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The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program

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1 The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program
UME Volunteer Policy Part IV The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program This is the fourth portion of the UME Volunteer Training. This section focuses specifically on 4-H volunteers’ roles as youth development practitioners. Presentations for other UME programs utilizing volunteers will be developed in the future.  University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or national origin.

2 Maryland 4-H Mission Help all youth reach their full potential
Teach useful life skills Community focused, research based Create competent, caring and responsible individuals The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program provides a supportive setting for all youth to reach their fullest potential. Youth learn beneficial cognitive and life skills through community-focused, research-based experiential educational programs. Achievement of this mission will create competent, caring, responsible individuals.

3 Maryland 4-H Vision Recognized leader in youth development
Address present and emerging issues Employ proactive approaches Experiential and age-appropriate curriculum Collaboration and networking Diverse Audiences, programs and methods The vision of the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program is to be a recognized leader for educating and helping youth to become competent, caring, responsible individuals. The program achieves these goals by addressing present and emerging youth needs; employing a proactive program approach; using a focused, experiential designed, age-appropriate curriculum; working collaboratively with established networks of human and financial resources; having diverse program, audiences, staff and delivery techniques.

4 Maryland 4-H Teaches Life Skills
Decision Making Acquiring Knowledge Personal Responsibility Creative Thinking Communicating Understanding Self Getting Along With Others The ultimate purpose of 4-H is to help members learn skills that will be useful for a life time. Every 4-H program, project or activity has learning one or more life skills as its primary purpose. Winning a blue ribbon may be an honor, but learning a skill is what’s really important. Learning to make wise decisions

5 Taking the University to Youth in Communities
4-H Youth Development is the only youth program with direct access to technological advances in agriculture and life sciences, home economics, human development, and related areas, which result from land-grant university research. The foundation of 4-H Youth Development is in the practical application of the land-grant university knowledge by youth in their communities.

6 Focus on Community Society loses out when youth fall through the cracks in institutions that could prepare them for a productive future. Community counts – for better or worse – in response to these institutional gaps and unmet needs for support, care and opportunities for healthy development of our young people. Milbrey McLaughlin, Stanford University, Community Counts Given the social forces that have changed both the landscape of family and community life and the expectations for young people, there is an ever increasing interest in the concept of youth development as a community approach to helping children achieve healthy outcomes as they transition to adulthood.

7 Social Forces have changed Community Life
Informal community support for young people has weakened….. High rates of family mobility Greater anonymity in neighborhoods Extensive media exposure to themes of violence and heavy use of drugs & alcohol Deterioration and disorganization of neighborhoods and schools

8 Youth Development: A Paradigm Shift
Addressing youth problems is critical… But, problem free is not fully prepared Positive Development Primary Prevention High Risk Treatment Youth policy and investment in youth during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s were primarily focused on eliminating and preventing problem behaviors, such as teen pregnancy, substance abuse, delinquency and school drop out rates. Given the mixed results of these investments in the 90’s, a paradigm shift in how policymakers and funders are directing their youth dollars began. There has been a shift away from problem based programs to those built upon the principle of positive youth development which focuses on the assets that youth need to be fully prepared and fully engaged. In the last decade there has been a realization that investments need to address the entire continuum of youth needs: from treatment, high risk and primary prevention, as well as positive development.

9 What is Youth Development?
Youth Development is the acquisition of attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry youth forward into successful adulthood. - National Research Council The National Research Council describes the importance of adolescence as the pivotal period between childhood and adulthood. It is the time that youth need to acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills that will carry them forward into successful adulthood. Said another way, youth development is the transformation of children into competent, confident, connected and contributing people of character who are fully prepared and fully engaged in their communities.

10 Essential Elements of a Youth Development Approach
The Youth Development Approach considers the whole young person, not just a single characteristic or problem. Youth Development is dependent on family and community development as it occurs in the context of the family, community and society. Youth Development is designed to focus on the positive outcomes we desire for young people, not the negative outcomes we hope to prevent.

