Service-Learning and Leadership Life Skills: An Experimental Study


  • B. Darlene Locke Texas A&M University
  • Barry Boyd Texas A&M University
  • Steven Fraze Texas Tech University
  • Jeff W. Howard Texas A&M University



This study examined the effect of service activities on the development of leadership life skills in youth and (queried) if having a reflection component as part of the activity makes a difference. Additionally, the study examined the impact of selected demographics including age, gender, type of service completed monthly and 4-H membership on the development of leadership life skills. Participants in the study were from two samples. One group represented the El Paso National Youth Service Day, the other represented the District 11 4-H Leadership Lab in Branham, Texas. Participants were randomly assigned to a control (no reflection) or treatment (with reflection) group. Youth participants self rated their leadership life skills using a 33-question post-test only questionnaire. Demographics were reported in nine additional questions. The major findings of the study are as follows: 1) Overall, the participants reported their perceived leadership life skills to be high in four of the five subscales; 2) The inclusion of a reflection component did not significantly affect perceived leadership life skills; 3) Type of service, whether direct or indirect, had a significant impact on perceived leadership life skills; 4) 4-H membership had a significant impact on the Personal Leadership Development subscale.






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