Eight Essential ElementsJust like any living creature, today’s young people need nourishing and supportive environments for them to develop into healthy and productive adults.
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Just like any living creature, today’s young people need nourishing and supportive environments for them to develop into healthy and productive adults. They need to develop confidence in their ability to make a difference in the world and influence others. Also, youth need to feel cared about by people in their life.
While many children and teens grow up in positive environments that fulfill several of their needs, there are those that lack the essential elements that enhance growth. 4-H is a youth development program that serves as a positive environment for youth. A National 4-H Impact Design Implementation team identified eight essential elements for positive youth development. These eight essential elements were later distilled into four key concepts: Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity.
Under the Belonging concept, three essential elements are found: a positive relationship with a caring adult, an inclusive environment, and a safe emotional and physical environment. In the first element, positive relationship with a caring adult, it was found that a caring adult holds many roles such as advisor, mentor, friend, and advocate. In an inclusive environment, a sense of belonging is created for youth and the opportunity for them to participate and succeed. When a safe emotional and physical environment is provided, youth should be able to participate in activities without fear of physical or emotional harm.
The second concept is Mastery, which includes two more elements: the opportunity for mastery and
engagement in learning. An opportunity for mastery is crucial because it gives youth the chance to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they have developed. Also, it is important to encourage engagement in learning. Engaged youth develop understanding and gain the ability to learn from their experiences. They also have a high degree of self-motivation and a high capacity for creativity.
Thirdly, included in the Independence concept is the opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future and the opportunity for self-determination. In seeing oneself as an active participant in the future, youth gain hope and optimism that shape their future life choices. The opportunity for self-determination results in young people developing a sense of influence over their own lives, rather than just submitting to the will of others.
Finally, with the Generosity concept comes the opportunity to value and practice service to others. The best way to find one’s self is to lose “self” in the service of others. Community service offers youth the chance to make a difference in the world.
Garland County 4-H strives to apply these eight essential elements to our program every day. All of our volunteer leaders and parents serve as caring adults for the members. All meetings and activities are a safe environment and all members are encouraged to get involved! At our competitions known as 4-H O-Rama, many different contests are offered to allow youth to demonstrate their ability in their area of choice. Independence of 4-H’ers is a big focus in Garland County. Youth are given the opportunity to make their own decisions and to serve in leadership positions to help guide their local and county 4-H program. Lastly, community service is at the heart of many of our activities.
For more information about meetings, Garland County 4-H Club membership or program benefits, contact the Garland County Cooperative Extension office located at 236 Woodbine in Hot Springs, or call 501-623-6841 or 922-4703. You may also contact Linda Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is available at our website: www.uaex.edu/garland.
Master Gardener Information
Master Gardener meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. They’re open to the public and guests are always welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at email@example.com .
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Jessica Vincent on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.