W1023: Understanding Recruitment and Retention in the 4H Club Program

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

W1023: Understanding Recruitment and Retention in the 4H Club Program

Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


Statement of Issues and Justification

The need


4-H clubs, community centered and largely volunteer driven, have been a staple in high-quality educational program delivery since our organization’s inception. Youth who participate in 4-H earn higher grades, have higher civic engagement, and engage in less risky behavior compared to non-4-H youth (Lerner & Lerner, 2013). Although impressive, positive impacts such as behavior change, can only be made if participants remain in Extension programs, such as 4-H, over time (Pratt & Bowman, 2008). A review of the USDA 4-H enrollment reports (United States Department of Agriculture, 2010) from 1996 to 2003 indicates that 31 (54%) of the states and territories in the US reported declines in 4-H club enrollment. One of the primary indicators for youth dropping out of the 4-H program is being a first-year member (Astroth, 1985; Hamilton, Northern, & Neff, 2014; Harder, Lamm, Lamm, Rose, & Rask, 2005; Hartley, 1983). Other research reveals that dropping out of 4-H occurs because: 1) youth are busy with sports or other organizations, 2) youth are unhappy/unsatisfied with their clubs or projects, and 3) parents are not as involved as other parents in their child’s 4-H experience (Harder, et al., 2005; Hartley, 1983; Ritchie & Resler, 1993). Demographic factors also influence dropout (e.g., gender and years in program; Astroth, 1985, Harder et al., 2005), as well as entering the program as an adolescent (Defore, Fuhrman, Peake, & Duncan, 2011; Ritchie, & Resler, 1993). By learning about these factors, we can increase the number of youth able to fully experience the positive impacts of 4-H programs and thus impact the level of civic engagement in our communities. In addition, recommendations by USDA to increase and expand 4-H membership could be addressed, in part, by youth retention.


This research activity contributes to, and intends to expand, the understanding of why youth dropout of 4-H programs. In addition, the research will explore why youth and families join and stay in the 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP). By learning about these factors we will be better able to develop support materials and systems that will increase the number of youth and families that engage in 4-H (see research questions in the “Objectives” section). Importantly, this research will be conducted across several states. As the demographics and socioeconomics of our society change, 4-H needs to develop the means to better understand and serve their changing communities. A multistate approach will enable the collection of perspectives from a greater diversity of communities, which will yield more generalizable findings. We can then develop steps to implement strategies to both engage and retain more youth in 4-H programming. Consequently, more youth will receive the short- and long-term benefits of 4-H, including the tools (knowledge, attitudes and skills) they need to become competent, caring, and contributing citizens of the world, as well as thriving and successful adults. This research study directly benefits both 4-H youth and families, as well as potential youth and families by improving the program. Further, the finding that a majority of states and territories (54%) experienced a decline in 4-H enrollments from 1996-2003 shows the problem is not limited to one environment and suggests there are robust factors that cut across states. We need to ascertain what factors are contributing to decreased enrollments and find the similarities and differences across states.


The importance of this work


In examining why 4-H enrollment and retention have decreased across the country, this project will fill a variety of gaps in the literature about 4-H involvement. We have yet to understand the underlying reasons that explain 4-H dropout rates. Based on preliminary data in California, we know that many youth are only enrolled in 4-H for one year (approximately 50%). This decreased involvement has implications for the 4-H program. For example, there may be less money distributed to the program, as well as more difficult in attaining private funding if we are not serving our diverse populations. In addition, dissatisfied youth and families may encourage others to leave or not join the program. Understanding experiences with the program can help ensure the future of the 4-H program.


This proposal aims to address multiple components of youth retention: How do the experiences during the first year in 4-H affect retention? How does that compare in other programs? Does the 4-H experience vary by different backgrounds with the program, such as those that are brand new (first generation) versus those with a family history in 4-H (e.g., fifth generation)? What are the components of the 4-H program that draws or retains youth? What are the factors that influence whether a youth member stays in the 4-H club program? In what ways does culture—both the cultural background of participants and the culture of our 4-H organization—impact youth recruitment and retention? How do youth development principles align with an individual’s culture?


