Date of Conferral





Human Services


Jeffrey Harlow


Youth with disabilities benefit from being included in extracurricular activities. However, often youth with a disability do not participate in extracurricular activities. The purpose of this basic, qualitative study was to explore the experiences of Extension Youth Development Professionals (YDPs) as they serve youth with disabilities in their 4-H programs. The research question for this study focused on the perceptions and experiences of the YDPs implementing inclusive, positive youth development programs. Conceptually, the transfer of learning theories provided the framework for this study. Data for this study were collected through the instrument of interviews, consisting of questions focusing on training, experiences, and program implementation. Eight participants who had experience implementing 4-H youth development programs, were assigned to work and had received training to serve youth with disabilities were interviewed. The collected data were transcribed from Zoom audio recordings, and codes were identified from the collected data. Six themes emerged from the interviews: (a) making and providing accommodations, (b) engaging in an intricate planning process, (c) learning in the process, (d) limited on-the-job training, (e) providing access for all, and (f) reputation for having an impact regardless of limitations. Findings from the study confirmed that Extension YDPs are often not provided the adequate amount of training to serve youth with disabilities. This study's results contribute to the body of knowledge for Extension professionals to influence YDPs strategies to design and implement inclusive, positive youth development programs.