Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Williams, Frankie K

Committee Member

Grimes , Lawrence W

Committee Member

Satterfield , James W

Committee Member

Wolak , Francis J

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to investigate the perceptions of county 4-H agents/educators regarding the level of emphasis placed on the eight elements (caring adult, safe environment, mastery, service, self-determination, inclusiveness, futuristic view, and engagement) in each of the four delivery modes (clubs, special interest, school enrichment, and camping). Participants were also asked to give their perceptions of the character in action of the youth participating in the county 4-H program. A quantitative cross-sectional research design was used to collect data regarding agent/educator perceptions. Participants responded to a web-based survey and provided 4-H youth demographic information from ES237 Federal enrollment reports. Three research questions were examined. Descriptive statistics indicated that 4-H agents/educators perceived an overall moderate emphases of the eight elements in club activities. Agents/educators perceived an overall moderate level of emphasis on the elements with respect to special interest, school enrichment, and camping. County 4-H agents/educators were somewhat confident concerning the character in action of the youth participating in county 4-H programs. Pearson's correlation indicated moderately positive and significant relationships between total character in action of youth and 4-H club and special interest activities. For 4-H school enrichment and camp activities, results showed significant, yet low positive relationships with character development. The findings from this study supported earlier research regarding the impact of 4-H youth development. More research is needed in terms of integrating the perspectives of youth, parents, and alumni with those of the county extension professionals designing and developing 4-H programs.

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