Answers to these questions will deepen our understanding of the complexities at work in retaining 4-H youth and inform how best to address the issues. The project will then explore strategies at the local, state and national levels, to address retention. The project fits the Extension model of research informing practice to better the lives of youth and families by having more youth and families engaged in 4-H, and the communities in which they live, through the positive impacts youth experience in 4-H over multiple years.


The technical feasibility


The various roles of the research team supports the feasibility of this work. This project will involve 4-H and extension staff from six states at the county and state levels. At the regional/county-level there are 4-H Youth Development Advisors, Agents or Educators involved in this project. The role of these 4-H staff is to provide leadership over 4-H programming at the county level and work with other extension staff and faculty to plan and deliver research-based programming. Further, they conduct applied research to help solve local problems and benefit clientele. These staff members provide a direct connection to the population of interest in this study. They also bring a wealth of knowledge of 4-H programming that can help inform research questions, study design, and interpretation of results. We have access to youth and families via email (through enrollment databases). At the state level, this project involves state leaders, specialists in Volunteerism and Youth Development, and an evaluation coordinator who bring skills in research design, methodology, and data analysis which serves to strengthen the team.


The advantages of a multistate effort


Retention phenomenon is not unique to any one state and therefore this multistate project will substantially contribute to the identification of underlying factors that help explain current youth dropout (or retention). Other investigations of youth retention have been restricted to data within states or counties with application to programming and youth often limited to those geographic boundaries (e.g., Defore et al. 2011, Harder et al., 2005; Pipkin, 2016; Russell & Heck, 2008). To date, there are no multistate publications. A multistate 4-H youth retention study would increase the heterogeneity of the youth population and thus the generalizability of the findings would be greater than single-state studies. A multistate approach would provide an opportunity to identify factors that cut across contexts and populations that National could address, and provides the power and diversity needed to gain a nuanced picture of what matters and for whom. A team of Cooperative Extension staff from California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Jersey, Washington, and Wyoming have formed a research team to begin examining retention in these states.


Impacts of this work


Past research has shown the powerful impact 4-H can make on youth on a broad range of youth development outcomes. Through retention efforts (or, by reducing dropout rates), more youth are able to experience the powerful impacts found to influence positive development of youth. The most prominent research on 4-Her’s was a longitudinal, 8-year study which included more than 7,000 youth from 42 states in the U.S. This study found that in comparison to non-4-H youth, those affiliated with 4-H were more likely to contribute to their communities; be civically active; participate in science, engineering, and computer technology programs; make healthier choices; and report higher academic competence (Lerner & Lerner, 2013).


In addition to this longitudinal study, there have been many other studies showing the powerful influence of 4-H on a variety of youth development. For example, youth in 4-H programming develop critical life and leadership skills such as: problem-solving, goal setting, communication, considering the perspective of others, public speaking, viewing themselves as a community resource, responsibility, and developing a sense of belonging and purpose (Brennan, Barnett, & Lesmeister 2007; Calvert, de Montmollin, & Winnett, 2015; Dodd, Follmer-Reece, Kostina-Ritchey, & Reyna, 2015; McElprang & Nash, 2014). Youth in 4-H also develop critical skills to be an informed and active citizen such as the development of knowledge about local government and the ability to discuss local issues with others (Calvert et al., 2015). Past research also shows the lasting influence of 4-H by studying 4-H alumni. 4-H alumni report that through 4-H, they developed skills that have followed them into adulthood such as: public speaking, self-discipline, community service, and self-esteem (Fox, Schroeder, & Lodl, 2003; Maas, Wilken, Jordan, Culen, & Place, 2006). In addition, former 4-Hers reported that they volunteer, hold leadership positions in community organizations, and continue to be a part of 4-H as an adult volunteer (Merten et al., 2014. They have also been found to be more skilled at developing nurturing relationships and working in teams which are skills needed to transition and persist in college (Ratkos & Knollenberg, 2015). Finally, Haas et al. (2015) found that participants who had been involved with 4-H for a longer period of time were significantly better able to make decisions, communicate and think critically.


