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., George S. Foster


Four-H, the youth development phase of Cooperative Extension, has grown to be one of the largest youth organizations in the world, and enrolls four million boys and girls annually in its citizen build-ing projects and activities. Four-H in Tennessee involved 166,390 youth in 1975, but had a much larger potential. To bolster enroll-ments, 4-H Standards were developed in the mid-1960's. After ten years it was felt that the Standards might need re-evaluating. There-fore the purpose of this study was to comparatively examine Tennessee 4-H Club data for 1965 and 1975 regarding participation, organization and leadership, considering the utility of the 4-H Standards, namely: (1) 4-H Standard One: there should be 1,000 4-H club members, adjusted, per Fulltime Staff Equivalent in 4-H, (2) 4-H Standard Two: there should be 20-40 members per 4-H Club, (3) 4-H Standard Three: there should be 100 adult leaders per F.S.E. or one adult leader for each ten members, and (4) Proposed 4-H Standard Four: the county enrollment mix should be approximately 20 percent Explorers, 40 percent Juniors, 30 percent Junior Highs and 10 percent Seniors. Related literature provided support for each of the Standards and the five adjustment criteria for Standard One. Data were drawn from various sources as needed. Several aspects of data collection required special handling such as the relative eco-nomic status of counties, computation of numbers of adult leaders and basic four 4-H organizations. Major findings included the following: (1) regarding 4-H Standard One: (a) nearly one-half of the Tennessee counties met or exceeded the suggested 1981 enrollments compared to only one—fourth doing as in 1971, (b) 4-H enrollment had increased from the 117,516 youth of 1965 to the 168,930 youth of 1975 and was projected to 187,909 youth in 1981, (c) adjiostment criteria appeared to give realistic enrollment suggestions, (d) reenrollment percents had not changed appreciably Statewide, however individual counties had changed more drastically, (e) the potential membership was and is greater than enrolled or suggested for 1981; (2) regarding 4-H Standard Two: (a) the average number of members per club had decreased since 1965 and did generally fall within the 20-40 member limit, (b) the range in the number of members per club had narrowed, the average being 33 in 1975 versus 38 in 1965, (c) the nianber of clubs had increased from 2,946 in 1965 to 4,971 in 1975 and the suggestion was for 5,793 clubs by 1981 to accomodate the suggested increased enrollment; (3) regarding 4-H Standard Three: (a) the number of adult leaders had decreased by 1,565 since 1965, (b) the number of Junior and Teen leaders had increased by nearly 2,000 over the ten year period, (c) the ratio of Junior and Teen leaders per adult leaders had increased from 0.3 in 1965 to 0.7 in 1975, (d) the suggested number of adult leaders called for an increase of 12,336 more leaders by 1981; (4) regarding Proposed 4-H Standard Four: (a) there had been a disproportionately high percent of Junior and low percent Senior audiences enrolled, (b) National and State figures approximated the proposed audience mix, and (c) projected 1981 numbers showed increases were needed in Explorer, Jvinior High and Senior audiences, especially the last. Implications and recommendations also were given.

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