An examination of the factors that influence the decision to participate in youth leadership development opportunities in rural high schools in three southern states
Student membership in the FFA has shifted away from a rural population. This study described the factors that influence the level of involvement and a students’ decision to participate in FFA within Arizona, Florida, and Texas. An eight page questionnaire was completed by 2111 agricultural education/science students. Students were asked to indicate their agreement toward barriers and attitudes to participation using a five point Likert type scale. Four factors were found that influence participation in FFA: high school GPA, participation in on-campus (non-vocational organizations) activities, agreement with the statement “Leadership activities have made me a more confident person,” and year in school. Factors which influenced the level of involvement in FFA were: involvement in on-campus athletics, involvement in on-campus (non-vocational organizations) activities, high school GPA, and agreement with the statement “My friends would think less of me”. Recommendations include using data to develop and implement a program targeted toward rural recruitment and retention within the National FFA Organization.