 Freedom to develop and use skills 9.79 2.61 0.011 (Constant) -1.60 -0.91 0.928 Step 1: R = 0.336; F = 33.927; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.423; F = 24.197; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.485; F = 20.369; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.523; F = 17.510; p < 0.001 Step 5: R = 0.569; F = 16.646; p < 0.001

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86 Table 4-18. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 2 (n = 80) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 13.26 5.83 0.001 (Constant) 93.09 9.14 0.001 Step 2 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 10.83 5.39 0.001 Included in making important decisions 8.98 4.98 0.001 (Constant) 66.54 6.51 0.001 Step 3 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 9.52 4.83 0.001 Included in making important decisions 8.71 5.05 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.17 2.73 0.008 (Constant) 50.00 4.36 0.001 Step 4 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.52 3.57 0.008 Included in making important decisions 8.17 4.84 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.17 2.74 0.001 4-H trips 5.77 2.25 0.028 (Constant) 35.32 2.74 0.008 Step 1: R = 0.343; F = 34.008; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.527; F = 35.595; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.577; F = 28.607; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.609; F = 24.100; p < 0.001

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87 Table 4-19. Regression of Life Skills Inventory Score: Programmatic Aspects of Oklahoma 4-H as Predictors of Life Skill Inventory Score: Cohort 3 (n = 61) Independent Variables Beta t p Step 1 Included in making important decisions 14.04 5.70 0.001 (Constant) 93.76 8.94 0.001 Step 2 Included in making important decisions 12.17 5.36 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 10.62 3.58 0.001 (Constant) 53.45 3.64 0.001 Step 3 Included in making important decisions 10.68 4.98 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 9.41 3.41 0.001 4-H trips 7.34 3.11 0.003 (Constant) 31.96 2.11 0.041 Step 4 Included in making important decisions 9.07 4.41 0.001 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 7.30 2.76 0.008 4-H trips 8.28 3.75 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.20 3.00 0.004 (Constant) 17.55 1.18 0.243 Step 5 Included in making important decisions 5.96 2.68 0.010 Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders 5.43 2.12 0.040 4-H trips 7.19 3.43 0.001 Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory Score 0.22 3.47 0.001 Freedom to develop and use skills 6.74 2.77 0.008 (Constant) 11.39 0.81 0.422 Step 1: R = 0.399; F = 32.532; p < 0.001 Step 2: R = 0.525; F = 26.575; p < 0.001 Step 3: R = 0.606; F = 24.120; p < 0.001 Step 4: R = 0.671; F = 23.410; p < 0.001 Step 5: R = 0.719; F = 22.972; p < 0.001 The three cohorts are categorized by years of participation in the 4-H program and are as follows: Cohort 1 – ages 21 to 33 participating in 4-H during 1989 through 1998, Cohort 2 – ages 34 to 43 participating in 4-H during 1979 through 1988; Cohort 3 – ages 44 to 53 participating in 4-H during 1969 through 1978. -H trips,” “adult 4-H volunteers/leaders,” “included in making important decisions,” and “Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory” contributed to the

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88 development of the Life Skills Inventory Score in all three cohorts. -H trips” were more predictive of the variance for cohort 1 (R = 0.336) than both cohort 2 (R = 0.032) and cohort 3 (R = 0.081). “Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders” were more predictive of the variance for cohort 2 (R = 0.343) than both cohort 1 (R = 0.062) and cohort 3 (R = 0.126). “Included in making important decisions” were more predictive of the variance for cohort 3 (R = 0.399) than both cohort 1 (R = 0.087) and cohort 2 (R = 0.183). The variance accounted for by “Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory” was comparable between cohort 1 (R = 0.062), cohort 2 (R = 0.050), and cohort 3 (R = 0.064). “Freedom to develop and use skills” did not account for any variance in cohort 2, but did account for variance in cohort 1 (R = 0.047) and cohort 3 (R = 0.047). -H club meetings” did not account for variance in any of the cohorts. Research Question 5: How do 4-H alumni compare 4-H with other youth organizations in contributing to the development of life skills? Alternate Hypothesis 3: Persons whose 4-H experiences reflect higher levels of participation will attribute their life skill development to 4-H more than other youth organizations. Paired t-tests were used to compare respondents’ 4-H Life Skills Inventory score with their “Other Youth Organizations Life Skills Inventory” Scores. The 4-H Life Skills Inventory Score is a sum score of the 36 life skills identified by Hendricks (1998), plus public speaking. “Other Youth Organizations Life Skills Inventory Score” includes the same 36 life skills that participants rated when considering their participation in 4-H program. Results of this analysis suggest significantly higher attribution of life skill development to 4-H than to the

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89 secondary youth development organization ( = 18.01; t = 9.925, df = 193; p < .000). Research Question 6: What cohort effect is seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members? An Analysis of Variance was run with Tukey’s post hoc analysis. The following variables were compared by cohort: number of years participated in 4-H; given challenging tasks; included in making important decisions; involved in planning club activities; given freedom to develop and use your own skills; able to make a contribution; given an opportunity to lead others; left program while still eligible to participate; involved in other youth organizations for more than 1 year; adult 4-H volunteer; highest educational level completed; ethnicity; and gender. A significant difference was found between cohorts 1 and 2 for the variable “adult 4-H volunteer” ( = -0.25; p < .05), perhaps because cohort 1 (ages 21 to 33) is the youngest age group and may not have had as much time to devote to volunteering, while cohort 2 (ages 34 to 43) are at the life stage where parents are more involved with kids school and extracurricular activities. These findings are displayed in Table 4-20. Table 4-20. Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Adult 4-H Volunteer Cohorts Cohorts SE Sig* 1 2 -0.25* 0.077 0.005 3 -0.12 0.083 0.317 * p < .05 A significant difference was also found with the highest educational level completed between cohorts 1 and 3 ( = -0.70; p < .05). This could be because the youngest age group is required to have higher levels of education for their jobs and careers. The oldest age group did not require higher levels of

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90 education. Each succeeding cohort needs higher levels of education to compete successfully in the job market. Table 4-21 displays these findings. Table 4-21. Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Education Level Cohorts Cohorts SE Sig* 1 2 -0.37 0.185 0.120 3 -0.70* 0.199 0.001 * p < .05 Significant differences were found in the ethnicity variable between cohorts 1 and 2 ( = -0.03; p < .05) and cohorts 1 and 3 ( = -0.05; p < .05) suggesting that 4-H has become significantly more diverse over time. These findings are displayed in Table 4-22. Table 4-22. Multiple Comparisons between Cohorts: Ethnicity Cohorts Cohorts SE Sig* 1 2 0.24* 0.095 0.030 3 0.27* 0.102 0.022 * p < .05 No other statistically significant differences were found among the cohort groups in regard to these variables. The results presented in this chapter will be discussed in chapter 5. In addition to a discussion of these results, conclusions, programmatic recommendations and limitations will also be presented.

