The value of 4-H competitive activities as perceived by the parents of 4-H members
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The 4-H organization is one of the oldest and largest experiential education programs for youth in the United States of America (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987). While the basic purpose of the 4-H program was originally the development of boys and girls for farm life, today's 4-H program is designed to enhance the development of responsible and capable citizens, regardless of home life or family background (Kelsey & Heame, 1963). The mission statement of the 4-H program states that the goal of the 4-H organization is "... to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing and contributing members of society" (United States Department of Agriculture, Extension Service, 1990, p. 1). Four-H programs focus on involvement by youth and their parents through clubs, school enrichment, and special activities efforts (Internet, Cooperative Extension Service, 1996). Essentially, the purpose of the program is to create a supportive environment in which youth can reach their fullest potential (National FFA Organization and 4-H, 1996).