What is PYD?

The Science of Success
Home About What is PYD?

4-H programs have engaged young people in learning and growing for over a century, but our work is about much more than a club, a camp or after school program. It’s about helping youth thrive—now and in the future. 

The science behind the success of 4-H is Positive Youth Development, a comprehensive approach to promoting learning and development. Its goal is to help young people feel empowered and develop critical life skills that allow them to reach their fullest potential. 

Our programs have positive, measurable impacts on not only social and emotional growth, but the behavioral and cognitive development of our youth. 

We make sure PYD is a part of every 4-H opportunity, helping kids thrive in equitable and inclusive ways with the following elements. 


Helping Youth Thrive

  • Sparks: Providing a place where youth can find and explore what sparks their interest.
  • Belonging: Creating spaces of belonging—where ALL kids feel welcome and physically and emotionally safe.
  • Relationships: Nurturing positive, supportive and empowering relationships between youth and adults and youth and their peers.
  • Engagement: Challenging and encouraging youth to pursue their own learning and growth. Promoting active engagement where youth have a voice. 

Longterm Goals

In addition to these key components, 4-H supports social-emotional learning that helps youth develop critical life skills. An openness to challenge and discovery, positive emotions, a healthy growth mindset and goal setting skills are fundamental for success.

These skills help create positive long-term outcomes like high personal standards, connection with others, vocational and academic success and—most importantly—a sense of happiness and well-being.

In 4-H, we know that youth is our greatest resource. Our mission is to help them succeed—wherever their imagination takes them.

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