PRYDE embodies 4-H principles

Megan Tifft , PRYDE 4-H Work Team member

Megan Tifft , PRYDE 4-H Work Team member

As I began thinking about PRYDE and what to reflect on in this post, the Circle of Courage/4-H Essential Elements came to mind.  “The Circle of Courage® is a model of positive youth development based on the universal principle that to be emotionally healthy all youth need a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.” [1]  These principles are core to positive youth development and important to people in general.  I feel that myself and other 4-H educators, through our involvement in PRYDE, have been provided opportunities for belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.

As a practitioner who has worked in the field for close to twenty years, I never felt that the research being done by the land -grant university I was working for had much application to my work or that I had much access to the research. I was an educator “out in the field” with little connection to researchers and research.  I did not feel as though I belonged to a larger institution; rather I was in my county trying to master the work on my own.

When I began working for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Tompkins County fourteen years ago, there were opportunities for the young people and families to be involved in research; “involvement” usually meant having underserved youth participate in some type of survey.  When PRYDE was introduced, it changed how I thought about my work because PRYDE does this work differently.  PRYDE 4-H work team members have a voice in the research process, bringing issues to researchers and guiding the research study design.  Furthermore, PRYDE involves educators working directly with youth in meaningful research through support, guidance, and education, giving us the tools to assist in studies independently.  This is an example of how PRYDE helps educators feel a sense of belonging to Cornell and increases knowledge regarding the research process and the value of research (mastery).

As part of the CCE mission, we strive to develop learning partnerships to meet our goals and PRYDE is an example of this: a partnership between Cornell, researchers, educators, and community members.  For example, Cornell students involved with PRYDE and CCE educators from across New York State teamed up to develop a study on the impact of 4-H afterschool programs, focusing on youth outcomes with an emphasis on the 4-H Essential Elements.  What makes this a true learning partnership is that educators are sharing local concerns, students and researchers are hearing and responding to those concerns, current best practices in both research and practice are being to put use, and the study was designed through teamwork. 

In sum, I believe that the principles of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity are core to both youth development and also positive human development, in general.  My experiences with the PRYDE work team have given me a stronger sense of these principles by fully engaging me in the process, by allowing my voice to be heard, and providing me the opportunity to share my knowledge and expand my expertise. 



Megan TifftComment