4-H and preparation for professional development?

4-H can prepare youth to participate in professional development activities in their future career as they participate in 4-H trainings, seminars, workshops, conferences, camps and other events.

In 4-H across the country, youth have opportunities to participate in project areas and activities. As youth participate in 4-H, they can learn different skills from their projects. This is possible because of caring adults providing an environment to learn while serving as 4-H volunteer leaders. 4-H can be delivered in a variety of settings such as a 4-H club, 4-H SPIN club, 4-H mentoring, 4-H in-school program, 4-H afterschool program, 4-H camp and other special delivery methods to meet the needs of youth.

It is good for 4-H members to monitor what they learn during their time in 4-H. This can be done on a monthly, quarterly, yearly or any other time frame to help determine the skills they are gaining. Personal record-keeping by 4-H members or evaluations from 4-H leaders can also help monitor learning of a 4-H member.

What if a 4-H member wants to learn more skills or increase their learning in an area of 4-H? 4-H has training opportunities for youth to learn more about project and subject areas. For example, Michigan State University Extension's 4-H Youth Development has opportunities through local county 4-H events, 4-H volunteer training workshops and camps, pre-college programs and events such as 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp, 4-H Capitol Experience, 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp. There are also national 4-H events such as the National 4-H Conference and National 4-H Congress.

What is the importance of youth participating in these learning events? 4-H works to prepare youth for the future. As youth graduate from high school and 4-H, some youth may attend college or trade school to prepare for their future career. Some youth may go on to the workforce and begin their career after high school and 4-H. As youth enter the workforce as high school or college graduates, some careers and jobs provide different opportunities for additional training or they may require employees a certain number of days for professional development. Trends and information in careers change and training is needed to learn about the different skills needed about the change. Also, as a future employee it is good to go to training to learn additional skills to be a more knowledgeable employee. Therefore, youth participating in the trainings and events (outside of the different 4-H delivery methods) is a preparation of what they may do as they work in their future job or career.

Encourage youth to not only participate in 4-H, but to participate in the trainings and events that 4-H offers. This will prepare them for their future as they learn to become lifelong learners throughout their career.

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