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CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS This chapter readdresses the purpose, guiding research questions, and hypotheses for this research study. Discussion of the research results, conclusions drawn from these results, programmatic recommendations, and the limitations of this study are also presented. Purpose, Guiding Research Questions, and Hypotheses The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of long-term 4-H participation on the development of life-skill competencies known to assist individuals with living a productive and rewarding life. Specific life skills targeted in this research included critical thinking, goal setting, communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, problem solving, decision-making and community service (Targeting Life Skills Model, 2002B). This study involved respondents from Oklahoma who had participated in the 4-H program from 1969 through 1998. These respondents participated in the Oklahoma 4-H program at the highest levels; the sample includes State 4-H Officers, National 4-H Conference delegates, and National 4-H Congress attendees. The research questions and hypotheses which guided this research are presented below: 91

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92 Research Questions: Is there a relationship between tenure of 4-H participation and the development of life skills? Is there a relationship between level of participation in 4-H programs and the development of life skills? What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are correlated with development of higher life skill scores? What aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program are perceived to have made a difference in the lives of its alumni? How do 4-H alumni compare 4-H with other youth organizations in contributing to the development of life skills? What cohort effect is seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members? Hypotheses: No relationship exists between life skill scores and 4-H tenure. No relationship exists between life skill scores and level of 4-H participation. No cohort effects are seen in the development of life skills among long-term 4-H members. Life skill scores are positively related to length of 4-H tenure. Life skill scores are positively related to levels of 4-H participation. Persons whose 4-H experiences reflect higher levels of participation will attribute their life skill development to 4-H more than other youth organizations. Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions derived from the data analyses are discussed below in reference to the study’s research questions and hypotheses. Recommendations for future consideration are presented following the conclusions.

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93 Tenure and Participation Influence the Development of Life Skills The first research questions and related hypotheses for this study involved the relationship between tenure and levels of 4-H participation and the development of life skills. This study found that 4-H members who participate in the 4-H program longer, reported higher life skill scores than those whose tenure was shorter. Though the relationship between tenure of 4-H participation and life skill development was weak, it was positive and significant (r = 0.184; p < .01). In a 4-H club, 4-H’ers are provided with opportunities to develop life skills, by holding an office at the local, county, district, and state levels. The Total Offices Held Adjusted Score for the respondents ( = 8.15; SD = 5.53) ranged from 1 (respondent held one local office) to 27 (where the respondent held several offices at different levels). The majority (67.6%) of the sample had a total adjusted score between 4 and 14; 11.6% had a score between 15 and 27. Seevers and Dormody (1994A; 1995) found that when looking at the participation rate in 4-H activities, participation in fairs, demonstrations, teaching younger members and community service projects were the highest ranked. In addition, McKinley (1999A; 1999B) found the following life skills mentioned by the 4-H alumni as having an impact due to 4-H participation were: leadership, personal goal development, and the ability to relate to others. Morris (1997) reported holding office in 4-H was the highest ranked activity that 4-H’ers identified assisting in the development of leadership life skills. In previous studies, holding office, being a member of a committee, and livestock shows were ranked relatively high in regards to participation (Seevers &

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94 Dormody, 1994A; 1995; Morris, 1997). Richey (2000) “concluded that participation in 4-H promoted leadership life skills development” (p. 42). Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992) also reported that 4-H “participants’ level of leadership life skill development increased as their participation in 4-H activities increased” (). These findings suggest that greater levels of participation in 4-H programs are related to higher Life Skills Inventory Scores (r = 0.222; p < .01). Participation in various 4-H trips such as National 4-H Congress, 4-H Round-Up, and Denver Western Round-Up contribute to the Life Skills Inventory Score of 4-H members. As a 4-H member grows and develops in project areas, they learn various life skills that build on one another. 4-H’ers take what they have learned in one project area and have the ability to apply it to another project area. According to Haskell (2001), “the aim of all education . . . is to apply what we learn in different contexts, and to recognize and extend that learning to completely new situations” (p. 3). 4-H members learn life skills, directly and indirectly, throughout the tenure of their membership. These life skills have the potential to be transferred from a project area, to the county fair, from experiences at 4-H trips, or holding a state 4-H office. This is the transfer of learning theory as it applies to the 4-H program. Almost all learning requires a transfer of learning from a previous situation to a new or current situation. Based on these findings, parents, volunteer leaders, and the county and state staff should strongly encourage participation in 4-H activities as a way to encourage the development of life skills. These activities allow the 4-H’ers to

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95 grow, meet new people, and not only experience new things, but experience them on different levels. The 4-H organization offers these opportunities to youth and therefore members should be informed and encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities whenever they are given the chance. While being elected by one’s peers and holding an office can be perceived to be an honor, the development of life skills is occurring. The higher level of office elected to, the more responsibility and accountability a 4-H’er has. Aspects and Opportunities of the Oklahoma 4-H Program Influence the Development of Life Skills The next guiding research question for this study involved the aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program and the development of higher life skill scores. 4-H trips (r = 0.47; p < .01), club meetings (r = 0.44; p < .01), and adult 4-H volunteers/leaders (r = 0.43; p< .01) were aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program most correlated with the Life Skills Inventory Score. In regard to the opportunities 4-H offers its members, being included in making important decisions (r = 0.43; p < .01) and being given the freedom to develop and use one’s own skills (r = 0.42; p < .01) were the two 4-H opportunities most correlated with the Life Skills Inventory Score. In addition, this research study found that the opportunities that 4-H’ers are given throughout their 4-H membership, such as making decisions and developing and utilizing their own skills, influence their development of life skills. Contrary to these findings, Mustian (1988) found that both 4-H alumni and participants in other organizations rated the opportunity to make a contribution

