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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Oregon State: 4-H Thriving Model Emphasizes Active, Learn-by-doing Approach

Thanks to a model created by Oregon State University’s Dr. Mary Arnold, Oregon 4-H uses an active, learn-by-doing approach to help young people see how their actions make a difference in the lives of others and the world around them.

Dr. Arnold’s 4-H Thriving Model research and development effort identifies and shares techniques proven to produce the desired results in the lives of young people. Specifically, the researchers seek to learn the formula for success that has inspired kids to become contributing, productive, self-directing members of society.

According to the model, youth are determined to be thriving if they show the following indicators: prosocial orientation, hopeful purpose, self-transcendent awareness, emotional management, self-regulation, openness to challenge and discovery, and growth mindset.

“If we do 4-H programs really well, based on a formula of best practices, then we will help young people thrive,” says Dr. Arnold, Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences professor and youth development specialist who oversees 4-H positive youth development and program evaluation in Oregon.

“Thriving youth, in turn, achieve important developmental outcomes—academic motivation and success, social competence, personal standards, contribution to others, connection with others, and personal responsibility,” she says.

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