Positive Psychology

Positive Youth Development in 4-H

Although we do not have a current science/practice relationship with 4-H, we have had numerous collaborations over the years.  The 4-H Youth Development Organization grounded in positive youth development (PYD). All 4-H activities are expected to foster one or more of the PYD attributes: belongingness, mastery, independence, or generosity. While research has demonstrated strong outcomes on a variety of PYD outcomes, the mechanisms for achieving those outcomes have not been identified. This has been our quest.

It starts with belonging… Megan Zurawski’s (2015) doctoral dissertation evaluated the PYD foundation for 4-Hers who had developmental disabilities. Her work suggested that experiencing mastery, independence, and generosity is predicated on first experiencing belonging.

4-H Record Books: Members of the Bikos RVT developed and delivered an intervention around traditional and alternative formats of the 4-H Record Book. Further, Dr. Bikos’ qualitative research methods class spent one summer evaluating the role of the record book in contributing to the PYD outcomes.  To familiarize ourselves with the record book (and to contribute to our 4-H partners), RVT members served as judges for record books each fall (and public presentations each spring).  Pictured in this judging role are RVT members Kaitlin Patton, Desta Gebregiorgis, and Caitlin Coyer as they judge Record Books.  This screencast reviews the social media based Record Book intervention we created. 

Bikos, L. H., Haney, D.M., Kirkpatrick-Husk, K., & Hsia, S. (2014) A qualitative evaluation of the 4-H Record Book in light of the PYD Concepts:  Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity.  Journal of Youth Development: Bridging research and practice, 9(2), 99-115.  Retrieved from https://jyd.pitt.edu/ojs/jyd/article/view/63