Help youth develop skills for success

Creating ways for youth to learn and practice the fifth Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles will lead to greater growth and success later in life.

May 22, 2012 - Author: Sandy Risedorph,

The seven Michigan Guiding Principles for Positive Youth Development should be posted in the club meeting area. This will be a visual reminder of the club’s agreement to incorporate the principles as a group and as individuals. Principle five states, “Youth develop skills that help them succeed.”

One of the important responsibilities of a leader is to help youth acquire skills and knowledge to reach their goals. There are basic ideas that apply to all learning situations. 4-H participants learn and retain more when action is involved in teaching. There are three steps to experiential learning.

  1. Explore: Youth explore and learn when they are involved in a hands-on activity.
  2. Reflect: Participants “reflect” on the activities when they can share with others.
  3. Apply: Finally the youth apply what they have learned to their everyday life.

By integrating life skills into project areas, youth become competent and confident. A concrete exercise you could use to teach this principle could involve role playing a job interview. Teen members may “play” the employer and job applicant. Discuss the job requirements and highlight how the 4-H project area has increased the skills needed to succeed. Examples are communication through demonstration skills or planning skills through a club event.

Another activity you could use would be to invite club alumni to be guest speakers at a meeting. Prepare the alumni with questions to be asked during the meeting. Example questions might be: How did your involvement in 4-H support your life goals? What did your failures or mistakes teach you about the project? What would you do differently if you were starting your 4-H career?

Guiding Principle five emphasizes the practical life skills that may be mastered through experiential learning.

Tags: 4-h, msu extension

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