4-H global leadership: World Turtles and the Five Competencies for Youth Global Leaders

The new Michigan 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World curriculum encourages participants to start with the introductory activity called World Turtles and the Five Competencies for Youth Global Leaders.

Youth participating in the World Turtle and the Five C's activity
Youth participating in the World Turtle and the Five C's activity in Allegan County. All photos by Michigan State University Extension.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development released "Michigan 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World," a global leadership curriculum, in 2013. A six-part series of Michigan State University Extension news articles is available starting with "Youth develop global leadership competencies through 4-H - Part 1." The curriculum is available in print or on a USB flash drive, and can be purchased at the MSU Extension Bookstore, bulletin #4H1643.

The curriculum features five youth global leadership competencies (the five C’s) that can provide a foundation to help young people become competent and successful global leaders. These competencies that youth need in order to become leaders in our interconnected world include character, citizenship, communicationculture and creativity.

The 4-H global leadership curriculum will assist volunteers, parents and guardians, professionals and other youth educators in developing the knowledge and skills they need to become youth leaders in a global environment. The participants are encouraged to start with the introductory activity called “World Turtles and the Five Competencies for Youth Global Leaders.” This is an enjoyable, hands-on, easy activity that provides the foundation for understanding the five competencies. 

World turtlesBecause of their appearance, the turtle or tortoise is a popular symbol in mythology and traditions as well as well-loved creatures. Therefore, the turtle is a perfect visual medium for this activity. This activity uses the mythology of the turtle to introduce the five C’s that are referenced throughout the curriculum. Participants will first discuss and learn about youth global leadership, what a competency is and then the five C’s.

Once an understanding of the five C’s has been established, the creative and fun section begins. Working in small groups with modeling clay, the participants create and then report their own turtle myths that interpret and portray the five competencies of youth global leadership. Reflection, sharing and more discussion will follow after all the stories have been told and the turtle displays have been viewed. 

After completing the lesson, participants will have an understanding of the five C’s for youth leadership in a global world and can then explore more activities offered in the Michigan 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World curriculum.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas.  

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, citizenship and service and global and cultural education programs, read our Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

Find other global educational opportunities on the MSU Extension Global and Cultural Education website. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension county office.


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