Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Human Sciences and Extension Volume 7, Number 1, 2019


Youths’ perspectives are often unexplored in youth program development and implementation. This article examined youths’ perspectives of a 4-H youth prevention program called “Health Rocks!” that is designed to promote healthful decision-making skills, stress coping, and socioemotional skills related to substance use. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. Qualitative findings reveal that participants appreciated the fun and engaging curriculum, valued program staff who were interactive, and enjoyed the hands-on program activities. Participants also reported that the program positively impacted their knowledge and skills. Quantitative results show that participants who perceived the program as fun were significantly more likely to report engagement in the program, and participants who had positive views towards the program staff were significantly more likely to report knowledge after the program and engagement in Health Rocks! Findings have broader implications for future youth prevention program development, illustrating the need for engaging adult leaders and program activities to enhance the overall program experience for youth participants.