I pledge my hands to larger service

Community service projects can be planned in just five steps by youth.

“I pledge my hands to larger service,” are words spoken across our counties, across the U.S. and throughout the world when 4-Her’s big and small say the 4-H Pledge at their gatherings. How many of those youth are involved in community service projects?

4-H clubs are encouraged to not just participate in community service projects but develop their own project to address a need in their community. By following five easy steps, created by Michigan State University Extension, members can plan and perform effective community service projects. The first step is to access the needs in your area or the area in which you want to make a difference. Involving members from the community can help you get a true sense of what is needed most in the community. You want to be sure that a project really will make a difference and is beneficial to the community.

Next get ready to plan out the project so you don’t forget any details. Divide up the work so one person doesn’t have to carry the burden of getting it all. Making a checklist, supply list and responsibility list with a timeline can help everyone understand the key ingredients to your project; the who, what, where, when, why and how of the project.  When you are making your plans, ask your group to consider what concerns and problems there may be with your project in situations such as if it rains? By considering these questions you have time to find a solution and plan ahead to avoid problems the day of the event.

Now enjoy your community service project and capture the memories and impact of your project with a camera. These photos can help you celebrate your success, remember the great times and help you document your project to share it on Facebook and with the newspaper. When you are carrying out your community service project don’t forget to show your 4-H pride by wearing your club shirts. Let the public know you have an interest in making a difference and are doing something about it.

When your project is done and bring your group back together to think about what went right, what you would do differently and how you can continue to have an impact in your community. Don’t forget to send thank you notes to those who supported your project with materials, food and supplies.  When you have wrapped this project up consider what you might want to do next or think about making your community service efforts ongoing in some way.

Participating in community service projects allows young people the chance to be involved in their community and be part of the solution. In return members may gain respect from others in the community and raise the awareness for the 4-H program. Benefits of community service go far beyond the project itself as members practice their leadership and social skills, work with others to accomplish a goal, and promote civic responsibility. They lead by example and gain real world experience while making a difference to someone else.

Just remember that with any project you should always be safe and have fun. Join the Revolution of Responsibility in your county.

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