4-H'ers benefit from their 4-H experience over the course of their lives— socially, physically, emotionally and economically

Extension has offered a 4-H program in Nevada for more than 90 years, benefitting our state's youth for a lifetime

4-H'ers sitting on the dock at 4-H Camp in Lake Tahoe, enjoying the sunset

Extension's 4-H youth learn leadership, citizenship and life skills at school, in local clubs and at Nevada 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe. Photo by Robert Moore.

4-H'ers benefit from their 4-H experience over the course of their lives— socially, physically, emotionally and economically

Extension has offered a 4-H program in Nevada for more than 90 years, benefitting our state's youth for a lifetime

Extension's 4-H youth learn leadership, citizenship and life skills at school, in local clubs and at Nevada 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe. Photo by Robert Moore.

4-H'ers sitting on the dock at 4-H Camp in Lake Tahoe, enjoying the sunset

Extension's 4-H youth learn leadership, citizenship and life skills at school, in local clubs and at Nevada 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe. Photo by Robert Moore.

The 4-H Youth Development Program across the nation reaches more than 6 million youth and is America’s largest youth organization. Studies have shown that 4-H youth are four times more likely to contribute to their community and two times more likely to be civically engaged, participate in out-of-school science programs and make healthier choices. So we know that 4-H makes an impact on our young people, but do we know what impact it has as those young people grow up?

In 2019, National 4-H Council partnered with Edge Research to conduct a study of 4-H alumni from across the country. The study found that a 4-H experience correlates with success in life. All data suggest that alumni benefit from the 4-H model well into adulthood and over the course of their lives both socially and economically.

It was found that 84 percent of 4-H alumni are satisfied with their lives (with 51 percent being very satisfied), compared to 70 percent of non-alumni being satisfied with their lives (and 31 percent being very satisfied). When asked to score their satisfaction level on a scale from 0% satisfied to 100% satisfied, 4-H’ers and non-4-H’ers showed notable differences in a number of categories.

The longer a person was involved in the 4-H Youth Development Program, the higher their level of satisfaction was. For those alumni who were involved for 10 or more years, their level of satisfaction was 61 percent. The level of satisfaction for those involved in 4-H for five to 10 years was 54 percent, and those who were involved for one to four years had a satisfaction level of 37 percent.

It was also found that 4-H alumni had a higher social and emotional satisfaction than non 4-H alumni. When asked how satisfied they were with the following situations, here were the results between 4-H alumni and non-alumni.

Social and emotional satisfaction of non-alumni of 4-H and 4-H alumni
Area of satisfaction Non-alumni satisfaction level 4-H alumni satisfaction level
Connections with others in the community 53% 77%
Your mental and emotional health 66% 79%
Your family situation 70% 83%
Your personal network of family and friends 70% 84%

4-H alumni are more fulfilled by their jobs and are more financially secure.

Job satisfaction and financial security of non-alumni of 4-H and 4-H alumni
Area of satisfaction Non-alumni satisfaction level 4-H alumni satisfaction level
Your financial health 51% 65%
Your job or work 46% 62%
Your ability to save money for security or retirement 48% 61%
Your ability to secure a good-paying job 47% 61%
Your future career or job prospects 42% 55%

Maybe it’s because more 4-H alumni love their work (51 percent vs. 33 percent of non-alums) and feel their work is making a difference (57 percent vs. 37 percent of non-alums). Fifty-three percent of the 4-H alumni said their involvement had an impact on their career choice and 78 percent also said 4-H impacted their work and career success.

The following table shows the difference between 4-H alumni and non-alumni when asked if the statement fit them perfectly or very well related to their job or career.

Job or career satisfaction of non-alumni of 4-H and 4-H alumni
Area of satisfaction Non-alumni satisfaction level 4-H alumni satisfaction level
I only work because I have to work 27% 23%
I am working in a field that I studied/trained for 31% 44%
I have a good balance between work and home life 39% 48%
I love my work 33% 51%
I make a difference with my work 37% 57%

As you can see, involvement in the 4-H Youth Development Program does last a lifetime! It's a good thing that University of Nevada, Reno Extension has offered the program right here in Nevada for over 90 years.

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