Teen superintendent position descriptions
A successful teen superintendent program begins with a good role description.
Summer marks fair season in many counties across Michigan. Many associate the leadership roles at fair, such as superintendents, with caring adult volunteers. However, teens can also make significant contributions in these traditionally-held adult roles.
The Michigan State University Extension article, “More than projects at the county fair,” examines the opportunity to have teens serve in a leadership role by creating teen superintendent volunteer positions. As teens take on roles and responsibilities as today’s leaders, it is important to have position descriptions to outline what is expected of them. Having role descriptions allows for successful recruitment efforts, helps teens determine if the role is right for them, are a reference in determining training needs and can assist with evaluation efforts.
Teen superintendent position description
The following is an outline of what is needed in a teen superintendent position description.
Depending on what kind of fair you are, the mission statement could be the one from the fair. Or, if you are a 4-H fair or 4-H division, you may want to use the MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development statement, which says, “Michigan 4-H Youth Development mobilizes volunteers and communities to meet the needs of youth. The mission of Michigan 4-H is to create non-formal, educational opportunities to help youth thrive in a complex and changing world.”
The purpose of the position outlines why the teen superintendent position exists and what they should do via bigger picture, not detailed responsibility. Having a strong purpose statement allows everyone interested in the position to have a big picture idea of what they are responsible for and the reason for the role.
Responsibilities should outline in detail the tasks for which they will be responsible. In order for the teens to be successful, it is critical they have a clear understanding of what their roles and responsibilities look like in detail.
Skills and knowledge
If the teen superintendent position requires any specific skill or knowledge, it is important to outline it in the position description. Letting individuals know upfront what specific skills they need to possess sets everyone up for success.
Requirements of the position should outline what is expected of them. What sort of time commitment should the teen expect and are their specific days, times and hours that they must be available? Let the teen know what is optional and an absolute requirement so the teen can make the decision if they can commit or not. This is also an appropriate place to list age requirements.
Outline what resources the teen will have in order to be successful. Will there be staff, adult volunteers or other teens to assist them? Will they be trained or is it learn by trial and error? Again, the more information the teen has to make an informed decision, the more likely they will be successful.
Last but not least, let the teens know what the benefit is for volunteering to be a teen superintendent. Example of benefits could be resume builder, first in line for judging, free meal, free ticket to an event, etc.
Successful fair teen superintendent programs have clear role responsibilities as well as adults willing to work side-by-side with a teen for the better of the teen and the program. This philosophy is called youth and adult partnerships. MSU Extension’s Leadership and Civic Engagement work team members can assist you with educational workshops around youth and adult partnerships. They can also assist you in developing a teen superintendent program for your fair and program.
As we continue to develop today’s leaders to take over for adults in the future, remember that the success of your program starts with a good role description.