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96 and to develop skills higher than leadership opportunities, planning activities, making decisions, and challenging tasks. Four-H trips, club meetings, and adult 4-H volunteers/leaders assist 4-H’ers in the development of their life skills. These findings are consistent with what McKinley (1999B) found in regard to the Indiana 4-H program. He found that the aspects of the program where 4-H alumni reported the most impact were: 4-H projects, 4-H adult leaders, other 4-H members, opportunities to compete, 4-H club meetings, awards and prizes received, and 4-H trips. Other research found that 4-H alumni reported their experience in the 4-H organization significantly higher compared to those individuals who were not members of 4-H and were members of other organizations (Ladewig and Thomas, 1985). These experiences included: projects, people, competition/activities, club meetings, awards and prizes, and exchange trips. It was also found that the 4-H volunteers, leaders (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999B; Mustian 1988) and other club members, added value to the 4-H program (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987; McKinley, 1999B) and added to 4-H member’s leadership life skill development (Morris, 1997). Therefore, many aspects and opportunities offered through the Oklahoma 4-H program make a difference in the life skill development of its members. Four-H’ers should be empowered to participate and contribute in club meetings and 4-H trips. Four-H’ers should also be actively involved in making important decisions that affect themselves and the club or activity that they are involved in. It is important that 4-H’ers have a say in what their club is going to do for the

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97 community service projects and what fundraising activities will be planned for the year. Older 4-H members whose cognitive skills are more highly developed should be more involved in these decisions. This gives the 4-H’er an opportunity to use past learning experiences and apply these experiences to a new aspect of learning. This is when the transfer of learning takes place. Cohort Effect and Life Skill Development of Long-Term 4-H Members Another research question that guided this research inquired if there were age cohort effects seen in the development of life skill among long-term 4-H members. Cohorts were defined as follows: Cohort 1 – ages 21 to 33 participating in 4-H during 1989 through 1998; Cohort 2 – ages 34 to 43 participating in 4-H during 1979 through 1988; Cohort 3 – ages 44 to 53 participating in 4-H during 1969 through 1978. An Analysis of Variance was run with Tukey’s post hoc analysis. The following variables were compared by cohort: number of years participated in 4-H; given challenging tasks; included in making important decisions; involved in planning club activities; given freedom to develop and use your own skills; able to make a contribution; given an opportunity to lead others; left program while still eligible to participate; involved in other youth organizations for more than 1 year; adult 4-H volunteer; highest educational level completed; ethnicity; and gender. A significant difference was found between cohorts 1 and 2 for the variable adult 4-H volunteer ( = -0.25; p < .05). A significant difference was also found with the highest educational level completed between cohorts 1 and 3 ( = -0.70; p < .05). Significant differences were found in the ethnicity variable between cohorts 1 and 2 ( = -0.03; p < .05) and cohorts 1 and 3 ( = -0.05; p <

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98 .05) possibly suggesting that 4-H has become significantly more diverse over time. No other significant differences were found among the cohort groups. It is possible that the difference found for the adult 4-H volunteers/leaders occurs because cohort 1 (ages 21 to 33) is the youngest age group and may not have had as much time to devote to volunteering with the 4-H organization, while cohort 2 (ages 34 to 43) are at the life stage where they are parents and may be more involved with their children’s school and extracurricular activities. Individuals who fall into cohort 1 are either still in school pursuing professional degrees or just getting started on their professional career. They may or may not have children, but if they do have children, it is likely that the children are very young. Individuals who fall into cohort 2 are busy not only with their careers, but busy with their families as well. Others may be stay-at-home parents who are no longer in the workforce, which would allow them to be more involved in their child’s or children’s schooling and extracurricular activities. In addition, the parents in cohort 2 are often more involved in their child’s or children’s activities in the years before their children receive their driver’s licenses. One reason for the difference found among the cohorts in relation to education could be because the youngest age group is required to have higher levels of education for their jobs and careers. As mentioned above, individuals who fall into cohort 1 may still be pursuing their education and acquiring professional degrees. To compete successfully in today’s job market, higher degrees are required. Those individuals who fall into cohort 3 may not have needed higher levels of education. Some did pursue a college degree and

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99 beyond, but these degrees were not in as high demand as they are today. Each succeeding cohort needs higher levels of education to compete successfully in the job market. The differences found among the cohorts when examining the differences for ethnicity are interesting, but not conclusive. Aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H Program and the Difference Made A qualitative research question was included to identify other aspects of the Oklahoma 4-H program that were perceived to have made a difference in the lives of its alumni. One hundred sixty-nine respondents provided extensive written responses in regard to this research question. Public speaking was the most reported life skill, identified by more than 75 respondents as a key life skill obtained through 4-H. Self-confidence and the development of leadership skills were the second most frequently identified life skills learned through participation in 4-H, identified in the written comments of 40 respondents. Other findings included: basic living skills, responsibility, community appreciation, goal setting, management, social skills, keeping records, working in teams, and dealing with people of different backgrounds. Testimonials provided by respondents add further support to these findings. The testimonials below represent each of the cohorts studied in this sample, cohort 1 through cohort 3 respectively: -H has given me many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. From these opportunities I have acquired many skills that I use in my everyday life. One of the most valuable skills that I got from 4-H is, without a doubt, my ability to communicate with people and to lead. Through 4-H I was able to practice my public speaking skills and overcome my fear of being in front of a crowd of people.” Male, 23 years old, 4-H member for 10 years.

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100 “Often I just thought I was working to complete a project or get ready for an event, but in doing so I learned more about myself and the world around me. Before long it became habit for me to do things a certain way, and I took that into adulthood.” Female, 4-H member 1984-1994. “ . . . my 4-H experience was extremely beneficial in preparing for many of the challenges of life. I am confident that I had a great advantage in many adult leadership experiences because of 4-H. I continue to use many of the skills that were nurtured by 4-H activities. 4-H was by far the most important aspect of my youth, except that of my family.” Male, 46 years old, 4-H member 1966-1975. In a study of 4-H animal science alumni, Ward (1996) found that decision making, the ability to relate to others, public speaking, spirit of inquiry, ability to maintain records, self-esteem, and responsibility averaged a 4.0 response on a 5 point Likert-scale. A study conducted by Rodriguez, Hirschl, Mead, and Goggin (1999) found that the majority (over 63%) of 4-H agents felt the main goal of the 4-H clubs was to develop life skills. These researchers also found that more than 50% of 4-H members said that 4-H had helped them learn the following life skills: accepting people who are different, communicating ideas, feeling confident about myself, keeping records, leadership, making decisions, making healthy choices, nutrition and food safety, planning/organizing, resolving conflict, setting goals, solving problems, and working as a team. These testimonials, including those shared in chapter 4, suggests that 4-H has made a difference in the lives of Oklahoma 4-H alumni. One man wrote, “I continue to use many of the skills that were nurtured by 4-H activities.” This proves that the 4-H organization provides a starting point for the transfer of learning to take place. This 4-H alum continues to utilize and refine skills “that

