Positive youth development creates pathways for Minnesota communities to thrive.
The 4-H youth development approach
Thriving youth feel connected and positive about their community
Positive youth development is a powerful tool for communities to support the needs of youth and build better relationships. The skills youth build such as respect, honesty, responsibility, empathy and generosity equip them to care about each other and demonstrate their caring through action.
80% of new 4-H members felt welcomed into the 4-H program.
"4-H gave our daughter the opportunity to work with older youth who brought several new kids her age together. Her confidence soared. She has several adults who now know her and look out for her."
Dianna Kennedy, parent, Nicollet County
62% of young people volunteered in their community as part of their 4-H experience.
“We want to help people keep our planet healthy and clean. We have a chance to make a difference and hope what we do
now will have an impact on the future.”
Kirby Olson, 12, Big Stone County
92% of 4-H volunteers said their efforts make communities stronger.
“Any time you can give back through service, do it. It’s often simple but means so much to people. Service is a way for youth to feel a part of their communities. In rural communities, it’s a way to meet others even when you’re not next door.”
Pam Peterson, volunteer, Meeker County
Did you know? 6,640 members joined 4-H for the first time last year.
Thriving youth are open to challenge and discovery.
In 4-H, youth are encouraged to set goals, try new things, work hard and feel a sense of accomplishment for both their effort and the outcome. This process develops both the skills and sensibility our communities need to remain strong and thriving.
93% of young people explored a new idea, topic or issue in 4-H.
“I’m glad I agreed to try something new and I see how important it is to be brave. I discovered another instrument that I really like. I also gained confidence in myself and I’ve learned to be joyful even when things are hard. Saying yes was definitely worth it.”
George French, 15, Polk County
89% of 4-H young people worked together to solve a problem.
“Everyone is going to think differently. When you are open to new ideas and know your idea isn’t always right or the best way, you can go so much further.”
Haley Mouser, 15, Beltrami County
66% of 4-H’ers had a caring adult support them to learn more about a project.
“It’s good to try new things. I learned to be calm and take small steps with my animals.”
Wilson Hochstein, 12, Cottonwood County
Did you know? There are 18 different animal project areas to explore in 4-H.
Thriving youth are motivated to be successful in college and career
4-H’s nonformal learning environments cultivate passion in youth for lifelong learning. Communities that value and support learning are essential in preparing youth for higher education and career success.
73% of eligible 4-H’ers enrolled in post-secondary institutions last year.
“4-H camp at the University of Minnesota Morris is good because you’re able to do more educational opportunities—along with fun and games. Youth can really learn about their future.”
Alexa Kath, 16, Kandiyohi County
11,390 4-H’ers built STEM skills and became more interested in jobs related to science, technology, engineering and math.
“The campus immersion program matters because it gets you to think about what you want to do in the future and what you want to be.”
Afrah Edow, 17, Hennepin County
Did you know? Last year, 56 young people and adults accessed 4-H scholarship funds to support their college and career goals.
Thriving communities support youth
Youth workers play a significant role in helping young people build skills and contribute to their communities. Whether in person or online, adults are growing their own skills to be better engaged supporters of the youth in their lives.
14,500 professional and volunteer youth workers participated in training offered by Extension educators last year.
“Finding good training is difficult. It has added to our program and helped me to develop personally. I can trust that what we are doing will be quality and will benefit our students.”
Toni Wick, youth worker, Itasca County
Together, we are growing thriving Minnesota communities.
Reviewed in 2020