4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

Positive Youth Development

Positive youth development generally refers to a focus on the developmental characteristics which lead to positive behaviors and outcomes among young people.  Positive youth development is a cornerstone of the 4-H program.

Positive youth development occurs through an intentional process that provides opportunities, choices, relationships, and the support necessary for youth to fully reach their potential.

4-H's unique role in youth development is based upon scientifically valid research. We analyze and document our efforts to demonstrate an impact on youth and then disseminate our findings to further the field of youth development. We use this scientific base to anticipate problems and develop practical solutions in the communities we serve.

A primary element of the 4-H mission is advancing the field of youth development.  Youth development as a field of scientific inquiry is fairly new; the research is constantly and quickly growing.  The program practices of 4-H are based on past and current research which includes Targeting Life Skills, Assets, Essential Elements, The Five C’s, and Community Action Framework.  These frameworks of youth development are fully described in Heck & Subramaniam, “Youth Development Frameworks” (see Thrive resources). 

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