Essential Elements for Positive Youth Development
Eight elements have been identified as critical to the well-being and positive development of youth. They are known as the 4-H Essential Elements. Each of the eight essential elements is critical to the growth and development of youth. It is a combination of these elements that creates a positive environment for youth development. Intentional focus on these elements allows youth to benefit from participating in hands-on, experiential activities and events, feeling nurtured in a safe environment, mastering new skills and abilities, and knowing that they are contributing to their communities in a positive way.
The eight 4-H Essential Elements are:
- Positive relationship with a caring adult
- A safe emotional and physical environment
- An inclusive environment
- Engagement in learning
- Opportunity for mastery
- Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future
- Opportunity for self-determination
- Opportunity to value and practice service to others
The elements are organized under four main groups:
Adapted from 4-H Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development, Cathann Kress (2004).