4-H volunteers emphasizing postsecondary education in 4-H clubs

Making connections between 4-H projects to majors, pre-college programs and service learning to help 4-H members prepare for postsecondary education.

In 4-H, adult volunteers who serve as 4-H leaders play an important role in building the future of 4-H youth participants. Adults serve in different leadership roles in a 4-H club such as an administrative leader, project leader, activity leader and a resource leader. Each 4-H leader has an opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of 4-H members. 4-H leaders can also assist 4-H members to prepare for their future and help them build the skills to be successful. Let’s focus on some 4-H club activities to assist 4-H members to prepare for postsecondary education.

One area to help 4-H members prepare for a successful future is to help make connections to postsecondary education. For example, Michigan 4-H Youth Development has opportunities for 4-H members to participate in different project areas such as Animal Science, Arts, Environmental and Outdoor Education, Global and Cultural Education, Healthy Youth, Food, Health and Well-being, Leadership, Citizenship and Service and Science and Technology. With 4-H members participating in these project areas, 4-H leaders can make a connection during 4-H club meetings on how these project areas are related to the different majors at a university, how they are related to the skilled trades for two-year degrees, a special certification or a license to help launch a career.

Another step after making the connection to college majors during 4-H club meetings is to emphasize the enrichment activities of pre-college programs Michigan 4-H offers. An example of some pre-college programs through Michigan 4-H are 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Animal and Veterinary Sciences Camp, 4-H Capitol Experience, 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp. Also, feel free to explore other colleges and universities that may offer a pre-college program related to the interest of the 4-H member.

An activity to help youth prepare for postsecondary education is through community service and service learning. Community service learning projects can be created related to the projects and careers that interest 4-H members. Once the connection is made for 4-H projects and majors in college or the skilled trades at technical schools, encourage 4-H members to think of a service project relating to the major or skilled trade. This will give them the opportunity to practice and build their skills as they are giving back to the community not only in high school, but also during their years in postsecondary education.

Participating in activities structured to prepare 4-H youth for postsecondary helps them learn the different life skills needed for their education and life after high school. To help youth learn from the different activities they participate in, encourage them to write about their experience in each activity.

Utilize the 4-H experience for 4-H members to help them make connections for their educational future. Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development has the resources to assist 4-H volunteer leaders prepare youth in the different ways to prepare for postsecondary education.

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