Taken together, these studies show that engaging youth in 4-H YDP has the potential to shape their lives in positive manners. In turn, these youth will make contributions to their community by remaining engaged, volunteering, and maintaining employment. Long-term engagement in 4-H benefits not only the youth, but their communities as well. Finding ways to retain youth in the program for more than a year or two can make profound impacts on society as a result of the skills developed and opportunities provided to youth in 4-H.


 

Related, Current and Previous Work

Related work


As previously mentioned, there is consistent evidence showing that one of the primary indicators for youth dropout is being a first year member (Astroth, 1985; Hamilton, et al., 2014; Harder et al., 2005; Hartley, 1983) and that youth entering as adolescence tend to not re-enroll (Defore et al., 2011; Ritchie & Resler, 1993). While some of the first-year attrition may be attributed to new families discovering 4-H is not a good fit for their child’s interests, our work will help reveal other reasons parents or youth choose not to re-enroll. 


Relatedly, a review of participation in out-of-school-time (OST) programs in New York City found that youth in programs with higher retention rates over two years had better outcomes such as greater sense of belonging, higher academic self-esteem, and improved academic performance over youth in programs with lower retention rates (Pearson, Russell, & Reisner, 2007). However, to date these studies have been conducted in silos (within a state), and have not taken a multi-state perspective of the issues and challenges related to retention in 4-H across the United States.


Previous/Current work


Various work has already been conducted in several states for some of the Objectives for the present project. This work is organized in the “Objectives” section below.


Objectives 1a, 1c, 1d, and 2:


During 2014-15, team members in California began with phone calls to families that allowed them to obtain reasons for not returning to the program. Utilizing that information in addition to previous research, the research members in Idaho and California collaborated to understand the experience youth and families have in their first year in the program. In summer 2015, the team sent a survey to first-year families living in eleven counties in California and all 44 counties in Idaho. Two follow-up emails were sent as reminders, asking youth and adults to complete a survey about their experience during their first year in 4-H. Not enough youth responded to allow for stable results in this year; thus, only the adult data are used. Two hundred and seventy-three adults responded; 18 were excluded for non-response on all questions or for not providing consent to use their data. The final sample size was 255; 125 from California and 130 from Idaho. The main findings from these data indicated that although 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. As a result, handbooks have been developed for new families to help them navigate the program. Checklists have also been developed for 4-H volunteers to help them realize what they can to do help new and returning families feel welcomed in the program and ensure that they are providing quality programming for youth. This survey and others will be administered to help us explore the rest of the research questions, develop content related to the findings, and continually improve the program to better serve our youth and families. There were no significant differences between Idaho and California in how youth and families hear about    4-H, why they join 4-H, or their overall experience in 4-H. This indicates that there is some overarching similarity in the 4-H experience across states, at least in the Western United States. Conducting the survey in two states allowed us to reach a much more diverse pool of 4-H participants with Idaho populations being much more rural and California populations being more ethnically diverse.


In summer 2016, the survey was administered in California, Idaho, Montana and New Jersey using the same procedures as above. Results indicated that youth chose to join 4-H to try new things, to have fun, or to build skills. Overall, youth reported a positive experience in the program (mean score of 4.10 on a scale of 1 to 5; range was 4.03 to 4.31 across states). Nearly 93% of youth reported an intention to re-enroll in the program. Youth most commonly report communication (or lack thereof) as something they would change about 4-H. Adults reported their child joining 4-H for similar reasons: to try new things, to have fun, and for personal growth. They also reported positive program experiences, though this was lower than youth reports (mean score of 3.77 on a scale of 1 to 5; range was 3.51 to 3.92 across states). Adults most commonly report communication and other program components (policies, the “culture” of 4-H) as something they would change about 4-H. There were minimal significant differences between states, again indicating that there is some overarching similarity in the 4-H experience among many different communities.


