Informing Practice Through Professional Development: An Interstate Urban Programming Study Tour


  • Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins University of Maryland Extension
  • Deborah Dietrich Penn State Extension



professional development, urban programming, youth, planning, evaluation


Southeast Pennsylvania 4-H Extension educators identified a need for professional development in order to further develop current urban 4-H programs. The expectation was that increased awareness and knowledge would lead to increased skills competency in planning, implementing, and evaluating urban 4-H youth development programs. An interstate professional development program was developed to inform practitioners on positive youth development in urban communities. The 2-day program included on-site observations of urban programs and professional development on best practices. The event was scheduled as a study tour that involved intentional focus on practical applications of research theory for informal education. The Penn State Extension 4-H Urban Study Tour included on-site observations, program development, and networking leading to the successful development of action plans for local implementation. The program was evaluated for impact using pre- and post-tour survey tools. Results suggest that the participants gained value from the professional development study tour, thus similar opportunities may be warranted.

Author Biographies

Vernelle Mitchell-Hawkins, University of Maryland Extension

4-H Educator, Baltimore County

University of Maryland Extension

Deborah Dietrich, Penn State Extension

Area 4-H Educator, Southeast Pennsylvania 

Penn State Extension


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