Through 4-H, youth have the opportunity learn and explore in a safe environment with the support of caring adults. Positive youth development research emphasizes the importance of meeting the four basic human needs of Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. When these needs are met, youth are prepared to be successful, contributing members of society.
The Foundation provides funding support to enable the growth and creation of programs that emphasize Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity because youth need:
- To know they are cared about and feel connected to others in group settings.
- Opportunities to create trusting connections which can lead to feelings of acceptance, appreciation, and attachment.
- Connections to develop a sense of safety, social competence, and healthy boundaries in interpersonal relationships.
- To believe they are capable and successful in solving problems and meeting challenges.
- Experience in achieving goals aligned with their own interests.
- Opportunities to practice and demonstrate skills, followed by time to reflect and receive feedback.
- To know they have influence and autonomy in decision-making.
- A sense of control and responsibility for their own actions.
- Leadership opportunities to develop self-reliance and confidence.
- To feel their lives have meaning and purpose by connecting with their communities and learning to give back.
- Opportunities to develop empathy and sense of purpose.
- Experience addressing a need in their communities to enhance values such as altruism, equity, and social justice.