Meeting challenges in the face of change: how the newly independent 4-H Ontario is learning to do by doing

Denard, M. Courtney
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University of Guelph

The following research on 4-H Ontario was conducted to display the importance of organizations which represent rural youth in Ontario. The researcher analyzed the process a non-government organization must take when faced with a major decrease in government support and funding. As part of the research process, a detailed literature review on organizational capacity development and a conceptual framework were completed. Data collection was accomplished by conducting semi-structured personal interviews with 4-H stakeholders. A focus group and direct observation activity with 4-H Ontario members were completed as well as a mail out/Internet survey. The following conclusions were determined in this study: (1) 4-H Ontario has successfully maintained its organization throughout its five year transitional period; (2) 4-H Ontario has dealt with the organizational responsibilities and challenges stemming from its independence from OMAFRA in a variety of positive ways, but focus needs to be placed on challenges facing the organization and (3) organizational change experienced by 4-H Ontario has had an impact on the organization's ability to offer capacity development. The results, conclusions and recommendations presented are intended to assist 4-H Ontario in strengthening its organizational capacity development, which in turn will lend to the overall development of capacity for rural youth in Ontario.

4-H Ontario, rural youth, Ontario, government support, funding, organizational capacity development, conceptual framework