Title page for ETD etd-11162006-154047

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tarifa, Todd Anthony
Author's Email Address tatarifa@agctr.lsu.edu
URN etd-11162006-154047
Title Level of Youth Voice in the Decision-Making Process within the 4-H Youth Development Program as Perceived by State 4-H Program Leaders, State 4-H Youth Development Specialists, and 4-H Agents/Educators
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Krisanna Machtmes Committee Chair
Gerri Johnson Committee Member
Janet E Fox Committee Member
Michael F Burnett Committee Member
James Harvey Moore Dean's Representative
  • Youth Voice
  • 4-H
  • Youth Development
  • Youth
Date of Defense 2006-11-13
Availability unrestricted
This study aimed at determining the level of inclusiveness of youth voice in the decision-making process in the 4-H youth development program. It described the 4-H programís position on youth voice among State 4-H Program Leaders, 4-H State Youth Development Specialists, and 4-H Youth Agents/Educators. The information gathered was utilized in identifying the level of inclusiveness of youth voice in the decision-making process to better understand how to suit youthís needs, identify promising practices, and barriers.

Three underlying constructs were identified that represented State 4-H Program Leaderís, 4-H Youth Development Specialistís, and 4-H Agentís/Educatorís personal views on youth voice in the decision-making process. They are as follows: Adult Initiated, Youth Involved; Youth Led, Adult Supported; and Youth Involved, Adult Decision-Making.

Findings indicated that as an organization, 4-H, has to gather emerging research on youth voice and base trainings that address the primary issue of youth voice. Four-H needs to become more directional in its purpose and focus on trainings and issues that will aid youth development professionals in becoming true youth developers that address the needs of youth in our nation. Most interaction with youth within the 4-H program takes place at the county/parish level. It is evident that 4-H needs to include youth voice at the state level to ensure that youth needs are being met at the higher levels within the organization. While aware of emerging research on youth voice, 4-H state faculty, need to value the benefits of this new ideology.

When viewing youth voice inclusion from the standpoint of organizational culture, it was found that as a youth development program, 4-H has a double standard on including youth voice in the decision-making process. The 4-H youth development program can not include them as full partners and let them have little choice on how and when they participate. Four-H creates a sense of mistrust with youth, and this type of inconsistency will negatively affect youth voice on all levels. It will take time for the organizational culture to shift the paradigm and recognize and adjust the value of, and respect youth voice in the decision-making process.

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