Leadership – skills for a lifetime

4-H Youth Programs teach life skills that youth can use for the rest of their life.

Michigan 4-H Youth Programs teach skills youth can use for the rest of their life.  These “life skills” will help youth become better at everything they do. 

Using the Iowa State 4-H Life Skills wheel, leadership skills are found under the Hands portion of the 4-H pledge.  Are you ready to learn about leadership?  Would you like to learn what it takes to become a better leader? 

In the Step Up To Leadership! curriculum from National 4-H, there are many activities that give youth a chance to learn life skills to be an effective leader.

By participating in these activities, youth will have opportunities to develop  leadership skills while doing them.

According to Michigan State University Extension, an example of learning experiences to enhance your leadership skills is to give a speech or demonstration to your club members, to a community service club or at the fair.  Other ideas could be to have youth set up an exhibit or a display showing what they are learning in 4-H.  By helping in a community service project, youth  are also developing leadership skills; you can also have youth come up with some activities on their own.  Keeping track of what they did, when and where is an important part of record keeping.  This can be very helpful when youth try to apply for a scholarships.  Photos and journals of what youth did for their  leadership activities are great to have also.

Youth in a leadership program should:

  • Assess yourself on what leadership skills you think you may have. Then at the end of the leadership activity you can do this again to see what skils you have learned.  Suggested check lists could be:
    • I know what goals are
    • I can take responsibility for my actions
    • Listen to others
    • I know how to be a team player
      • These are just some of the questions youth may use.  This is taken from the My Leadership workbook for third through fourth grade from the Step Up to Leadership curriculum.
  • Other activities that can help with your leadership development is to write about what is important to you.  What is important to you? How do you work with others? Do they influence your decisions?
    • This is all part of relationship building.
  • Communication is another leadership quality youth can build skills on.  How important is it to give directions? To follow directions? An activity for this would be to do a verbal communication without use of hand gestures. 
    • Take turns with a partner, one will give the directions and the other wll listen.
  • Plang and organe yourselves in small groups or in a large 4-H club.  Write down short term goals and long term goals.  Have youth list three of each and write down how they will know when they  have reached them.
  • Group processing shows that youth  like to work in groups, teamwork towards accomplishing a commond goal and each person works to benefit the whole group.

This is just a start on developing leadership skills.  For more information, contact your local MSU Extension office or visit the 4-H Youth Development website.

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