Since 1960, the U.S. Latino population has increased nearly ninefold, from 6.3 million to 55.3 million in 2014. It is projected to grow to 119 million by 2060, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Census Bureau (2014).In California, Latino population growth exceeds national averages, yet 4-H participation by Latino youths is lacking. 4-H clubs have a long history of successful positive youth development. By incorporating culturally-responsive practices, the 4-H program in one California county served 90% more Latino youths. These practices included:
- Bilingual instruction
- Culturally-relevant curriculum
- Involvement of local teenage mentors
- Opportunities for family involvement
- More convenient meeting times and locations
Participants said they felt a new sense of belonging and developed more competence, confidence, connections, empathy, character and contribution—all important aspects of positive youth development. Administrators developed a toolkit to help expand this successful program nationwide.