University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


4-H, access, positive youth development, diversity, equity, inclusion


Access, equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential elements of 4-H’s goals related to positive youth development and organizational sustainability. The 4-H organization has impacted over 6 million youth worldwide and continues to grow every day. At the county, state, and national level, 4-H programs have grown more diverse, making it essential that 4-H programs encourage and highlight cultural similarities and differences through education. However, training in cultural competence for 4-H leaders is lacking, which is the bridge to connecting diversity and inclusion. Cultural competency is an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and the ability to interact effectively and appropriately with people from other cultures. This project utilized a multidisciplinary and collaborative effort to deliver cultural competence training for 27 4-H young adult and adult leaders in a mid-South U.S. state. All participants completed pre-assessments of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), participated in 2-hour training sessions on cultural competence, and completed post-IDI assessments three months later. Overall, most 4-H leaders scored in the Minimization orientation, which is the most common orientation among adults. In order to advance beyond the Minimization orientation to the Acceptance orientation, 4-H educators need additional educational opportunities, which may aid them in understanding crucial differences between cultures. The cultural competency model of the IDI provides a valuable framework in preparing culturally sensitive 4-H educators to construct settings where equity, access, and opportunity are available to all youth, allowing 4-H members to better reach their potential as capable, caring, and competent leaders of today and tomorrow.