In early 2017, teen 4-H members from California and New Jersey provided feedback on the survey. The teen members highlighted reasons that they or their friends nearly left or did choose to leave 4-H. The survey for youth was expanded to ask youth about reasons why they may not return to 4-H or challenges they faced in the program. Given that youth and adult data showed little difference in the Likert experience questions, these questions were dropped from the adult survey. The surveys were administered in California, Idaho, New Jersey, and Wyoming in summer and fall 2017. Again, youth report positive experiences in the program (mean score of 4.20 on a scale of 1 to 5; range was 4.11 to 4.45 across states). From the new questions developed by our teen members about why youth might leave 4-H, we learned that the common reasons were not feeling connected to other youth in the club (6%), not knowing when the club or projects met (7%), and not having enough time because of other activities (such as sports, church, and other youth development programs (4%). These findings were consistent across states. These findings confirmed some of our initial thoughts about why youth do not stay in 4-H and highlighted the issue with communication in the program. Further, the consistency of the findings across states emphasizes that issues with retention are not unique to one state or region, stressing the importance of a multistate collaboration to address this issue.


Objective 3


Several members of the team from California are also involved with other CA academic staff examining the culture of 4-H (rules, policies, procedures, rituals, language) from the perception of adult volunteers. The goal is to understand how volunteers define 4-H success as it relates to youth and families and what youth characteristics the volunteers think are critical to success. The project also sought to determine the willingness of volunteers to accept youth and families that were different than the dominant culture of the 4-H program. That is, does the culture create opportunities and/or barriers for youth in the program? In 2016, a survey was sent to all adult volunteers in California and 27% responded (over 1,150 volunteers). Preliminary results show that adult volunteers perceive youth as successful in 4-H if they have characteristics that align with 4-H programmatic practices and values (e.g., leadership, public speaking, parental involvement and history with the 4-H program). Also, volunteers perceive youth will be successful even if characteristics are different from the dominate 4-H culture (e.g., Muslim/Islam, transgender, same-sex parents), although volunteers with more years’ experience are less likely to perceive youth success with those characteristics. Volunteers perceive youth will need guidance or have a difficult time succeeding in 4-H if they require extra time or skill of the adult volunteer (e.g., trouble reading/writing, academic challenges, ADHD, lack of transportation).


Objective 4


Preliminary analyses in California have been conducted using enrollment data from 2008-2015 (Lewis, Horrillo, Worker, Miller, & Trzesniewski, 2015). These analyses revealed that nearly 50% of youth are only enrolled in 4-H for 1 year, thus leading to the focus of Objectives 1 and 2. The mean age of entry into 4-H is 10.42 years, and for dropout is 12.78 years. The following characteristics are associated with being more likely to re-enroll: male (11%), younger (11%), non-Hispanic (7%), White (19%) and living in farm or rural areas (24%). Being enrolled in more than one project is associated with being 1.13 times more likely to re-enroll. Further research on this objective would examine enrollment data from other states, as well as whether involvement in particular projects increase re-enrollment.

Objectives

  1. Ascertain the youth experience in the 4-H program
    Comments: Ascertain the youth experience in the 4-H program to answer the following questions: a. What do youth like about the program? b. What could be changed to enhance their program experience? c. What are the first impressions and early experiences of youth new to the 4-H program? d. Prior to involvement in the program, what expectations and aspirations do youth and adults have, and after experiencing the program, to what extent do those expectations and aspirations match or conflict with their actual experiences? e. What can be done to motivate youth to continue with the program in subsequent years? f. What opportunities (e.g., leadership) are desired or needed to keep long-term youth members engaged and excited about 4-H? g. What cultural and diversity awareness/sensitivity could be implemented to enhance youth experiences?
  2. Understand the parent/guardian perspective about participating in 4-H in a similar manner to youth, particularly what can be done to ensure that parents continue their child’s 4-H involvement in subsequent years.
  3. Explore the culture of 4-H (rules, policies, procedures, rituals, language), as perceived by adult volunteers' definition of success and what youth characteristics volunteers believe lead to success. In turn, does culture create opportunities and/or barriers for youth in the program?
  4. Understand trends in enrollment in 4-H. Is the program “attractive” to certain youth (e.g., pre-teen youth) or does re-enrollment increase depending on involvement in a certain number or type of project?
  5. Learn about the perceptions of 4-H from youth and their families that have left the program or have never been a part of the program.
    Comments: Learn about the perceptions of 4-H from youth and their families that have left the program or have never been a part of the program. a. Why did youth leave the program? b. What would have needed to happen to keep them in the program? c. Why have youth not joined 4-H before, and what might encourage them to do so?
  6. Use multistate data from Objectives 1- 5 to answer further questions outlined below
    Comments: Using multistate data from Objectives 1- 5: a. What are the similarities and differences in youths’ experience of 4-H across the participating states? b. How do the similarities and differences inform 4-H programming for 4-H youth retention within and across states?

