Character activities for 4-H club meetings

Incorporate character lessons into 4-H club meetings as a great way to help youth gain life skills and develop character.

As leaders working with youth in 4-H clubs, it is important to connect what they are learning with life skills. An important life skill and part of each individual member is character.

Character can be defined as the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person. Some words that may describe a person of good character include: Trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and a good citizen. These six words represent the Six Pillars of Character developed by the CHARACTER COUNTS! programs.

Adults working with youth can help youth develop their character by including activities and projects that focus on character issues. Having a discussion with youth about situation and scenarios that might test their character is always a great way to explore character. Using the six words as a common language in club meetings is also a great way to start developing a character positive environment.

Here are a few other ways you can incorporate character lessons into 4-H club meetings:

  • Choose a set of five items (shoes, pencils, homemade cookies) that are similar, but have slight variations in looks. Divide the members into groups of four and have them judge the items. They must reach a consensus as a group. Place the items as first through fifth place. The group must also choose a spokesperson to give oral reasons for their placing. After the judging event, have each group report.
  • Discussion: Do you think the placing’s were fair? Did all the groups agree? Was there more information you needed to make your decisions? What information influenced your decisions? How does this relate to judging of 4-H projects at the fair?
  • Work with club officers to write club rules based on the Six Pillars of Character. Examples:           
    • Members will be responsible for calling their leaders for information if they miss a meeting.
    • Members will show respect to club officers and leader during meeting.
    • Each member will participate in a citizenship/community service project.
  • Choose a simple tune like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and have members write words to the tune about one of the Six Pillars of Character.

To learn more about character education and how to incorporate it into 4-H club meetings, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

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