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101 were nurtured by 4-H activities.” This also establishes the importance of 4-H activities and projects. It is through these things that 4-H’ers have learned and will continue to learn life skills that will benefit them into adulthood. Predicting Life Skill Inventory Scores: The Impact of Personal Factors and Aspects of the 4-H Program Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the effects of personal factors and various aspects of the 4-H program on the 4-H Life Skill Inventory Score. In chapter 4, table 4-14 presents the best fit model for the total sample. Freedom to develop and use skills, adult 4-H volunteers/leaders, 4-H trips, Other Youth Organization Life Skills, included in making important decisions, and 4-H club meetings all contributing to the variance in 4-H Life Skills Inventory scores, explaining 62.7% of the variance in the 4-H Life Skills Inventory Score. Important differences were observed between males and females in the factors that contribute to the variance in the 4-H Life Skills Inventory scores and can be found in tables 4-15 and 4-16 in chapter 4. Therefore analyses were conducted controlling for gender. For example freedom to develop and use skills accounted for 43.4% of the variance for males, yet only 2.6% for females. For females (R = 0.073), Other Youth Organizations Life Skills Inventory Score accounted for 7% of the variance in the Life Skills Inventory Scores, but was not strong enough to remain in the model for males. Adult 4-H leaders/volunteers were more influential according to the males (R = 0.061) than for the females (R = 0.038). While these differences are interesting, it is not clear if they are statistically significant.

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102 Four-H trips, adult 4-H volunteers/leaders, being included in making important decisions, and Other Youth Organization Life Skills contributed to the variance in the Life Skills Inventory Score in all three cohorts (Tables 4-17 through 4-19). Four-H trips were more predictive of the variance for cohort 1 (R = 0.336) than both cohort 2 (R = 0.032) and cohort 3 (R = 0.081). Adult 4-H volunteers/leaders were more predictive of the variance for cohort 2 (R = 0.343) than both cohort 1 (R = 0.062) and cohort 3 (R = 0.126). Included in making important decisions was more predictive of the variance for cohort 3 (R = 0.399) than both cohort 1 (R = 0.087) and cohort 2 (R = 0.183). The variance accounted for by Other Youth Organization Life Skills Inventory was comparable between cohort 1 (R = 0.062), cohort 2 (R = 0.050), and cohort 3 (R = 0.064). Freedom to develop and use skills did not account for any variance in cohort 2, but did account for variance in cohort 1 (R = 0.047) and cohort 3 (R = 0.047). Four-H club meetings did not account for variance in any of the cohorts. According to Collins (1986), females reported learning more life skills through 4-H than the males did. Females also rated the following skills significantly higher than the males: communication skills, relating to change skills, and problem solving skills. In Collins (1986) study, there was no significant difference found between the genders on the following skills: inquiry skills, decision making, and relationship skills. Participants were also asked about their “perceptions about who influenced their life skills development through 4-H” (Collins, 1986, 8). The top three individuals mentioned were the mother

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103 (89.7%), the 4-H leader (76.5%), and the father (75.1%). Others included on the list in rank order were: a 4-H friend their age, an adult friend, county extension staff member, sister and/or brother, and former 4-H’er. Both genders ranked the same four influential individuals most frequently, but these people were ranked in a different order of frequency. The differences found between males and females may have resulted because of the different areas of interest. Extracurricular activities for both males and females were often different. Males were more likely to be involved in athletics and females were more likely to be a member of other youth organizations. The differences found among the cohort groups may exist because the developmental needs of each cohort were different. In regard to life skill development, Cohort 3 may have needed to be involved in making important decisions where cohort 1 placed more value on the 4-H trip experiences. Cohort 2 may have felt that the adult 4-H volunteers/leaders or mentors played a more important part in their life skill development. There is a lack of research when comparing gender differences and the development of life skills through 4-H as well as age differences. Alum Attribute Life Skill Development more to 4-H than Other Youth Organizations The next research question for this study examined how 4-H alumni compared 4-H with other youth organizations in regard to life skill development. Paired t-tests were used to compare respondents’ 4-H Life Skills Inventory score with their Other Youth Organizations Life Skills Inventory Scores. Results of this

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104 analysis suggest significantly higher attribution of life skill development to 4-H than to the secondary youth development organization ( = 18.01; t = 9.925, df = 193; p < .000). Boyd, Herring, and Briers (1992) research supports these research findings. They found that teen 4-H members had significantly higher perceptions of their development of leadership life skills when compared to non 4-H members. Miller and Bowen (1993) also found that the participation in 4-H or other clubs had a solid influence in regard to the development of competency, coping, and contributory life skills. These research findings are especially important because they are contrary to what Ladewig and Thomas (1987) and Morris (1997) found. Ladewig and Thomas (1987) reported that 53% of those who participated in the National 4-H Alumni Study were 4-H alumni and who were also members in other youth organizations felt that a good number of their experiences in those other youth organizations helped them more in developing their leadership skills and having more responsibility than the 4-H organization did. They also found that more often than not, 4-H alumni were more involved than others in their particular organization. Morris (1997) reported that the 4-H members felt that their school activities assisted somewhat more with their leadership life skill development than 4-H. In regard to leadership life skill development, Dormody and Seevers (1994A) found that “participation in leadership activities was a much weaker predictor . . . for FFA members than for 4-H members” (p. 20).

