Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Christopher Stripling

Committee Members

Dwight Loveday, Carrie Stephens


The primary purpose of this study was to determine Tennessee youths’ perception of their youth leadership life skills development. The study also determined why youth participated in the sheep skillathon. This study utilized a quantitative research approach. The research design for this descriptive study was a one shot case study. One instrument was used during this study for data collection, the Skillathon Life Skills Questionnaire. The Skillathon Life Skills Questionnaire is a researcher-developed instrument with three demographic questions which included age, grade, and gender, the 30 item Youth Leadership Life Skills Development Scale (Dormody, Seevers & Clason, 1993), 11 items that assessed possible reasons for participating in the skillathon, and an open-ended question that allowed youth to state any other reasons they participated in the skillathon. Tennessee youth completed the Skillathon Life Skills Questionnaire at the Tennessee State Sheep Expo.

Data were analyzed used SPSS version 22 for Windows. Frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations were calculated to summarize demographics, youth leadership life skills development, and why students participate in the skillathon. Additionally, a frequency table was produced based on the open-ended question which asked participates to list other reasons for participating in the skillathon not listed in the 11 reasons for participating items.

The study found sheep skillathon participants perceived the sheep skillathon to have a positive impact or moderate gain in their youth leadership life skill development. The study also found a majority of youth agreed the following reasons are why they participated in the skillathon: (a) 4-H Agent or Ag Teacher; (b) I wanted to be Premier Exhibitor; (c) I thought it would be fun; (d) I wanted to see how much I knew about my project; (e) to achieve a goal; (f) build self-confidence; ( g) challenge myself to try new things; (h) competition; and (i) interested in animal science career. Based on these findings, recommendations for practice and future research were given.

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