Examining the Reasons and Relationships Between Why Youth Join, Stay in, and Leave 4-H

Rebecca Harrington, Trisha Sheehan, Dale A. Blyth


While the Minnesota 4-H Club program has grown over 29% in the last six years, annually over 25% of youth do not re-enroll. The Minnesota 4-H Retention Study asked youth who left the program why they decided to join, stay and ultimately leave 4-H. Data from 220 youth were examined to better understand the reasons for and relationship between youth joining and staying in 4-H and their reasons for leaving 4-H. Youth joined 4-H because they wanted to have fun, try new things, and participate in projects and fairs. Top reasons they stayed in 4-H were they liked being with other kids, had fun, and learned new things. Primary reasons youth left were they lost interest in 4-H or became involved in other activities. Examining the relationships revealed that paying particular attention to youth experiences in project learning and teaching, relationships with adults, and youth having fun will increase retention.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2011.186

Copyright (c) 2011 Journal of Youth Development

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