This mixed-methods study sought to determine the impact of a 4-H state-level youth leadership program on participants’ leadership and life skills (LLS) development. Youth who participated in the study served as a state-level leader for one year. Two cohorts, 2017 and 2018 (N = 18), participated in the study. Twelve youth completed the survey and interviews. Results from the Youth Leadership Life Skills Development scale (YLLSD) and interviews revealed participants gained LLS in the areas of understanding self, decision-making, strengthened oral communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. Participation in 4-H positively built LLS among participants. Long-term engagement in 4-H was found to increase and deepen LLS development among participants by reinforcing lessons learned and through positive role-modeling between peers. Further research should explore the relationship between assigning youth leaders with titles such as president, vice-president, and secretary and associated LLS outcomes as previous research indicated that those given these titles benefited more than youth without titles in spite of all youth receiving similar formative experiences.



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