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Peterson, Nels Milan; Ph.D.
Program of Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
April 2009

A Mixed Method Study of Positional Leadership of North Dakota 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni

Major Professor: Dr. Mark Schmidt


The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine the positional leadership of North Dakota 4-H and FFA leadership alumni. This study determined the influence of youth development programs on statewide leadership alumni (those who served from 1970 to 2000) and attainment of community leadership roles as adults.

Former North Dakota 4-H Ambassador Alumni and State FFA Officers were surveyed using a modified Youth Leadership Life Skill Development scale (Seevers, 1975) as to their gain in leadership life skills as a result of their leadership in these youth development organizations. Over 75% of the survey respondents reported much or very much gain in leadership life skills from their experiences.

Survey respondents also reported above average educational attainment in relation to the North Dakota census data. Eighty-eight percent of North Dakota FFA officer alumni and 96% of the 4-H Ambassador alumni reported having a bachelors degree or higher. 

State FFA Officer and 4H Ambassador Alumni from North Dakota provide leadership for community organizations. Over 90% of North Dakota 4-H Ambassador Alumni were involved in youth development organizations as leaders/advisors. For State FFA Officer Alumni, over 75% provide the same leadership to youth development organizations. For 4-H Ambassador Alumni and State FFA Officer Alumni alike, over 75% were involved in religious/faith based organizations in their communities.

A panel of experts, using a modified Delphi process, ranked both organizations to which 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni provided leadership and leadership positions. Two groups of experts made up the Delphi panel and included individuals versed in 4-H and FFA leadership development and those individuals identified as community leaders. This panel of experts identified serving in the state legislature, as state and/or national leaders in commodity organizations and serving as youth development advisors/leaders as the most influential positions as reported by the survey respondents.

While 4-H Ambassador and State FFA Officer Alumni report gains in leadership life skills, statistical analysis indicated no relationship between survey respondents and their leadership positions.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Monday, November 21, 2011 11:58:44 AM