Alayna N. Jackson and Richie Roberts. (2021). Building Citizens for the Future: A Case Study of 4-H Members’ Experiences During the Citizenship Washington Focus Program. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62 (4), 111-124. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.04112
In recent decades, numerous approaches have been used to promote the development of youth’s civic identity. Evidence of the success of these approaches, however, is insufficient. In response, this case study sought to document the outcomes of Louisiana 4-H members who participated in the Citizen Washington Focus (CWF) program. Through our analysis of the data, five themes emerged: (1) Positive Sparks, (2) Learning About Self and Others, (3) Youth-Adult Partnerships, (4) Program Engagement, and (5) Practicing Civic Skills. We interpreted findings through the lens of Arnold’s 4-H Thriving Model, which provided insight into how the 4-H members experienced civic identity development as a result of the CWF program. We concluded CWF served as a powerful way to assist youth in developing their civic identity. For example, participants discussed building skills and practicing such during the program, which improved their self-efficacy. The 4-H members also highlighted bill writing and civil discourse as skills they transferred into their lives after returning home. Going forward, implications and recommendations are offered for future research, theory, and practice.