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105 Townsend and Carter (1983) found a positive and significant correlation between participation score and the leadership aspect of the FFA program. When looking at the overall FFA program, “students with participation in local activities seemed to attain higher personal development. In fact, state and national participants had lower perceptions of themselves in the area of cooperation” (p. 24). Contrary to Townsend and Carter (1993), Scanlon and Burkett (1986) found no significant relationship when looking at the FFA participation level and the interpersonal skill development, which included the following skills: achievement via conformance, communality, dominance, good impression, responsibility, self-acceptance, and socialization. Members of other organizations also report that holding an office as important. FFA members, who participated in a tri-state study, identified the following top five activities that contributed to the participants’ leadership life skill development: judging contests, public speaking, chapter meetings, holding office, and parliamentary procedure (Dormody & Seevers, 1994B). Those FFA members who participated in the Washington Conference Program, judging contests, public speaking, National FFA Convention, and holding office (Dormody & Seevers, 1994A; Dormody & Seevers, 1994B) were referred to as making “the greatest contributions to their leadership life skill development” (Dormody & Seevers, 1994B, p. 46). The results found in this study suggest that alumni of the Oklahoma 4-H program may attribute their life skill development to 4-H rather than to other youth organizations they may have belonged to.

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106 4-H Volunteering and Community Involvement as an Adult Participants were asked if they were currently or if they had ever been an adult 4-H volunteer. If they answered yes, they were asked what type of volunteer they are, or had been. In this study, 45% of the 4-H alumni reported being a 4-H volunteer at some point in time. The capacities in which they volunteered include: 46% served as a club/organizational leader, 39% served as a project leader, and 51% were committee members. Other 4-H related volunteer capacities included: contest judge (15%) and board member (5%). Twenty-three percent identified a wide variety of other volunteer roles in which they had served. In addition to 4-H, the participants were also asked to describe involvement in other community activities as an adult. Respondents identified community involvement related to athletics, religious, school, vocational/career development, youth development, and a variety of community service organizations. Fifty-six percent (56%) of the respondents reported volunteering with religious organizations; 34.2% with athletics, and 14.9% volunteered with the Future Farmers of America organization. Unlike McKinley (1999A; 1999B), this study found that almost half of 4-H alumni in this study volunteer with 4-H organizations. McKinley (1999A; 1999B) found that 24% of Indiana 4-H Alumni in his study reported having volunteered with the 4-H organization. He concluded that -H alumni volunteer in their communities, but not in 4-H” (1999B, p. 4-6).

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107 McKinley (1999A; 1999B) also found that in relation to participating in non 4-H community activities, 39% said they do not have time, but 17 individuals reported being active in their clhurch, which was the most frequently mentioned. Ladewig and Thomas (1987) also found that 4-H alumni as adults were significantly more involved with community activities than were non 4-H alumni. Oklahoma 4-H alumni are more involved in volunteering, especially with the 4-H organization. Both McKinley (1999A; 1999B) and Ladewig and Thomas (1987) found that 4-H alumni in Indiana and around the nation volunteer in their community, but not with the 4-H organization. Therefore, Oklahoma 4-H alumni appear to be ready and willing to give back to the organization that gave them the opportunity to travel, compete, the opportunity to college with some financial support, and much more. It may be that they want to see other youth have the same opportunities they had as a child. Summary of Research Findings The 4-H aspects found to be the most influential in the Oklahoma 4-H program were: 4-H trips (r = 0.47; p < .01); 4-H club meetings (r = 0.44; p < .01); and adult 4-H volunteers/leaders (r = .043; p < .01). These findings were consistent with what McKinley (1999B) found with the Indiana 4-H Alumni. Being included in making important decisions (r = 0.43; p < .01) and being given the freedom to develop and use one’s own skills (r = 0.42; p .01) were the most important opportunities identified by the respondents in this study. The cohort differences found among the three cohorts identified in this study were: adult 4-H volunteer; educational level, and ethnicity. Cohort differences for adult 4-H volunteer were found between cohort 1 and cohort 2 (

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108 = -0.25; p < .05). Education also had a cohort difference between cohort 1 and cohort 3 ( = -0.70; p < .05). In addition, ethnicity also had cohort differences between cohort 1 and cohort 2 ( = -0.03; p < .05) and cohort 1 and cohort 3 ( = -0.05; p < .05). The variables that were identified in the best fit model for predicting the variance for the Life Skills Inventory Score were: freedom to develop and use own skills; adult 4-H volunteers/leaders; 4-H trips; Other Youth Organization Life Skills; included in making important decisions; and 4-H club meetings. These variables made up 62.7% of the variance of the Life Skills Inventory Score as reported by the respondents in this study. It was also found that 4-H alumni are more likely to credit the 4-H program with their life skill development than to other youth organizations ( = 18.01; t = 9.925; df = 193; p < .000). Forty-five percent (45%) of the respondents in this study reported serving as a 4-H volunteer at some point in time. This is contrary to what McKinley found of Indiana 4-H alumni. He reported that only 24% of Indiana 4-H alumni volunteered with the 4-H program at some point in time. It is also important to point out that 61.5% of the respondents in this study resided on a farm while participating in the Oklahoma 4-H program. In addition, 10.4% of the respondents of this study were reported as being American Indian. Recommendations for the Oklahoma 4-H Program From this data, one can deduce a number of inferences that 4-H’ers who are members of 4-H for longer periods of time have more highly developed life skills and that they attribute many of these skills to their participation in 4-H. Those who participated on a variety of levels also have a higher life skill

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109 development score. This research also found that 4-H trips, club meetings, and adult 4-H volunteers/leaders assisted 4-H’ers in the development of their life skills. The opportunities that 4-H’ers were given throughout their 4-H membership, such as making decisions and developing and utilizing their own skills, influenced their development of life skills as well. Specific life skills that 4-H alumni identified as most beneficial in their adult lives included: public speaking, self-confidence, leadership skills, basic living skills, responsibility, community appreciation, goal setting, management, social skills, keeping records, working in teams, and dealing with people of different backgrounds. The results of paired t-tests suggest that respondents attributed their life skill development to the Oklahoma 4-H program rather than to the secondary youth development organization ( = 18.01; t = 9.925, df = 193; p < .000). But 4-H alone cannot teach all the life skills one needs. The life skills that are learned and enhanced by the participation in other youth organizations also contribute to the variance of the 4-H Life Skills Inventory Score. In addition to other youth organizations and other life skills mentioned above, freedom to develop and use skills and being included in making important decisions, were also found to be important in explaining the variance in the 4-H life skills, therefore contributing to the life skill development. With these findings in mind, the author makes the following recommendations: The Oklahoma 4-H program needs to find ways to keep 4-H members involved in the youth program longer. Additional incentives need to be