Methods

The proposed research project is an integrated project that involves Cooperative Extension faculty and staff in five states, but has national impact and could involve all states nationwide.

Objectives 1 and 2: The research team will use online surveys, interviews, and potentially other research methods (e.g., observations, focus groups). We plan to continue to collect annual data at the end of the 4-H program year from first year 4-H youth and families regarding their experiences in 4-H over the last year. These data will be used to examine trends across states and to make changes/improvements to the local programs as needed. Data will be collected each year to see if there are shifts in the responses as a result of changes made at the local level. The survey tool that has been used the past two years in all states will continue to be used, with revisions as needed.

Objective 3: Cooperative Extension staff have gathered preliminary data in California using an online 4-H volunteer survey. The team is currently analyzing the data. These data will give an overall view of volunteers in terms of what they believe it means to be successful in 4-H and what type of youth (based on demographics and characteristics) are successful in 4-H. Also extracted from the data is information about volunteer’s perceptions of youth and family success and acceptance in 4-H, and what is the prevailing structure and image of 4-H. The survey tool will be refined and shared with other states.

Objective 4: Cooperative Extension staff will analyze enrollment data from all states collected annually through 4HOnline. Results from these data may help inform populations to target in Objective 5.

Objective 5: The research team will survey and interview a random selection of youth that have left the program, as well as youth that have not been a part of 4-H. The latter will be recruited through local schools. Sampling techniques will be used to ensure there is a representative sample of youth from each state.

Objective 6: The research team will continually examine the data collected for similarities and differences across the states. Quantitative data will be tested for statistical differences between the states.

In addition to the work outlined above, the research team will incorporate findings from other groups as relevant. For example, in California, work is being done to understand volunteer experiences in 4-H, such as motivation for involvement, training, and satisfaction. Program experiences of the volunteer can trickle down to impact the experiences of the youth. The research team will consider relevant findings and program improvements made as a result of the work of this group to help inform whether these improvements have impacted retention. Further, the work of WERA1010 "Improving Data Quality from Sample Surveys to foster Agricultural, Community, and Development in Rural America" has produced useful information regarding data collection in rural areas, specifically around mixed-mode data collection. Findings from this project (e.g., Israel, 2012; 2013; Trentelman, Irwin, Petersen, Ruiz, & Szalay, 2016) will be incorporated into our methodology to ensure we are not limiting our sample and therefore our generalizability.

Measurement of Progress and Results

Outputs

  • Coordination of specific research and extension projects with multiple states
  • Data and analyzed results
  • Development of educational resources and policies to address concerns or issues unearthed through a multistate study Comments: Some examples of content already produced include: o Handbooks for new families in 4-H that includes useful information and helpful tips and tricks to navigating the program. Year 1 survey results showed that one of the biggest concerns was not knowing how to navigate the program. Handbooks are state-specific, but each state is using data from this study to develop or revise their existing handbooks o A checklist for club or project leaders as well as county based 4-H staff with steps to ensure that all families, new and returning, have the necessary information and support needed o An assessment tool for club and project leaders on program quality, allowing them to ensure they are providing youth with safe, welcoming, engaging environments and programming
  • Increased interest in a specific research and extension area through symposiums and presentations at relevant conferences (e.g., National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, American Evaluation Association, Joint Council of Extension Professionals)

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Increased awareness of generalizability of multistate findings for 4-H youth and family retention
  • Conference presentations, fact sheets, webinars, etc. to disseminate findings
  • Publication of joint (across the states involved) research articles and/or review articles.
  • Greater understanding of 4-H as a culturally relevant program and barriers that exist to inclusion
  • Increased youth retention in 4-H in participating states, and in turn, more youth nationwide reaching their full potential as a result of their 4-H experience
  • Increased number of youth involved in their community
  • Increased civic, science, and health literacy of youth

Milestones

(1):Collect annual data on Objectives 1-2 and 4, finalize data analyses on Objective 3 in California and release to other states, outline questions and sampling plan for Objective 5. Disseminate findings related to Objectives 1-4 and 6 at national conferences, webinars, facts sheets, journal articles, etc. Recommended practices adopted to help increase recruitment and retention.

