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

4-H Outcomes & Impacts

Research shows that the 4-H Youth Development Program plays a special and vital role in the lives of America’s young people. Youth have the capacity to thrive when presented with resources for healthy development found in families, schools, and communities - regardless of their background, socioeconomic status, race, and gender. 4-H programs launch young people into healthy and productive lives.

According to Waves of the Future - The First Five Years of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (2009), when compared to other youth, 4-Hers excel and are:

  • 25 percent more likely to contribute to their families, themselves, and their communities.
  • more likely to see themselves going to college.
  • 41 percent less likely to engage in risk/problem behavior.

Interested in learning more about the outcomes we assess in our 4-H youth? Click here

UC Delivers Stories
In the Report of the Findings from the First Four Years of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (2008), 4-H members show higher measures of competence, caring, connections, confidence, character and contributing than for others in the sample. Connections, reflecting relationships with family, peers, and other adults, were significantly higher for 4-H youth than for non-4-H members.

The Prepared and Engaged Youth Serving American Communities - National 4-H Impact Assessment Project (2000) found that:

  • both youth and adults feel very positive about their experiences in 4-H.
  • youth in 4-H have a strong sense of belonging.
  • adults and youth form strong relationships in 4-H programs.

Highlights of the 2016 Spark Surveys


4-H Public Values

On August 2013, 24 ANR/4-H academics and staff, volunteers, and youth gathered in Davis, CA to develop public value statements for the California 4-H Youth Development Program. Public Values expert, Dr. Nancy Franz of the Iowa Cooperative Extension, facilitated our meeting and helped to guide us through the full day process.

Public Values statements help organizations express their private values or internal values that are important for a specific community (e.g., 4-H staff, youth and parent) into language that the broader community can understand, care about, and support. For example, in our community 4-H has a goal and a documented ability to strengthen 4-H’s internal values, such as overall positive youth development, and skills, such as leadership and citizenship, in our youth.

We are excited to announce, that we have identified 6 public values statements for the 4-H community. These public value statements represent the hard work and thinking of 4-H volunteers, youth, advisors, representatives, and statewide staff during our full-day planning meeting, and are as follows:

  1. 4-H increases personal responsibility that positively contributes to communities.
  2. 4-H increases the economic sustainability, growth, and prosperity, of California's global economy.
  3. 4-H increases civic engagement to strengthen communities.
  4. 4-H improves public health and safety.
  5. 4-H ensures a safe, sustainable, and secure food supply.
  6. 4-H reduces public costs to society.

The next steps are to finalize data collection, evaluation, and communication plans for each public value. Over the coming months, a small team will work to complete the stories that frame, give more context to, and strengthen these public value statements. If you’d like to share a personal or program story that helps to provide insight for any of the aforementioned public values, please contact the 4-H Evaluation Coordinator, Kendra Lewis, at kmlewis@ucanr.edu.

Page Last Updated: October 14, 2016
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