About the 4-H Thriving Model

The 4-H Thriving Model is the theory of change for positive youth development in 4-H. The 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.

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