The Nebraska 4-H Youth Development Program strives to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults. To identify the impact that the 4-H Program is making in the lives of youth ages 5-18, various research studies have been conducted across Nebraska and the nation.
Annual Impact Reports
The Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development Program works towards the outcomes of the Nebraska 4-H Strategic Plan. Each year, to measure the success of Nebraska 4-H in reaching these outcomes, more than 1,000 youth from across the state contribute their responses to a mixed methods study. The results and participant comments shared in these reports illustrate the impact Nebraska 4-H is making in the lives of young people.
4-H Study of Positive Youth Development
Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is a longitudinal study funded by the National 4-H Council. The study is led by Richard M. Lerner and Jacqueline V. Lerner at Tufts University. Researchers are using a longitudinal study so they can look at changes within the same group of children over time. Approximately 6,000 diverse adolescents are participating in the study. The adolescents have varying levels of involvement in community-based programs, including 4-H. Because it is a sequential longitudinal study, more youth are added each year in "waves."
The purpose of the research is to identify characteristics that are related to positive youth development. Some examples of these characteristics include having close friends and/or supportive in a young person's life, receiving good grades in school, and youth having, overall, good feelings about themselves. Researchers want to understand how positive influences in the lives of youth help protect them from getting involved in "problem behaviors," such as substance abuse, unsafe sex, school failure, delinquency and violence. The study should help identify ways that schools and programs like 4-H can promote positive youth development.