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Helping Youth Thrive

Helping youth thrive is the shared purpose of 4-H and Positive Youth Development is the science that supports us on the pathways of that purpose.

Learn more about positive youth development and how we are using the 4-H Thriving Model to help youth thrive:
The 4-H Thriving Model is a theory of change research base that integrates PYD and the science of learning and development to help us understand and recreate the magic of 4-H. The 4-H Thriving Model predicts that participating in high-quality 4-H programs helps youth thrive and that thriving youth realize key developmental outcomes.
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Growing PYD Practice

Learn more about the 4-H Thriving Model and how to apply it in your work. Explore on-demand and peer-learning professional development opportunities available here in NYS and nationally.


The 4-H Thriving Model and PYD

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Thriving Indicators

High quality 4-H programs contribute to PYD by intentionally nurturing social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral habits of mind that we call Thriving Indicators. Here are some resources to learn more and explore how to put this research to work. 

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The Developmental Context

​Helping youth thrive starts with cultivating nourishing developmental contexts. Here are some resources to learn more and explore how to put this research to work. 

Resources for Volunteers

​Consider how you might share or adapt any 4-H Thriving Model resources to mentor volunteers and caregivers in using the 4-H Thriving Model.

Opportunities designed for volunteers:


Program Development and Evaluation

The 4-H Thriving Model informs both program quality and outcome measurement in program design and evaluation.

The 4-H Thriving Model is a shared way of bringing the research of PYD to our communities, providing an overarching model that can be adapted to meet local needsWe can focus on implementing and assessing high quality programs by cultivating the developmental context with opportunities to develop a thriving orientation as the core of a young person's experience and then adapting programs for the specific contexts where we work and learn with youth.


Locally and in every part of our statewide program ecosystem, each of us can continue to deepen our understanding of the 4-H Thriving Model theory of change and grow our skills in implementing these research-based practices for continuous program quality improvement.

Then we can collaborate statewide, connecting with ongoing research and evaluation efforts to measure program outcomes and impacts, and engaging in discovery that expands and adapts the model as we learn new things.


Program Development and Evaluation Professional Development Opportunities


Program Development Resources


Program Quality Assessment Resources

The national Program Planning and Evaluation for PYD Impact Working Group is developing 4-H Thriving Model program quality assessment tools. Stay tuned for opportunities to pilot these as they emerge.


Program Outcome Evaluation Resources

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Celebrate Thriving

Youth Stories

Here are some state and national places to hear youth stories. Where are the places you are already or could be listening for youth thriving stories in your local program?

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2022 4-H Youth in Action award winner

Check out more stories from Youth in Action award winners, including several youth from NY.


Kentucky 4-H Thrive story

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Check out National 4-H Council's YouTube channel for more stories.

Program Stories

The CCE Program Development and Reporting tool has annual program success stories focused on the 4-H Thriving Model. You can find these through the search function. Please consider sharing a story of your program for this Priority Topic.

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A National Movement

4-H across the country and beyond is united in our efforts to help all youth thrive, coming together in new and myriad ways to realize this promise for America’s youth. 

The Program Leader’s Working Group (PLWG) 4-H Standing Committee on Positive Youth Development (PYD) seeks to advance the science and research foundation of positive youth development, with an emphasis on informing and transforming PYD practice in 4-H across the country. The 4-H PYD Committee coordinates national efforts to adopt and implement the 4-H Thriving Model. 


Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development supports these efforts through national, regional, and statewide collaborations.  


Within the 4-H PYD Committee are 3 working groups: 


Professional and Volunteer Capacity Building Working Group - identifies and develops 4-H Thriving Model educational resources for 4-H professionals and volunteers. 


Kelly Campbell represents CCE with this working group, serving as one of the working group leaders, and creating opportunities for 4-H professionals and volunteers to grow their PYD expertise and practice. 


Program Planning and Evaluation for PYD Impact Working Group - identifies current and needed evaluation resources and tools to help build 4-H educators’ capacity to plan, evaluate, measure, and share the impact of their 4-H programming.  


Regional 4-H PYD Network - network of up to two champions from each LGU 4-H program. Champions work together nationally and, in their regions, to extend the work of the 4-H PYD Committee into their regions and states. 


Melissa Schroeder and Alexa Maille represent CCE in this network as part of the Northeast Region. The Northeast Region’s current projects include a focus on professional and volunteer development, curating and sharing 4-H Thriving Stories, and strengthening the community of 4-H Thrive Champions.   


National 4-H PYD Academies, such as the 4-H PYD Spotlight Day, Foundations of Positive Youth Development for Early Career 4-H Professionals, Program Planning and Evaluation for Positive Youth Development Impact, and Immersion days, are hosted by the 4-H PYD Committee and its’ component working groups. 


Shawn Tiede serves as a 4-H System Liaison in the 4-H PYD Committee, supporting PYD Academies and leadership development. 

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