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110 developed that appeal to older youth in 4-H. 4-H’ers should be informed about these opportunities, as well as the current incentives (i.e., trips, scholarships). Adults (i.e., extension professionals, parents, volunteers) should be actively encouraging 4-H members to participate in these activities. In addition to incentives, a mentor program where matching up an older 4-H with a younger 4-H member may help with the retention of 4-H’ers into their teens. This kind of program would allow for a younger 4-H’er to see what he or she has to look forward to when they become his or her mentor’s age. The 4-H program must remain current and responsive to changing social, demographic, educational, and cultural norms. The youth of today are not what the youth of yesterday were, nor what the youth of tomorrow will be. Therefore, the 4-H program should adapt to the needs of the clientele. Following each decennial census, a 4-H needs assessment should be conducted to determine needed changes. A connection with other youth organizations needs to be established or further developed. As stated earlier, 4-H cannot develop life skills alone. Cooperation between other youth organizations and the 4-H program will benefit youth and the development of their life skills. Youth need on going opportunities to grow and develop. Including them in making decisions that concern the club, county, district, and state 4-H programs is key. Allow them to use their expertise to make these decisions. Give them challenging tasks not only within their project work, but where they work with and along side their peers and with adults.

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111 4-H alumni are ready and willing to volunteer with the organization where they spent countless hours working on projects, traveling, and meeting people. Reaching out to the 4-H alumni not only helps build the 4-H volunteer base, but also allows 4-H alumni to be a mentor. One 4-H alumni wrote that he valued the relationships that he had with the extension agents as mentors. This allows the 4-H alumni to give back to the organization that gave them opportunities to grow and develop. Recommendations for Further Research After reviewing the literature for this research study and reading the comments from the Oklahoma 4-H Alumni, the author makes the following recommendations: Parents play a huge part in the success of 4-H members. One 4-H alum wrote, “One very important factor in my 4-H participation that is not addressed in this study is parental support.” Not only should additional studies be conducted regarding the family aspect of the 4-H program, 4-H needs to acknowledge and include the family more. This can help 4-H build the 4-H partnership with parents that it needs, because without the parents behind the 4-H’ers chances for success are compromised. There was a tremendous lack of literature that researched other youth organizations and the life skill development. Therefore, it is recommended to other youth organizations that life skill developments are considered and studied.

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112 The 4-H program has had studies look at life skill development and aspects of the 4-H program. It is recommended that the 4-H program look more specifically at 4-H trips, record books and project work, and other specific aspects and opportunities 4-H offers in relation to life skill development. Evaluation of this Research Study An assumption and a limitation to this study was the expectation that long-term 4-H members will feel high positive regard for the 4-H program. There was the potential to have unforeseen internal validity problems with the instrument because this research was based upon participant recall; they may have misattributed their life skill development to 4-H giving 4-H credit for life skills they may have learned at home, from school, athletics, church, or other youth development organizations. The use of a convenience sample was also limitation of this study, preventing generalizability of the results beyond the study population. Despite the limitations of this research study, overall, the methods used to conduct this research study proved to be effective in answering the research questions and hypotheses that were presented. Oklahoma 4-H Alumni Comments 4-H has come along way from that first corn club meeting held on a Saturday morning in 1902 in the basement of a county building. Albert B. Graham started this 4-H movement with the idea of educating young children about corn so these children could take what they learned back home to their parents; educating the children so the parents would be educated.

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113 One century later, 4-H is still a strong effective and well-respected youth development organization. Through participation in 4-H projects and events, and the opportunity to grow and develop, 4-H’ers develop extensive life skills. Throughout adolescence and into adulthood, 4-H members/alumni transfer that knowledge and those skills into other aspects of their everyday lives. One alum wrote that there were multiple opportunities for her to not only develop skills, but to make use of the learning resources and to utilize the support of the volunteers. That was all part of the 4-H experience to this alum. Another 4-H alum wrote: 4-H definitely made an impact on the development of my life skills. I know what a great program 4-H is to our youth and that is why I chose to come back and be an adult volunteer. Through 4-H I learned the importance of setting goals and even how to deal with the hardships when you don’t achieve them. Let the 4-H tradition continue, “To Make the Best Better.”

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APPENDIX A LIFE SKILL DEFINITIONS The following life skills were included in the Life Skill Inventory used in this study, as reported in Hendricks, 1998, p. 29-33. Accepting Differences – to recognize and welcome factors that separate or distinguish one person from another. Character – a person’s moral strength; integrity, fortitude, reputation; a person’s usual qualities or traits; adherence to a code of values or ethical principles. Communication – exchange of thoughts, information, or messages between individuals; sending and receiving information using speech, writing, gestures, and artistic expression. Community Service/Volunteering – to donate one’s time and/or effort of one’s own free will for the benefit of the group without guarantee. Concern for others – to worry about, give attention to, the well being of others. Conflict Resolution – finding and applying creative and nondestructive ways to resolve differences between two or more persons; getting along with others. Contributions to group efforts – to give or supply along with others for a common purpose. 114

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115 Cooperation – to work or act together for a common purpose or mutual benefit. Critical Thinking – strategies for analyzing, comparing, reasoning, and reflecting focused on deciding what to believe or do; discovering meaning; building connections with past learning. Decision Making – choosing among several alternatives. Disease Prevention – to anticipate and ward off conditions that keep the body from functioning normally, such as infection or stress that impairs normal physiological functioning. Empathy – being sensitive to or identifying with another person’s situation, feelings, or motives. Goal Setting – deciding on the purpose or desired result; something to work toward. Healthy Lifestyle Choices – selecting a way of living that is in accord with sound condition of body and mind, prevention of disease and injury. Keeping Records – recording selected useful information, usually focused for a specific purpose. Leadership – to assist the group in meeting its goals by showing or directing along the way; using personal influence to guide the group in reaching its goals. Learning to Learn – acquiring, evaluating, and using information; understanding the methods and skills for learning.

