Be strategic in adding leadership skills to your experiences this school year!

Back-to-school is a great time for thinking about what kind of after-school experiences you want to have this next year.

As students and families begin to think about the start of a new school year, many will also consider the various options for after-school activities. One way to think through all the options is to look at the big picture and what you want to accomplish in the end and then work backwards to figure out which activities will help you attain that goal. Michigan State University Extension recommends thinking through all of your options at the beginning of the school year to make sure you get the most out of it!

Start by identifying what you want to be able to say you’ve learned or accomplished by the end of high school. Do you want to have certain skills that will help you find a job? Do you want to be thought of as a leader? Do you want to know more about a particular topic area? Do you want to be known for your creativity, your ability to solve problems or your service to others? Make a list of those skills you want to have by the end of high school or even at the end of this next school year.

Now, think about what experiences will help you attain those skills. Michigan 4-H offers clubs, workshops and other experiences throughout the year that can add dimension to your skill set. If you are hoping to improve your skills in a certain area, join a club that focuses on that topic (for instance, robotics or animal science). One of the advantages of Michigan 4-H is that programs will also incorporate career connections and leadership skills in every project area, so you can be preparing for your future simply by involving yourself in topic areas you are already interested in!

Youth who are especially interested in adding to their leadership skill set will find many options to grow in Michigan 4-H. Are you ready to learn leadership by doing? Consider serving as a teen leader in your club or mentoring younger members in their project areas. Are you looking for new ideas to freshen up your club meetings? Think about attending the Michigan 4-H Youth Leadership & Global Citizenship Spectacular in January. Are you interested in really delving into what it means to be a community leader? Consider attending 4-H Capitol Experience or a national leadership experience such as 4-H National Congress or Citizenship Washington Focus.

Whatever your goals are, think of the big picture first and then break it into smaller steps you can track along the way. Michigan 4-H has many resources to help you along your journey! Check out the website for more tips and ideas on how to accomplish your leadership goals.

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