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Data Collected in State-wide 4-H Surveys Proves Positive Impact

March 25, 2013

Tufts University's longitudinal study has shown that nationally, 4-H'ers do better in school, and are more likely to see themselves going to college, less likely to engage in risky behaviors, and more likely to contribute to their communities (Lerner, 2009). In 2012, Illinois 4-H staff conducted club experience surveys with 4,595 club members to hear from youth about their experience in the Illinois 4-H program.

The Illinois club experience survey was designed to look at how well the 4-H program is incorporating the essential elements of positive youth development programming into our 4-H club experiences. The survey results showed that the elements of positive youth development are strong in the Illinois 4-H program.

Does 4-H foster a sense of belonging to a group? YES!

  • 95% of 4-H youth feel included in the 4-H program
  • 96% indicate they receive help from 4-H adult volunteer leaders and others when they need it
  • 95% of 4-H youth say adult leaders listen to what they say

Does 4-H teach skills to help youth later in life? YES!

  • 94% of 4-H youth indicate that 4-H helps prepare them for their future
  • 83% of 4-H youth help make decisions of what happens in 4-H
  • 83% do things in 4-H that help them think about a career

Locally we have seen youth utilizing these skills as they take on more roles in their federation groups, teaching workshops and speaking at county awards programs.

Does 4-H encourage youth to give back to the community? YES!

  • Through 4-H, 95% of youth are able to work on service projects that help the community
  • Because of 4-H activities, 93% of 4-H youth are encouraged to help others
  • 91% of 4-H members can identify ways to make a difference in their community

Just this past year, 4-Hers from the Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell area came together to create birthday bags for families in need. Seeing the response from the community and the continued need, 4-Her's are again conducting the Birthday Bag campaign, with a goal of collecting even more than the 300 last year!

For more information about the 4-H Youth Development program in the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit, contact Judy Schmidt, 4-H Youth Development Educator, at schmid7@illinois.edu or 309-685-3140.

Source: Judy Schmidt, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth and Youth Metro, schmid7@uiuc.edu