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116 Managing Feelings – expressing one’s feelings appropriately and in proportion to circumstance. Nurturing Relationships – two or more people form a connection that contributes to their mutual well being, each providing care and attention to the other person. Personal Safety – taking care to avoid danger, risk, or harm; self-protection; being cautious, careful; physically and emotionally safe. Planning/Organizing – a method for doing something that has been thought out ahead of time; how the parts can be put together. Problem Solving – clearly identifying a problem and a plan of action for resolution of the problem. Public Speaking – the ability to effectively communicate in front of a group of people (not a Hendrick’s skill). Resiliency – adaptability; the ability to recover after experiencing misfortune or disease; coping with change; overcoming problems and difficulties. Responsible Citizenship – an individual demonstrating love and devotion in response to duties, rights, and privileges as a member of a community or country. Self-discipline – control of self and one’s conduct in line with moral character (what is right and wrong), personal values (what one considers important), and societal expectations; control before acting in a hurtful or harmful way.

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117 Self-esteem – pride in oneself; proper regard for oneself as a human being; valuing oneself; a feeling of ability to cope; learning to accept and like oneself. Self-motivation – able to make the needed effort to carry out a task or a plan; personal will to take action. Self-responsibility – taking care of oneself; being accountable for one’s behavior and obligations; choosing for oneself between right and wrong. Service Learning – gaining skill and experience through active participation in organized service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated with the school and community; learning linked with real life. Sharing – to have, use, or do together with another or others. Social Skills – skills people use when interacting with others and to behave in the accepted manner or customs of the society in which they live; adapting well to one’s social environment. Stress Management – to direct or have control over physical or mental strain and pressure, or one’s reaction to it; coping with change. Teamwork – work done by two or more people, each doing parts of the whole task. Useful/Marketable Skills – to have the abilities wanted by employers and needed to hold a job. Wise Use of Resources – using sound judgment; not wasteful; being responsible; setting priorities.

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APPENDIX B OKLAHOMA 4-H ALUMNI STUDY 2003 QUESTIONNAIRE 118

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APPENDIX C IRB APPROVAL LETTER 130

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APPENDIX D INITIAL POSTCARD 131

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APPENDIX E COVER LETTERS 132

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APPENDIX F THANK YOU AND REMINDER POSTCARD 135

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LIST OF REFERENCES Arnett, J.J. (2001). Adolescence and emerging adulthood: A cultural approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Boyd, B.L., Herring, D.R., & Briers, G.E. (1992). Developing life skills in youth. Journal of Extension 30(4). Retrieved July 13, 2002, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1992winter/a4.html Cantrell, J., Heinsohn, A.L., & Doebler, M.K. (1989). Is it worth the costs? Journal of Extension 27(1). Retrieved July 13, 2002, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1989spring/a4.html Carter, R.I. & Neason, A.B. (1984). Participation in FFA and self-perceptions of personal development. Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 25(3), 39-44. Collins, O.P. (1986). Who’s the real teacher? Journal of Extension, 24(1). Retrieved July 13, 2002, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1986spring/a3.html Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. (2003). Learn about CSREES. Retrieved February 12, 2003, from http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/about/about_csrees.htm Dillman, D.A. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Dormody, T.J. & Seevers, B.S. (1994). Improving leadership development in 4-H and FFA. The Agricultural Education Magazine 67(5), 20-21 & 23. Dormody, T.J. & Seevers, B.S. (1994). Participation of FFA members in leadership development activities: A tri-state study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 35(4), 42-48. Dormody, T.J. & Seevers, B.S. (1994). Predicting youth leadership life skills development among FFA members in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Journal of Agricultural Education, 35(2), 65-71. Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W.W. Norton. 136

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137 Haskell, R.E. (2001). Transfer of learning: Cognition, instruction, and reasoning. San Diego, California: Academic Press. Hendricks, P.A. (1998). Developing youth curriculum using the targeting life skills model. Iowa State University. Ladewig, H. & Thomas, J.K. (1987). Assessing the impact of 4-H on former members. The Texas A&M University System. McKinley, S.K. (1999). 4-H alumni perceptions regarding the impact of the Indiana 4-H program. Unpublished doctorial dissertation, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. McKinley, S.K. (1999, October). 4-H alumni perceptions regarding the impact of the Indiana 4-H program. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, Pittsburgh, PA. Miller, J. P. & Bowen, B.E. (1993). Competency, coping, and contributory life skills development of early adolescents. Journal of Agricultural Education 34(1). Retrieved July 13, 2002, from http://pubs.aged.tamu.edu/jae/pdf/Vol34/34-01-68.pdf Morril Act (2 July 1862, Ch. 130, 12 Stat. 503), 12 United States Statutes at Large, 503-505. Morris, C. (1997, October). Self-perceived youth leadership life skill development among Iowa 4-H members. Paper presented at the Galaxy Summit Extension Conference, Cincinnati, OH. Mustian, R.D. (1988). Impact study, 4-H: Assessing the impact of 4-H on former members in North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, North Carolina State University. National 4-H Council. (2000A). 4-H info. Retrieved January 22, 2003, from http://www.fourhcouncil.edu/aboutus/main.asp?subid=39&catid=4 National 4-H Council. (2000B). 4-H mission, vision, values, and core capabilities. Retrieved January 22, 2003, from http://www.fourhcouncil.edu/aboutus/category.asp?scatid=166&catid=4&subid=39 National 4-H Council. (2000C). Mission and strategic directions. Retrieved January 22, 2003, from http://www.fourhcouncil.edu/aboutus/main.asp?subid=14&catid=4

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138 National 4-H Web. (n.d.). What is 4-H? Retrieved November 30, 2002, from http://www.4-h.org/info/whatis.php3 Oklahoma 4-H. (n.d.A). 4-H Membership. Retrieved October 27, 2002, from http://clover.okstate.edu/fourh/ Oklahoma 4-H. (n.d.B). 4-H Club. Retrieved October 13, 2003, from http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/about4h02/club.htm Oklahoma 4-H. (n.d.C). Resources. Retrieved October 27, 2002, from http://clover.okstate.edu/fourh/ Oklahoma 4-H. (n.d.D). 4-H Volunteers. Retrieved October 13, 2003, from http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/volun02/4hvolunt.htm Oklahoma 4-H Ambassador Handbook. (1997). Unpublished manuscript, Oklahoma State University at Stillwater. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. (2003). Division of agricultural sciences and natural resources – Bringing the university to Oklahomans everywhere. Retrieved February 12, 2003, from http://www1.dasnr.okstate.edu/oces/ Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services. (2000, May 13). 4-H members and volunteers make a difference in communities. OK clover, 12. Retrieved May 13, 2003, from http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/newpage/n&e/okclover.pdf Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. (n.d.). The Oklahoma cooperative extension service: An integrated information delivery system for Oklahomans. Retrieved February 12, 2003, from http://www.dasnr.okstate.edu/oces/integra.htm Oklahoma’s History. (n.d.). Oklahoma’s history. Retrieved November 30, 2002, from http://www.otrd.state.ok.us/StudentGuide/history.html Oklahoma State University. (2002 – 2003). Collegiate 4-H. Retrieved on October 13, 2003, from http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/college.htm Perry, D.G. (1984). Social development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Piaget, J. (1972). The principles of genetic epistemology. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Publishers.

