Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Extension

Major Professor

Robert S. Dotson

Committee Members

Cecil E. Carter Jr, Oliver F. Cook, Ester L. Hatcher


Knox County Urban 4-H Clubs, organized in 1973 when federal funds became available, were studied to document problems faced and solutions employed prior to and during the formation of local clubs, to evaluate the urban 4-H program as seen by selected authorities as well as members, and to recommend suggestions for future continuation and improvement.

Seven present and six former Tennessee Extension staff members, two volunteer adult urban 4-H leaders, and 33 present and 10 former urban 4-H members were interviewed and/or surveyed. Also, documents, including letters and contracts, and library materials were reviewed.

Major findings of the study included the following:

1. Most Knox County urban youth were not being served by the Extension Service prior to the 1973 federal funding of urban 4-H clubs by Congress.

2. Amended legislation legitimized serving city residents in the minds of Extension staff and clients.

3. Within a year of its inception, urban 4-H was well received in Knoxville as evidenced by high enrollment (i.e. 1831) of 4-H age youth and continuation of their clubs.

4. Urban 4-H clubs established in Knoxville offered all projects and activities from the regular program and were seen to be relevant and beneficial to urban youth.

5. Past and present urban 4-H club members perceived their main reason for belonging to and participating in 4-H activities as having fun, and because it was interesting and challenging.

6. Urban 4-H members felt that they received valuable knowledge and personal growth because of their 4-H membership.

7. After federal funding, when urban 4-H clubs were organized, they met mainly in urban schools in Knoxville with one Assistant Extension Agent, 3.5 Fulltime Program Assistants and 75 to 100 volunteer 4-H leaders providing leadership for the clubs.

8. Projects and activities were offered to all eligible 4-H members regardless of residence.

9. Special interest groups, personal contacts, day camps, newsletters, demonstrations and workshops were more effective methods and approaches used to deliver 4-H club educational programs to members.

10. The urban 4-H program was seen to have achieved success in helping urban youth to develop practical skills and to become better citizens through leadership and citizenship activities.

Implications for use of findings and recommendations for further study were included.

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