Teen Sphere of Influence

Today’s youth experience challenges similar to those their parents experienced, but often do so in a more hostile and socially exposed (social media) environment. Although communities recognize the need for life skills education, programs offered (e.g. homework help, crafts, and recreation) often lack depth. USU Extension/4-H is partnering with DWS to implement a new program (Teen Spheres of Influence) to strengthen existing youth councils, by strengthening their foundational skills in Leadership, Community Outreach, Mentoring and Career Readiness. Participating Youth Council sites will receive programmatic funding, engaging curriculum, and fun educational annual conferences for both adult advisors and teens.

Background on 4-H

4-H is more than what many see as an agricultural center program.  It is the only positive youth development program tied to the National Land Grant University system. Today 4-H is one of the largest youth organizations with over 6 million members engaged in STEM, Leadership, Healthy living and of course Agriculture and Natural Resources. 4-H brings University expertise, training, curriculum and institutional knowledge to any partnership. In a longitudinal study, Tufts University compared 4-Hers with participants in other youth programs. The study found 4-Hers have better grades, are two times more likely to attend college, and 41% make healthier life and relationship choices. In addition, 4-Hers are 3.4 times more likely to delay sexual intercourse through high school. Schools and afterschool providers need Cooperative Extension 4-H partners with the knowledge and experience to effectively train staff and implement needed non-formal, research-based life skills education programs.

The evidence based program, Developmental Relationships, will be used to develop positive relationships with caring adults and other youth. The positive relationships correlate significantly with increased resilience and decreased risky behavior. Decreased risky behavior becomes significantly more pronounced when youth are involved in service learning and/or near-peer mentoring (and the benefits of near-peer mentoring are significant for both the mentors and the youth they mentor (Karcher, Berger, 2017). This is especially true with low-income and underserved youth populations (Haft et. al, 2019).

Teen Spheres of Influence Resources

Career Readiness


The leadership curriculum is currently in development. Check back soon for more!


Rebecka Hanson

State Program Coordinator

Phone: (801) 834-3860 
              Texting Preferred

Deric Everitt

Sanpete Area Coordinator

Phone: (818) 319-9416
Email: f.everitt@usu.edu

Jessica Mortenson

Uintah Area Coordinator

Phone: (321) 223-0526
Email: jessica.mortenson@usu.edu

Megan Hall

Wasatch Front Area Coordinator

Phone: (801) 708-2331
Email: megoli1999@gmail.com

Ellie Swan

Washington Area Coordinator

Phone: (435) 899-8895


Funding for this program provided by

department of workforce services