(2):Collect and analyze data on all objectives. Disseminate findings related to Objectives 1-4 and 6 at national conferences, webinars, facts sheets, journal articles, etc. Recommended practices adopted to help increase recruitment and retention.

(3):Collect and analyze data on all objectives, and disseminate findings at national conferences, webinars, facts sheets, journal articles, etc. Recommended practices adopted to help increase recruitment and retention.

(4):Collect and analyze data on all objectives, and disseminate findings at national conferences, webinars, facts sheets, journal articles, etc. Recommended practices adopted to help increase recruitment and retention.

(5):Collect and analyze data on all objectives, and disseminate findings at national conferences, webinars, facts sheets, journal articles, etc. Recommended practices adopted to help increase recruitment and retention.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

The findings will be shared with staff directly involved in the study to help inform volunteer training, youth onboarding, and club practices to improve youth retention. Information will be shared with all 4-H academics and staff through the Epsilon Sigma Phi peer-reviewed webinars. Finally, findings will also be disseminated in a variety of venues such as peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and posters, fact sheets, and webinars.


The findings from the objectives may reveal information about community members not represented or underrepresented in 4-H programming. In turn, those data would inform development of strategies that mitigate the underrepresentation of such community members. The mitigating strategies could include collaboration with existing community-based organizations working with the underrepresented community and could inform issues of access, among other things. In addition, as a multistate endeavor, the findings lend themselves to other multistate activities such as materials and training for 4-H welcoming to new families.

Organization/Governance

Ms. JoLynn Miller and Dr. Kendra Lewis (in California) have successfully led the project for the last three years, so it is recommended that they continue in the roles of Chair (Ms. Miller) and Co-Chair (Dr. Lewis) to have continuity of the project. They will also share secretary duties. Their roles will be to coordinate monthly phone calls, take the lead on completing or delegating tasks in the project, ensure that teams members are completing tasks and contributing to the project, and all other tasks related to moving the project forward. Decisions for the project are made through a group process, generally during the project’s monthly calls, or via email. Ms. Miller and Dr. Lewis will facilitate the discussion of these decisions, and follow through with the group’s decision. If the group does not reach a consensus, or has “no opinion,” Ms. Miller and Dr. Lewis will make final decisions. They will ensure that a representative from each state is involved in the decision-making process (Dr. Ewers in Idaho, Dr. Fox in Louisiana, Ms. Rea-Keywood in New Jersey, Mrs. Cummins in Washington, and Ms. Brittingham in Wyoming). The present study group has formed various subgroups: qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, examining 4-H culture, and implementation (i.e., taking results of the study and creating and implementing an action plan to address these results). Each subgroup has a lead contact; Ms. Miller and Dr. Lewis will delegate decision-making and leadership roles to the subgroup lead, but will serve as a support for that lead. Should more subgroups form as a result of further research activities, the same process will be used for these new groups.

Literature Cited

Astroth, K.A. (1985). The Challenge of retaining 4-H members, Journal of Extension, 23(3). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/1985fall/sa4.php


Brennan, M. A., Barnett, R., & Lesmeister, M. (2007). Enhancing leadership, local capacity, and youth involvement in the community development process: Findings from a survey of Florida youth. Journal of the Community Development Society, 38(4), 13–27.


Calvert, M., de Montmollin, J., & Winnett, T. (2015). Youth representation on county government committees: Youth in governance in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Journal of Extension, 53(6). Available at https://joe.org/joe/2015december/rb4.php


Defore, A., Fuhrman, N.E., Peake, J.B., & Duncan, D.W., (2011). Factors influencing 4-H club enrollment and retention in Georgia. Journal of Youth Development, 6(2). Available at http://www.nae4ha.com/assets/documents/JYDfinal0602.pdf


Dodd, S., Follmer-Reece, H. E., Kostina-Ritchey, E., & Reyna, R. (2015). Food challenge: Serving up 4-H to non-traditional audiences. Journal of Extension, 53(4). Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2015august/iw5.php


Fox, J. E., & Schroeder, D., & Lodl, K.  (Winter 2003). Life Skill Development through Out of School 4-H Clubs:  The Perspective of 4-H Alumni. Journal of Extension, 41(2). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2003december/rb2.shtml. 


