Youth take life skills learned to the county fair

Many life skills are taught and learned by youth in order to bring their project to the county fair to get evaluated.

For youth growing up in Michigan, county fairs are an important part of youth development. Why do youth want to take exhibits to the county fair? Why is it important for youth to know about their project? Taking their projects to the county fair gives youth a chance to not only have fun with other youth, but to show off what they have learned and have the opportunity to tell the public what they have learned.

Youth can share with judges what they have learned by doing a 4-H project. For the past year, youth involved in a county-wide 4-H program learn many different life skills that will help them become a successful adult. Public speaking is a great life skill for youth to learn to help them build self-confidence. Sharing what has been taught, what was learned and what they will do in the future gives youth a chance to speak to others.

As youth work with volunteers at the beginning of their 4-H year, decision-making is an important life to focus on. What types of projects do I want to learn this year? How much will it cost? Can I take care of an animal?

Once youth determine the projects they want to learn about, then comes responsibility. Who is going to take on the responsibility of taking care of the project if it is livestock-related? If it is a still exhibit, such as crafts, sewing or educational, youth need to be responsible to gather the supplies needed, making sure there is enough time to get the project done. Once completed, youth need to learn how to share what they learned.

Goal setting is a very important life skill for youth to learn at an early age. Goals set can help determine what types of projects youth want to achieve. What is the timeframe to raise a steer? Maybe only a small animal project is what can be achieved, and set a goal for the future to eventually raise a steer or learn about horses. The wood working project selected may take a couple of years. The life skills listed above are just a few youth learn and develop as they take their projects to the county fair.

Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development programs help youth understand and learn life skills. For more information, please contact your local MSU Extension office.

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