Since the 2015-2016 4-H program year, survey data has been collected from 4371 youth and 4823 adults from up to nine different states including California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Washington, and Wyoming. The main findings from the data indicate that although youth and adults report an overall positive experience in the program, there are some challenges to participation. Lack of communication and difficulty understanding the program were found to be two of the biggest challenges faced by new families across all states. Despite these challenges, youth report a positive experience (e.g., feel welcomed, listened to) in the program.
Key Findings include:
- Youth join 4-H (or a parent enrolls them in 4-H) to have fun, to learn a new skill or content knowledge, and for growth opportunities like leadership, responsibility, and confidence.
- Both youth and adults say that “organization”, communication” and “sense of belonging” are key challenges that new families face. They are unaware of when their club or projects meet, they don’t know the logistics of how the program works, and they feel unwelcomed into their new club.