The Navajo County Cooperative Extension invites you to learn more about 4-H.

The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility, and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Our county offers many different types of youth programming ranging from traditional opportunities such as raising livestock and horse projects to nontraditional projects related to STEM. Of course, there are many other options and more are being developed based on the interest of our youth.

Positive Youth Development is based on the belief that, “given guidance and support from caring adults, all youth can grow up healthy and happy, making positive contributions to their families, schools, and communities,” (HHS.gov, accessed November 2020).” Programs that use the PYD approach intentionally focus on “developing cognitive, social, emotional, behavioral and moral bonding competencies; self-efficacy; prosocial behavior; a belief in the future; a clear and positive identity; and self-determination,” (HHS.gov). Youth who participate in 4-H programs that provide a high quality developmental context will thrive, and thriving youth are more likely to achieve key developmental outcomes.

Furthermore, thriving youth demonstrate a willingness to try new things. An emphasis is placed on positive growth mindset in which new learning is encouraged over innate ability. Thriving youth demonstrate positive emotionality and hope. Value is placed on transcendent awareness and pro-social orientation. Thriving youth also focus on goal management and are able to set and manage goals in respect to achievement of the goal. Indicators of thriving youth can be demonstrated by reaching development outcomes including the following: academic achievement and motivation, social competence, high personal standards, contribution to others, connection with others, and personal responsibility according to Mary Arnold, author who developed the Thriving Model at Oregon State University. Empowered goal setting forms an essential component of success within these models of thought. Results create a reliable mechanism to improve success and achievement not only amongst youth but also the adults who volunteer in these programs.

If you would like to learn more about 4-H in Navajo County including available programs and volunteer opportunities contact Meghan Penrod at meghanpenrod@email.arizona.edu or 928-242-0063.

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