Volume 47 - Number 3 - 2006 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2006.03070
Competitive events are a major component of 4-H programs in the United States. Each year hundreds of youth participate in 4-H competitive events. Literature on competitions indicates both positive and negative effects on participants. The purpose of this study was to determine the educational value of 4-H competitive events as perceived by parents of 4-H participants. A secondary purpose was to identify factors that underlie competitive events using factor analysis. A descriptive-correlational research design with a mail survey was used to collect data. A total of 340 parents responded to a three-section survey which contained 32 statements relative to the value of 4-H competitive events, prior participation in 4-H and demographic information. Factor analysis extracted six factors which explained 62% of the total variance. Reliability analysis of the six factors revealed acceptable reliability (alpha ranged from 0.63 to 0.90). Parents of 4-H participants perceive that 4-H competitions have various positives and negatives. Positives include: helping youth to learn new things, setting goals, development of life skills, creativity, and preparing youth for a competitive world. Negatives were: aggressive behavior, cheating, and development of unhealthy practices. Four of the six 4-H participation variables were related to perceived value of competitive events.