4-H: All Access - Bringing Community Club Concepts to the World of Afterschool

  • Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Issue

In the state of Missouri, and many other states, traditionally 4-H has been delivered in community clubs that are family based and operate outside of any school, church, or other identifying community. This Community Club model has proven to offer youth an opportunity for positive youth development. However, there is a large section of the population who has not found their way to 4-H within this model, mainly due to the expectations of the parents' involvement. According to the Pew Research Center in December of 2019, 23% of children in the US are living in single parent homes. (Kramer, "U.S. has world's highest rate of children living in single-parent households", 2019) 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that 63% of two parent households in the US have both parents employed. ("Employment Characteristics of Families Summary", 2019) Based on those statistics, approximately 86% of youth are living in homes with only working parents. While many working parents strive to participate in such activities, the community club model can make this more challenging due to meeting times and locations. 4-H Faculty and Staff must understand and accept this new reality and adapt with it to ensure our 4-H program is reaching as many youth and families as possible while holding true to our core values and what makes our youth development program unique. New 4-H delivery modes have been introduced to achieve the national goal of reaching 10 million youth by 2025. New delivery modes include Special Interest Clubs (SPIN Clubs), and in-school or after school settings project experiences. Many of these modes created are focused on one aspect of the 4-H program typically a single project area, but 4-H: All Access seeks to incorporate the traditional leadership and citizenship components such as parliamentary procedure in addition to project experiences.

What was done

As a response to the community trends mentioned above, the 4-H: All Access model was developed. In this model, 4-H professionals deliver the 4-H club experience to in school and after school settings in a way that still showcases leadership, citizenship, experiential learning, and public speaking. Following the principles of Positive Youth Development, which guide the National 4-H program, 4-H All Access strives to provide a complete 4-H club experience to youth in before and after school settings. This provides youth with a 4-H experience comparable to youth who participate in 4-H community clubs. The community club model was created for a reason - showcasing project mastery, youth leadership, service, and citizenship but also partnerships between youth and caring adults. While that model may not be accessible to all, benefits of each piece of that model are still just as impactful for all youth. That is why it is so important that 4-H professionals seek opportunities for in school and after school 4-H clubs to have a comparable experience to those of our community club members.

4-H: All Access Components:

  1. Business Meeting including youth officers and community decision making through the practice of Parliamentary Procedure.
  2. Program and Presentation to practice and showcase public speaking skills
  3. Project Meetings focused on an assortment of skill areas to showcase possible college and career paths. Project work is the cornerstone of mastery work in 4-H.

While we may be missing the family involvement component, these meetings are open for parents to volunteer and join if their schedule allows. Even without parent involvement, these clubs still showcase the positive youth and adult partnership by including teen and adult leaders and volunteers. These youth are also invited to join in any other county/regional aspects of the 4-H program allowing their families to be involved in those areas.

Project Impact

Overall, Clay County 4-H has shown through Common Measures participant survey that 89% of our 4-H: All Access youth like to learn about people who are different from them and 98% show respect for other's ideas. When looking at their motivation to learn and try, 94% of participants are willing to work on something difficult and 84% learn from their mistakes. 98% of our youth like to learn new things and 89% are even willing to try something when they think they might fail. These surveys were collected after the first full year of 4-H: All Access clubs in partnership with North Kansas City Adventure Club in May 2019 with three school semesters under our belt together. Impact on the county 4-H program was also significant. With the addition of 4-H: All Access program model, Clay County has grown its number of clubs by 314% and number of youth members by 579% since 2017 with most recent enrollment numbers from 2019-2020. Beyond growth in numbers, as Clay county finished their 2nd full year implementing the 4-H: All Access model, there began to be more crossover between the community club members and the 4-H: All Access members showing the possibility of truly having one 4-H community. 4-H: All Access members showed up to Fair field trip day with their families even when they were not enrolled in summer school, members enrolled for county wide 4-H project meetings and with the disruption in after school care due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 4-H: All Access members have sought out community clubs to join to ensure their connection to 4-H was not broken.

  • As a result of their participation in the 4-H: All Access program, members stated they now plan to:

    • "…be an engineer."
    • "…work hard, do more robotics and try more inventions."
    • "…make products and see if they actually sell."
    • "…do more creative things."
    • "…consider being an entrepreneur."
    • "…be better at presentations, plan things out, work better with my teammates, and build on the experience."
    • "…do more 4-H projects!"
    • "...be an architect."
    • "…be independent."

After the 2019-2020 year, participants shared the following findings via Common Measures survey collected statewide. Due to Covid-19 and school closures, the number of participants in the survey was lower than normal with only 37 members from 4-H: All Access returning surveys. The data was used to compare experiences of 1st year members with those who have been in the 4-H: All Access program for 2 or more years.

When asked what skills were developed because of being in 4-H,

  • New members produced 22 total skills and the top three were;
    1. Leadership (65%)
    2. Meeting New People (40%)
    3. Sportsmanship and Respect for Others, both at 35%
  • Returning members produced 23 total skills and the top three were;
    1. Leadership (53%)
    2. Ability to Run a Meeting and Project Skills, both at 41%
    3. Making and evaluating an item, Sportsmanship and Responsibility, all at 29%
  • 53% of new members reported that they found it hard to lead, while only 41% of returning members stated that they found it hard to lead.
  • 79% of new members reported that they had a hard time speaking in public while only 53% of returning members stated the same.
  • 65% of new members felt comfortable working in groups and 82% of returning members felt comfortable working groups.
  • 74% of new members felt they could set goals and help others reach their goals, while 94% of returning members felt they could set goals and help others reach their goals.

Testimonials

"They were so excited. I tried to explain the importance of not losing them. Maybe attach them to something at home like a piece of cardstock and leave it on their desks in their rooms or on their backpacks. The children who weren't here last year were very envious."

-4-H: All Access Club leader discussing their first membership pin ceremony, Clay County

"My son really enjoyed the 4-H experience this past year."

-4-H: All Access Parent, Clay County

"My son comes home daily telling me what he got to do in 4-H that day. Since we will no longer be in 4-H with Adventure Club, we are excited to find a new club to get involved in this year." -4-H: All Access Parent, Clay County

-4-H: All Access Parent, Clay County

After the 2019-2020 year, participants shared the following findings via Common Measures survey collected statewide. Due to Covid-19 and school closures, the number of participants in the survey was lower than normal with only 37 members from 4-H: All Access returning surveys. The data was used to compare experiences of 1st year members with those who have been in the 4-H: All Access program for 2 or more years.

When asked what skills were developed because of being in 4-H,

  • New members produced 22 total skills and the top three were;
    1. Leadership (65%)
    2. Meeting New People (40%)
    3. Sportsmanship and Respect for Others, both at 35%
  • Returning members produced 23 total skills and the top three were;
    1. Leadership (53%)
    2. Ability to Run a Meeting and Project Skills, both at 41%
    3. Making and evaluating an item, Sportsmanship and Responsibility, all at 29%
  • 53% of new members reported that they found it hard to lead, while only 41% of returning members stated that they found it hard to lead.
  • 79% of new members reported that they had a hard time speaking in public while only 53% of returning members stated the same.
  • 65% of new members felt comfortable working in groups and 82% of returning members felt comfortable working groups.
  • 74% of new members felt they could set goals and help others reach their goals, while 94% of returning members felt they could set goals and help others reach their goals.

Related Program

Author

Sarah Morefield
816/407-3490

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