Youth practice leadership skills through their 4-H experience

4-H youth have many opportunities to learn about and practice leadership skills.

4-H is widely known as a hands-on youth educational organization. 4-H uses the experiential learning model of experience which includes share, reflect, generalize and apply, or more simply put, do, reflect, apply.These areas help youth gain skills. Some very important skills that 4-H members learn and practice are leadership skills. These leadership skills can be used by participants throughout their lifetime as they serve on student councils, school boards, city councils, county boards of commissioners, or even state or national government. Most boards use parliamentary procedure to run their meetings and 4-H’ers usually have an advantage over other young people because they’ve practiced parliamentary procedures at most of their monthly 4-H club meetings.

What are other leadership skills that young people learn through 4-H? Youth develop skills such as communication, time management and decision making skills are developed as a result of participation in 4-H according to Michigan State University Extension. 4-H members can practice their leadership skills during 4-H meetings at the club level by holding the offices as president, vice president, secretary or treasurer. 4-H’ers also learn leadership skills from adult volunteers who serve as leaders of the club. The 4-H club meeting provides a safe environment for youth to practice their leadership skills with leaders to help them be successful.

Through 4-H, young people also have opportunities to travel to leadership events nationally such as Citizenship Washington Focus, Capitol Experienc, and 4-H Congress. Workshops are held around the state to teach leadership skills. Each year the Leadership and Community Conference is held at Kettunen Center in Tustin, Mich.

The Michigan 4-H Youth Development leadership and citizenship website states that 4-H teaches youth the life skills necessary to effectively lead others. These important life skills will be used in jobs, careers, service clubs, communities and daily activities as an adult. Many 4-H youth return to 4-H as adults to lead clubs and project areas as well.

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