Factors which influence retention of first-year 4-H leaders
Wolfe, Terry Lawrence
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether certain characteristics of first- and second-year volunteer 4-H leaders who terminate their leadership are different from those who continue their leadership in the 4-H program. Data for this study were gathered by a mailed questionnaire sent to 370 randomly selected first-year 4-H leaders in 25 Montana counties. Valid responses were received from 189 leaders who continued their leadership a second and third year, and 58 who dropped after their first year of leadership. Data were analyzed by the chi-square test of statistical independence at the .05 level of significance. The test was applied to 30 null hypotheses to determine if relationships existed between characteristics and 4-H leader continuance. Analysis of the data collected shows that statistical differences exist between the leaders who terminate after one year of leadership and those who continue for two or three years. The following characteristics were tested and shown to influence leadership tenure: age, employment outside the home, place of residence, number of children, involvement of children in the 4-H program, degree of satisfaction experienced as a first-year leader, attendance at 4-H club meetings and" 4-H activities, participation in leader training sessions, the number of contacts made with the county extension office, acceptance by other leaders, being included in decision-making regarding 4-H club programs and policy, and the strength of interest felt at the beginning of the year when compared to the level of interest at the end of the first year. Leaders who continued leadership: were 35-44 years of age, lived on a farm or ranch, had children in the program, were satisfied with 4-H leadership, attended six or more club meetings and four or more activities per year, participated in leader training, made two or more contacts with the county extension office per month, were accepted by other leaders, were included in decision-making, and had greater strength of interest at the end of the year than at the beginning.