Documentaries, films and videos in 4-H: From the project, to college, to a career

Youth can participate in 4-H and create documentaries, films and videos highlighting their 4-H involvement or 4-H in general. This project or talent can lead to a major in college and a future career.

Documentaries, films and videos are part of the world of media and communication. Social media websites like YouTube offer all types of documentaries for entertainment and information for the public. With the advancement of technology such as smartphones and tablets, it seems like anyone can film events and activities as they happen and edit them to produce a documentary or some form of film.

As a 4-H member, do you find yourself putting together video documentaries of the events and activities you participate in? Something neat about putting together videos is a 4-H member can participate in the many projects 4-H has to offer and use videos or film to document their experience. Or, a 4-H member can just specialize in making videos or documentaries for their 4-H club or program.

Participating in various projects can lead to majors in college and a career. For example, at Michigan State University, students in the Department of English, which is part of the College of Arts and Letters, can minor in Film Studies or major in Film Studies, Fiction Filmmaking or Documentary Production. This can lead to a student becoming a producer or a director, a film and video editor or camera operator, or go into screenwriting or film production. It can also lead to other careers related to film studies.

During a youth’s time in 4-H, they can start or continue to practice making videos. Along with documenting personal events and activities in 4-H, Michigan State University Extension recommends the following ideas on how youth can practice their filmmaking abilities.

  • Work with the county 4-H staff to put together a video of the local county 4-H program to promote 4-H and the opportunities it has to offer youth and volunteers.
  • Enroll in different contests in school and the community showcasing various topics through video and film.
  • Try to locate pre-college or summer college programs that are related to creating videos and documentaries.
  • Remember 4-H. Locate 4-H opportunities to learn about filmmaking and videos at the local, state or national level (visit Michigan 4-H Youth Development website if in Michigan), or locate 4-H resources that teach about filmmaking. For example, the National 4-H Mall has the 4-H Filmmaking DVD. Visit the 4-H Filmmaking website for more information.

In 4-H, youth have the opportunity to build and perfect a trade through the different project areas that are offered. Resources are provided to help youth learn and grow. Caring adults serving as 4-H volunteer leaders help monitor the growth in youth through the different delivery methods 4-H offers. A youth has the resources and support in place to learn and thrive in any area through 4-H including videos, documentaries and filmmaking.

For more information on volunteering with Michigan 4-H Youth Development or just general information on Michigan 4-H Youth Development, visit the MSU Extension 4-H website.

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