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Feeling safe is key to developing life skills in 4-H according to Cooperative Extension

Posted 5/2/2007

A recent University of Nevada Cooperative Extension study revealed that feeling safe is the key ingredient in helping 4-H youth build life skills. Results of the study were published in the national professional journal, Journal of Extension, August issue.

"This study featured Nevada 4-H as the sample group and applied new concepts and models in youth development," said Loretta Singletary, Lyon County extension educator and professor, "which were developed by a nationally recognized group of experts for 4-H."

Results of a statewide survey in Nevada revealed that the most important skill a volunteer leader possesses is to ensure the physical and psychological safety of 4-H members. This includes keeping youth from hurting each other's feelings; keeping youth from bullying each other; managing conflict between youth; and making sure that the facility where 4-H youth meet is safe. These results emphasize the importance of the careful recruitment, screening, training, and management of 4-H volunteer leaders.

The article, "Self-Perceived 4-H Leader Competencies and Their Relation to the Skills Youth Learn Through 4-H Youth Development Programs," was written by Loretta Singletary, Lyon County extension educator and professor; Marilyn Smith, professor and area specialist, youth development; and William P. Evans, professor and state youth development specialist.

The article is available free online. For more information, contact Loretta Singletary at 775-463-6541 or by email.

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