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Stay In 4-H

I was in 4-H for nine years. I learned how to cook, sew, and raise cattle.  I also learned how to keep a record book, although I really hated that part. However, what I learned all those years ago in 4-H directly relates to my job today.

The 4-H Youth Development Extension and Outreach program at Iowa State University conducted a three-year study of over 1,200 Iowa 4-H’ers. The kids were asked to indicate on a five-point scale if 4-H had increased their knowledge in the areas of communication, learning, citizenship, leadership, healthy living, and aspirations in science.

Marybeth Foster is the Iowa 4-H organizational accountability manager. She says they saw increases in all categories.

"It basically confirmed what we believe, which is that we see our clubs as our most in-depth learning experience in 4-H because of the amount of time that the clubs meet over the year. So, the longer you’re in a club it would stand to reason that you would gain more knowledge the longer you’re in your club," says Foster. "And that’s basically what the study showed."

Foster says they didn’t see large upticks in any one specific area. The results were steady and consistent, which is indicative of a well-rounded experience.

A national study by Tufts University shows 4-H has an impact on overall learning.

"That was the most longitudinal survey that 4-H did across the country," she says. "It basically showed what you would expect, that 4-H’ers tend to do better in school than their peers and so we continue to demonstrate that club learning is very important in the development of a young person."