Haas, B. E., Mincemoyer, C. C., & Perkins, D. F. (2015). The effects of age, gender, and 4-H involvement on life skills development. Journal of Extension, 53(3). Available at https://joe.org/joe/2015june/a8.php


Hamilton, S.F., Northern, A., & Neff, R., (2014) Strengthening 4-H by analyzing enrollment data. Journal of Extension, 32(3). Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2014june/a7.php


Harder, A., Lamm A., Lamm, D., Rose, H., & Rask, G., (2005) An in-depth look at 4-H enrollment and retention. Journal of Extension, 43(5). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2005october/rb4p.shtml


Hartley, R. S., (1983) Keeping 4-H members. Journal of Extension, 21(4). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/1983july/a4.php


Israel, G. D. (2013). Using Mixed-Mode Contacts in Client Surveys: Getting More Bang for Your Buck. Journal of Extension, 51(3). Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2013june/a1.php


Israel, G. D. (2013). Combining mail and e-mail contacts to facilitate participation in mixed-mode surveys. Social Science Computer Review, 31, 346-358.


Lerner R. M., & Lerner, J. V. (2013). The positive development of youth: Comprehensive findings from the 4-H study of positive youth development. Chevy Chase, MD: National 4-H Council. Available at: http://www.4-h.org/About-4-H/Research/PYD-Wave-9-2013.dwn


Lewis, K. M., Horrillo, S. J., Worker, S. M., Miller, J., & Trzesniewski, K. (2015). Retaining youth: An examination of California 4-H youth enrollment trends. Paper presented at the American Evaluation Association, Chicago, IL.


Maass, S. E., Wilken, C. S., Jordan, J., Culen, G., & Place, N. (2006). A comparison of 4-H and other youth development organizations in the development of life skills. Journal of Extension, 44(5). Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2006october/rb2.php


McElprang Cummings, M., & Nash, S. (2014). Urban youth develop life skills raising livestock. Journal of Extension, 52(5). Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2014october/iw7.php


Merten, K., Locke, D., Williams, M., Carter, M., & Lehman, K. (2014). Impact of 4-H on alumni’s community involvement. Journal of Extension, 52(5). Available at https://joe.org/joe/2014october/rb8.php


Pearson, L. M., Russell, C. A., & Reisner, E. R., (2007). Evaluation of OST programs for youth. Policy Studies Associates, Inc. Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/pdf/govpub/3597year_2_interim_report_june_2007,_final.pdf


Pipkin, C. P. (2016). Motivational factors impacting youth participation in West Tennessee 4-H (unpublished master’s thesis). University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Available at http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5228&context=utk_gradthes


Pratt, C., & Bowman, S. (2008). Principles of effective behavior change: Application to Extension family educational programming. Journal of Extension, 46(5). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2008october/a2.php


Ratkos, J. & Knollenberg, L. (2015). College transition study shows 4-H helps youth prepare for and succeed in college. Journal of Extension, 53(4). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2015august/a7.php


Ritchie, R.M., & Resler, K.M., (1993). Why youth drop out of 4-H. Journal of Extension, 31(1). Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/1993spring/rb3.php


Russell, S. T., & Heck, K. E. (2008). Middle school dropout? Enrollment trends in the California 4-H youth development program. Applied Development Science, 12(1), 1-9.


Trentelman, C. K., Petersen, K. A., Irwin, J., Ruiz, N., & Szalay, C. S. (2016). The case for personal interaction: Drop-off/pick-up methodology for survey research. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 31(3), 68-104


United States Department of Agriculture (2010). Organized 4-H Clubs REEIS Report. Washington, DC: USDA. Available at https://reeis.usda.gov/content/organized-4-h-clubs

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