4-H youth and reflection on their projects

Youth need to understand what they have learned and how to process for future learning.

4-H youth participate in 4-H club projects by attending meetings and taking part in the learning process. Also, youth are able to be on a committee and help with planning an event or making decisions, such as rule changes or fundraising opportunities. Once the project, activity or event is finished, youth need to stop and do some type of reflection on how the project went, do they understand what they have accomplished, was there a goal and what types of life skills did they learn. For an event or activity, taking time to evaluate or reflect on what happened and look at what can be done in the future, needs to take place. 

Through Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H youth development programs incorporates the Experiential Learning Model into each of the projects. Experiential learning is a process where youth can set time aside to reflect on what they experienced. This can be done in many ways. Below is an example of how to do a reflection activity in a 4-H club meeting. Have everyone sit in a circle and toss a beach ball to each other and have them answer questions. Such as: What did you learn by doing this project? What was your goal of this project? What did you learn about yourself?

When youth are involved in community service or service learning activities, they get a chance to reflect on what they have done. Does someone actually sit down with the group and ask what they could have done to improve or share ideas and thoughts with others? This would be the role of a facilitator or leader. One who would take charge and ask the questions while the youth reflect or debrief on what they just did. Reflection of what was accomplished or learned is part of the Experiential Learning Model. Once youth have gained the knowledge learned from doing this event or activity, they then can apply what they learned and adapt it in the future. This encourages youth to think and work harder and learn more thoroughly than just showing a project or being a part of the group.

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