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Youth development researchers have studied aspects of the 4-H experiential learning model, its benefits and outcomes, in traditional and urban settings.

Reports & articles

Southeast Minnesota 4-H Regional Camp Counselor Evaluation (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Carolyn Dingfelder, Samantha Grant, Ann Walter, Meghan Wall, Kelly Wilkins
This intensive evaluation of the 2012 4-H camp counselor experience in southeast Minnesota includes the evaluation process, key findings and recommendations. These findings should help others as they plan and deliver 4-H camp counselor training and experiences. 2012

The Positive Development of Youth
National 4-H Council
A report of the findings from the first eight years of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, sometimes referred to as "The Tufts Study." 2012

Creating New Program Opportunities with Specialized Staff
Produced by Extension: Brian McNeill, Patrick Jirik, Joe Courneya and Bradley Rugg
Extension will continue to face many changes in the future. Successful staffing models will help Extension position itself for sustainability and growth. Aligning staff with their strengths is essential for success of new staffing plans. Staff can use their strengths to provide success program design and implementation. Staff in new roles will also need to collaborate in program development and offerings to assure the public and stakeholders that new models are sustaining.
Journal of Extension. 2012

North Central Region 4-H Volunteers: Documenting Their Contributions and Volunteer Development
Produced by Extension: Pamela Larson Nippolt, Sue Pleskac, Vicki Schwartz, Doug Swanson
Documenting volunteer contributions strengthens Extension partnerships with volunteers. A team of North Central Region 4-H volunteer specialists collaborated to conduct a study of 4-H volunteer contributions and impacts related to working with youth within the 4-H program. Over three thousand (3,332) 4-H volunteers from throughout the 12-state North Central Region completed the survey. Volunteers are critical partners to the success of 4-H, making it possible for millions of young people to have access to 4-H programs. 2012

Minnesota 4-H Quality Improvement Study Brief (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Samantha Grant, Rebecca Harrington, Barbara Piehl, Deborah Moore, and Brenda Shafer
Youth and adult volunteers are key to moving quality forward in 4-H. This research shows that youth and volunteers, with adequate training, can learn how to assess quality and work with 4-H clubs to build better programs with youth. 2011
See Preliminary findings from the Minnesota 4-H Quality Improvement Study (1.25 M PDF) 2010

Minnesota 4-H Retention Study Brief (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Rebecca Harrington and Trisha Sheehan
While the Minnesota 4-H Club program has been growing over the last six years, over 25% of youth do not re-enroll annually. Wanting to know how 4-H could improve its member retention rate, the Minnesota 4-H Retention Study asked 4-H members who left the program why they decided to join, stay and ultimately leave 4-H. 2010

Stewardship as a Means to Create Organizational Reform: A View into Minnesota 4-H Youth Development
Produced by Extension: Jennifer A. Skuza, Dorothy M. Freeman, Tamara J. Bremseth, Shirley A. Doering, Robert B. Quinlan, Patricia A. Morreim and James C. Deidrick

Journal of Extension. 2010

Power of the Wind Pilot Project: A six state partnership to engage youth with wind energy (PDF)
Appendices B - I (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Pam Larson Nippolt and Amy Grack Nelson
The process evaluation and related appendices from the Power of the Wind Pilot Project, a six state partnership to engage youth with wind energy. 2010

Examining 4-H Robotics in the Learning of Science, Engineering and Technology
Topics and the Related Student Attitudes
Bradley Barker, Gwen Nugent, Neal Grandgenett
This study measures the effectiveness of a 4-H robotics program to support the learning of specific STEM concepts and to examine related student attitudes to science. 2008

The National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century: Final Report (PDF)
National 4-H Council
Specific and strategic calls to action on a national level, based on a nationwide research and strategic planning process completed in 2002.

Bringing Youth Programs to Targeted Areas (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Jennifer Skuza
A University of Minnesota Extension educator describes how a community-based youth development organization reaches underserved populations with accessible and high-quality programming during nonschool hours. 2002

Broadening the Perspective on Health and Youth Development (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Nikki Sigler Andrews and Stephen Russell
4-H must address modern youth health issues, the authors argue, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. Includes a brief description of the origins of 4-H. 2000

Extension's Roles in Community Youth Development for the 21st Century (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Dale Blyth
An article on the role of Extension and 4-H in youth development today with the arrival of a new millennium. 2000

Using Numbers to Tell 4-H Success Stories (PDF)
Produced by Extension: Mary Marczak
An article showing that charts, tables, and graphs can be effectively used to tell 4-H success stories. 2000

Related organizations

Ready by 21 Initiative
Provides leaders with tools and resources based on the knowledge and experience of top thinkers from across the country. Take advantage of blueprints, surveys, how-to guides, webinars, in-depth coaching and technical assistance to ensure the success of your initiative.

A database of research-based youth development materials, particularly for at-risk audiences. Includes curricula, new and seminal research, technology and program evaluation resources.

National 4-H
The youth development program of the nation’s 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System.

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