4-H Helping Youth Thrive

September 13, 2022

Helping Youth Thrive LogoFor over 120 years, 4-H Youth Development has engaged youth with high-quality developmental settings with an emphasis on academic motivation and success, social competence, high personal Deelopmental context chartstandards, connection, personal responsibility, and contribution to others through leadership and civic engagement. 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.

The Regional 4-H PYD Champion Network consists of 4-H professionals from Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) across the five Extension Regions. Clemson University Cooperative Extension is proud to support Patricia Whitener as a champion for SC 4-H and part of the southeastern regional working group. Her focus as a thrive champion is on capacity-building efforts for 4-H professionals and volunteers with both Clemson University and SC State. Her focus is on promoting a consistent, correct, and complete understanding of positive youth development throughout the state and region.

Patricia has received $25,000 through a competitive distribution of Extension Innovation funding to further the implementation and adoption of the 4-H Thrive model.  This will be accomplished through PYD capacity building with 4-H professionals and volunteers, leading to improved PYD programming, and stronger and clearer program impact. Ultimately the aim of the thrive sessions is to educate and empower 4-H professionals and to secure the position of SC 4-H as a regional leader in positive youth development programming through delivering professional development, developing effective professional development evaluation, and supporting quality program implementation standards. The impact of the initiative is widespread. Research demonstrates youth programs must be done well if they are to make a positive difference in the lives of youth. Long-term outcomes of quality Developmental Context (i.e., 4-H programs) are academic or vocational success, civic engagement, employability and economic stability, happiness, and wellbeing.

Patricia Whitener, 4-H Youth Development Agent



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