An examination of the factors that influence the decision to participate in youth leadership development opportunities in rural high schools in three southern states



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Texas Tech University


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.