11 What is the Essence of 4-H Youth Development?
To engage young people in the work of the Land- Grant University and USDA To teach knowledge and life skills which enhance quality of life To create opportunities which promote positive youth development

12 Features of Positive Youth Development
Physical and psychological safety Appropriate structure Supportive relationships Opportunities to belong Positive social norms Support for efficacy and mattering Opportunities for skill building Integration of family, school, and community efforts The NRC also asked what features of community programs help ensure that youth develop the personal and social assets that foster young people’s healthy development and well-being. They found that the features of positive developmental settings are: Physical and psychological safety and security Structure that is developmentally/age appropriate, with clear expectations for behavior as well as increasing opportunities to make decisions, to participate in governance and rule-making, and to take on leadership roles as one matures and gains expertise Opportunities for adolescents to experience emotionally and morally supportive adult relationships, Opportunities to learn how to form close, durable, human relationships with peers that support and reinforce healthy behaviors Opportunities to feel a sense of belonging and being valued Opportunities to develop positive social values and norms Opportunities to develop a sense of personal efficacy and to develop confidence in one’s abilities to master one’s environment; Opportunities to make a contribution to one’s communities and to develop a sense of mattering. Opportunities for skill building and mastery Strong links between families, schools, and broader community resources Since these features typically work together in synergistic ways, programs with more features are likely to provide better supports for young people’s positive development.

13 Assets that Facilitate Positive Youth Development
Physical Development Good health habits Good health risk management skills Intellectual Development Knowledge of essential life skills Knowledge of essential vocational skills School success Good decision-making skills And more Psychological & Emotional Development Good mental health Good coping skills Good conflict resolution skills Strong moral character And more The physical development domain focuses on: Good health habits, Good health risk management skills. Within the area of Intellectual development the following assets were noted: Knowledge of essential life skills, Knowledge of essential vocational skills, School success, Rational habits of mind – critical thinking and reasoning skills, In-depth knowledge of more than one culture, Good decision-making skills, Knowledge of skills needed to navigate through multiple cultural contexts, The Psychological & Emotional Development domain includes many assets: Good mental health including positive self-regard, Good emotional self-regulation skills, Good coping skills, Good conflict resolution skills, Mastery motivation and positive achievement motivation, Confidence in one’s personal efficacy, “Playfulness” – planning for the future and future life events, Sense of personal autonomy/responsibility for self Optimism coupled with realism, Coherent and positive personal and social identify,Prosocial and culturally sensitive values, Spirituality or a sense of a “larger” purpose in life, Strong moral character, A commitment to good use of time Looking at one asset in more depth, we can examine conflict resolution skills. This asset involves: Anger management, Problem solving, Decision making Communication The final domain is social development. These assets include: Connectedness, Sense of social place / integration, Attachment to prosocial institutions, Ability to navigate in multiple cultural contexts, Commitment to civic engagement, Navigating multiple cultures includes: Comfort with other cultures, languages, socio-economic levels, Civic engagement involves: Connection to community, Opportunities for involvement Social Development Connectedness Sense of social place / integration Attachment to prosocial institutions Ability to navigate in multiple cultural contexts Commitment to civic engagement

14 The 8 Essential Elements of Youth Development
A positive relationship with a caring adult A safe environment An inclusive environment Engagement in learning Opportunity for Mastery Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future Opportunity for self-determination Opportunity to value and practice service for others

15 4-H Youth Development Creates Opportunities for Youth to Experience:
Independence Belonging Generosity Mastery

16 Eight Essential Elements Broken Down into Four Concepts
Belonging Positive Relationship with a caring adult An inclusive environment A safe environment Mastery Engagement in Learning Opportunity for Mastery Independence Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future Opportunity for self-determination Generosity Opportunity to value and practice service for others With regards to these Essential Elements and our focus on Volunteers as Youth Development Practitioners, the Positive Relationship with a Caring Adult merits a closer look in and of itself. Also, it is important to realize that volunteers play critical roles in ensuring that youth programs also incorporate the other seven essential elements

17 If Youth Needs are met in Positive Ways: Youth develop characteristics most of us relate to character…

18 Characteristics of Volunteers serving as Youth Development Practitioners
made it clear they saw the potential in the young people they encountered; made the young person, not the activity, their priority; conveyed a sense of power and purpose for themselves and for the young people around them; were described as authentic—real, not phony, with a genuine interest and concern for young people; McLaughlin, Irby, & Langman (1994)

19 Questions? This presentation was originally created Dr. Lisa Dennis, 4-H Youth and Adult Leadership Specialist, and revised by Amy Rhodes, Sharon Pahlman, and David Gordon 2010.

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