Leadership training at its best through hands-on experience

4-H provides many leadership experiences for youth through hands-on activities and real life leadership roles.

Youth learn in a variety of different ways based on their learning styles. One way to learn leadership is in a training setting using a hands-on activity or in a real life setting with a mentor. Michigan State University Extension’s Leadership, Citizenship and Service programs provide a variety of learning experiences in both settings so that participants have the best possible chance to experience leadership roles and be the most successful in those roles.

Through a parliamentary procedure training activity, participants practice leading a club meeting by making trail mix. One participant assumes the role of president and presides over the meeting. The participants than decide what goes into the trail mix by correctly stating a motion, seeking a second, having discussion of the motion and then voting on the motion to add the ingredient to the trail mix. The Parliamentary Procedure Activity can be found online through Nebraska Cooperative Extension. In a MSU Extension article on parliamentary procedure, “Five simple steps to making a parliamentary motion,” Jackie Martin restates and simplifies the procedure that can be intimidating for youth and adults.

Another example of a leadership role offered through MSU Extension is being a youth facilitator for 4-H Capitol Experience, a three-day, statewide event held March 19-22, 2017. Youth who participate in the event can apply to be part of the planning committee the following year. Youth attend a weekend training to learn facilitation skills to use with small issue groups during the event. The youth mentors are responsible for teaching Capitol Experience participants about writing a bill and how the bill is affected by different agencies, lobbyists and individuals.

Many youth leaders work in project areas to teach younger members about projects such as livestock, visual arts and science. 4-H provides many leadership experiences for youth through hands-on activities and real life leadership roles as a mentor for youth to learn skills based on their learning styles. Visit the Michigan 4-H Youth Development website for more information on the youth leadership project.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.”

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