Kimber Sarver

Mentor: Dr. Kate Fogarty
College of Agricultural and Life Science
"I am interested in understanding the retention factors in group membership, specifically within local 4-H clubs."


Family Youth and Community Science



Research Interests

  • Group Membership
  • Youth Development
  • Families

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • 4-H Youth Development Organization


  • 4-H Youth Development Organization

Hobbies and Interests

  • Spending Time with my Family

Research Description

Retention in 4-H
The issue I am interested in is why youth are withdrawing from the 4-H program at critical times of their socio-emotional development. 4-H provides holistic life skill development. Leaving the program during their formative years could be disadvantageous. In my particular county, I have observed a lack of retention of previously enrolled 4-H members in grades 6th through 12th. Nationally, there is continued growth; however, a closer look shows that some states maintain higher retention than other states. Narrowing the lens even more reveals that Floridian counties have both high and low retention rates, depending on the particular county. The variables for this happenstance are numerous. For instance, to name just a few examples, a rural vs. urban county; high turn-over within a county 4-H office; programs offered/advertised in a particular county; and the almost infinite variables involving families that live in a particular county. The second issue I am interested in is why do youth remain in 4-H? What is it about 4-H that they find desirable? An inverse of the reasons for leaving can be applied for the reasons to remain. For instance, rural counties lend to more animal projects, urban counties lend to more STEM type projects; and, the youth is in a rural county or an urban one. Maybe, youth remain because they have hopes that the 4-H Program in their county will become stronger. Possibly, the youth love the projects they are involved in and that keeps them in 4-H. Or, finally, families may need to provide extracurricular activities for their children, or want them to learn life-skills, or just moved to the county and want to try to get “plugged in”. The possibilities are as varied as the humans that engage in 4-H.