Positive Youth Development Theory in Practice: An Update on the 4-H Thriving Model

Mary Elizabeth Arnold, Ryan J. Gagnon


The 4-H Thriving Model predicts that participation in high-quality 4-H programs helps youth thrive and that thriving youth achieve key developmental outcomes, thus illuminating the process of positive youth development in 4-H. This paper provides an update on the 4-H Thriving Model, with particular attention to model modifications based on additional research. The paper then describes the formation of the Advancing the 4-H Model Task Force, a 3-year project chartered by the national 4-H Program Leaders Working Group (PLWG). The paper describes how the work of the task force will support efforts related to the professional development of 4-H youth development professionals and volunteers, replication of and further research on the 4-H Thriving model, and organizational alignment across the national 4-H system.


4-H Thriving Model; youth development; program theory; program evaluation; professional development

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.954

Copyright (c) 2020 Mary Elizabeth Arnold, Ryan J. Gagnon

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