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139 Prepared and engaged youth: National 4-H impact assessment project. (2001). Retrieved on September 1, 2003 from http://www.ag.arizona.edu/icyf/ evaluation/4himpactreport.pdf Purdue University. (2003). Four-fold youth development. Retrieved October 17, 2003, from http://www.four-h.purdue.edu/fourfold/ Ricketts, S.C. & Newcomb L.H. (1984). Leadership and personal development abilities possessed by high school seniors who are members in superior and non-superior FFA chapters, and by seniors who were never enrolled in vocational agriculture. Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 25(2), 51-59. Richey, P.G.F. (2000). An analysis of leadership life skills development through 4-H in the north Texas district. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University – Commerce. Rodriguez, E., Hirschl, T.A., Mead, J.P., & Goggin, S.E. (1999). Understanding the difference 4-H clubs make in the lives of New York youth: How 4-H contributes to positive youth development. Retrieved October 15, 2003 from http://www.cce.cornell.edu/4h/Documents/final_report.rtf Royse, D. (1998). Scouting and girl scout curriculum as interventions: Effects on adolescents’ self-esteem. Adolescence, 33(129), 159-168. Retrieved October 15, 2003 from Academic Search Premier. Scanlon, D.C. & Burket, L. (1986). The influence of selected FFA factors in developing the interpersonal skills of students studying vocational agriculture. Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture 27(4), 51-56. Seevers, B.S., Graham, D., Gamon, J., & Conklin, N. (1997). Education through cooperative extension. Delmar Publishers: New York. Seevers, B.S., & Dormody, T.J. (1994A). 4-H youth participation in leadership development activities: A tri-state study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 35(4), 49-54. Seevers, B.S. & Dormody, T.J. (1995). Leadership life skills development: Perceptions of senior 4-H youth. Journal of Extension 33(4). Retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/1995august/rb1.html Seevers, B.S., & Dormody, T.J. (1994B). Predicting youth life skills development among senior 4-H members: A tri-state study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 35(3), 64-69.

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140 SPSS. (2001). Statistical package for the social sciences for windows release. Chicago, IL. Targeting Life Skills Model, Iowa State University Extension. (n.d.A). Retrieved September 24, 2002, from http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4H/lifeskills/homepage.html Targeting Life Skills Model, Iowa State University Extension. (n.d.B). Retrieved September 24, 2002, from http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4H/lifeskills/previewwheel.html Townsend, C.D. & Carter, R.I. (1983). The relationship of participation in FFA activities and leadership, citizenship, and cooperation. Journal of the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 24(1), 20-25. United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.A). Mission Areas, Agencies, and Offices. Retrieved February 12, 2003, from http://www.usda.gov/agencies.html United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.B). Mission of USDA Agencies and Offices. Retrieved February 10, 2003, from http://www.usda.gov/mission/miss-toc.htm United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.C). Welcome to the United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved February 10, 2003, from http://www.usda.gov/welcome/ United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.D). CSREES – Organizational chart. Retrieved on February 10, 2003 from: http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/about/about_orgchart.htm United States Department of Agriculture National 4-H Headquarters (2003). 4-H lore. Retrieved October 31, 2003, from http://www.national4-hheadquarters.gov/4h_artifacts.htm Van Horn, B.E., Flanagan, C.A., & Thomson, J.S. (1998). The first fifty years of the 4-H program (part 1). Journal of Extension 36(6). Retrieved July 13, 2002, from http://www.joe.org/joe/1998december/comm2.html Ward, C.K. (1996). Life skill development related to participation in 4-H animal science projects. Journal of Extension 34(2). Retrieved May 28, 2002, from http://www.joe.org//joe/1996april/rb2.html Washington State University Cooperative Extension. (2001). Life Skills Evaluation System. Retrieved June 5, 2003 from http://ext.wsu.edu/lifeskills/

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141 Werner-Wilson, R.J. (2001). Developmental-systemic family therapy with adolescents. New York: The Haworth Clinical Practice Press. Wessel, T. & Wessel, M. (1982). 4-H: An American idea 1900-1980 a history of 4-H. Chevy Chase, MD: National 4-H Council.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sarah Elizabeth Maass was born in Oklahoma City, OK, in 1979. While growing up she was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Okarche, OK. She was a member of 4-H for 10 years and a member of FFA for 4 years. While a member of 4-H, she served as an Oklahoma State 4-H Ambassador for 2 years. In addition, she held numerous local and county offices. She was awarded the Kingfisher County 4-H Hall of Fame in 1995 and the State 4-H Foods and Nutrition Award in 1997. While a member of FFA, she received the Greenhand, Chapter, and State FFA Degrees. She also served as the Kingfisher FFA Chapter Parliamentarian. She graduated Kingfisher High School in 1997. Sarah attended Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she completed her bachelor’s degree in May, 2001, in family relations and child development. While attending OSU, she was active in Collegiate 4-H and the Student Government Association (SGA). She served as Collegiate 4-H President and Secretary as well as the Southern Region Secretary/Newsletter Editor. While a member of SGA she served as a Senator for both the Residential Halls Association and the Off-Campus Student Association. She served on numerous committees as well as serving as the Budget Chair for two academic semesters. While serving her constituents as a Senator, she was awarded Outstanding Committee Chair as well as Outstanding Senator. 142

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143 Sarah attended the University of Florida (UF) where she completed her Master of Science degree in May, 2004. While at UF she was a charter member of both Collegiate 4-H and Family, Youth and Community Sciences Graduate Student Association where she served as President of both organizations. In addition, Sarah served as a co-advisor to the Florida State 4-H Ambassadors for two years. She was also a student member of the National Council on Family Relations. In January, 2004, she will be employed with the Kansas Cooperative Extension Service as a 4-H Extension Agent in Lyon County, Kansas.