Educators and other youth workers will have an opportunity to learn more about positive youth development from an expert in the field who will speak at West Virginia University Thursday, Sept. 30. The one-hour presentation, which will be broadcast via satellite throughout the country, will begin at 4 p.m.

The Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Developmentwill be presented by Dr. Cathann Kress, director of youth development with the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Kress will speak during a meeting of the National 4-H Councils board of trustees at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy on WVU s Evansdale campus in Morgantown.

The essential elements�€including fostering belonging, mastery of knowledge and skills, independence and generosity in youth�€represent a philosophy that values youth. The presentation will help professionals and volunteers who work with youth learn about strategies for incorporating that philosophy into program planning and implementation.

Kress completed her undergraduate degree in social work at Iowa State University. She earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in counseling education and college student development at the University of Iowa.

More than 7 million youth, ages 5 to 19, participate in 4-H Youth Development experiences in all 50 U.S. states, its territories and U.S. Army installations worldwide. In West Virginia, more than 56,000 young people participate in 4-H, which is a program of the WVU Extension Service.

4-H Youth Development is the only youth program that ties both public and private resources to the single purpose of supporting the positive and successful development of youth. According to a two-year study in New York state, young people who participate in 4-H clubs do better in school than nonmembers; are motivated to help others; develop skills in leadership, public speaking, self-esteem, communication and planning; and make lasting friendships.