The Advancing the 4-H Thriving Model task for is a chartered entity of the 4-H Program Leaders’s Working Group (PLWG). The task force is chartered for a three-year period (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022) to facilitate further development and implementation of the 4-H Thriving Model across the national 4-H system. The result of this work will be alignment of the 4-H program nationally around a consistent model of youth development, leading to enhanced collective evaluation measurement and impact results.
Task Force Purpose and Scope
- Development of professional development training materials and related supports and opportunities for 4-H professionals and volunteers. Training professionals and volunteers in how to plan and implement 4-H programs with fidelity to the 4-H Thriving Model is essential if all 4-H programs are to meet 4-H’s intended outcomes. Currently there is no consistent PYD training that guides the implementation of 4-H programs to promote PYD.
- Continued research on the 4-H Thriving Model. Continued research is needed to ensure the model’s applicability across the 4-H programs’ settings and youth populations. While a “main effect” has been established for the model, the next step in the research process is testing “what works, for what youth, under what conditions.”
- Organizational learning and alignment. The 4-H program has many entities involved in its leadership and implementation. It is essential that all groups are united in one effort to describe, plan, and conduct 4-H programs under one unified model. To do this, a group of 4-H Thriving Model champions is needed to provide organizational learning & support across all the major entities, helping to ensure alignment in the use of the 4-H Thriving Model.
- Advance and support the accomplishment of the 4-H Youth Development: A 2025 Vision National Strategic Plan, particularly in the areas of the Power of Youth and Extraordinary Places to Learn.
About the 4-H Thriving Model
The 4-H Thriving Model illustrates the process of positive youth development in 4-H programs by connecting high quality program settings to the promotion of youth thriving.
High quality 4-H program settings provide youth a place to belong, matter and explore their personal spark. High quality settings foster developmental relationships with youth, relationships that express care, challenge growth, and share power. These components help ensure that 4-H programs provide a nourishing developmental context – a place where youth can belong and grow.
High quality 4-H programs contribute to PYD through the intentional promotion of social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral habits of mind. In the 4-H Thriving Model this process of PYD is described by seven indicators of thriving: Openness to challenge and discover, growth mindset, hopeful purpose, pro-social orientation, transcendent awareness, positive emotionality and self-regulation though goal setting and management.
Youth who experience high quality developmental settings in 4-H with an emphasis on these key social-emotional skills achieve key positive youth development outcomes, including academic motivation and success, social competence, high personal standards, connection with others, personal responsibility, and contribution to others through leadership and civic engagement.
Youth who achieve positive developmental outcomes are more likely to also achieve long-term outcomes marked by vocational or academic success, civic engagement, employability and economic stability and happiness and well being.