Social change through Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles — Part 7: Citizenship

Learn how the principles of 4-H relate to citizenship.

In the first article of this series, “Introduction to the Social Change Model for Leadership Development,” we introduced the seven C’s that help frame the Social Change Model of Leadership Development from three different levels: individual values, group values and societal or community values. This next set of articles will further explain each of the seven C’s, how it fits with the Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles and share some Michigan 4-H examples of programming, activities or probing questions you could exercise to engage youth in the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.

To learn more about the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and the seven C’s, check out “A Social Change Model of Leadership Development” by the Higher Education Research Institute.

The final C of the model, citizenship, is specifically related to societal or community values. Let’s discuss this final C as it relates to the Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles.

An individual's responsibility to be active and involved in collaborative efforts to engage in their community and society is citizenship, the seventh C. In order to be an active citizen, you must use the other six C’s of social change: consciousness of self, congruence, commitment, collaboration, common purpose and controversy with civility.

Citizenship is tied to the seventh Michigan 4-H Guiding Principle: youth grow and contribute as active citizens through service and leadership. Michigan 4-H defines this principle as experiences when youth develop personal competencies that foster leadership, caring and citizenship through the significant roles they have to play and important contributions they make as stewards of the future. Through these experiences, youth feel included and involved in their communities.

Some general elements of effectively practicing this guiding principle and helping youth develop the seventh C of the Social Change Model are:

  • Youth are aware of and informed about local and global needs, opportunities and issues, and are provided meaningful roles in how decisions are made.
  • Youth use their time, energies and skills for the benefit of others.
  • Youth practice leadership skills to address needs, issues and opportunities.
  • Youth are encouraged to recognize their roles as stewards in their communities. 

There are many ways Michigan 4-H helps youth develop and practice citizenship. One example of programming that employs related concepts and helps youth engage as citizens is the new Drive to Social Change Michigan 4-H Leadership Institute. Michigan 4-H Leadership Institute is a unique opportunity for teenage youth to engage in social and community change through in-person and virtual training and experiences. This program is an opportunity for youth leaders to expand their knowledge of community service, youth voice, leadership skills and community change around topics including but not limited to inclusion, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, poverty, ethnicity and diversity.

The Leadership Institute is a year-long program with three main parts:

  1. Selected youth will interact with each other and Michigan State University Extension educators through an online media platform that showcases their voice on social issues in their community.
  2. Youth will come together and learn about each other’s diverse communities in the Drive to Social Change Road Trip, showcasing Detroit, Mt. Pleasant and Marquette.
  3. With the support of their cohort and MSU Extension educators, youth will become change makers in their own communities, utilizing and bringing home the tools they have from Michigan 4-H Leadership Institute to plan, design and implement a social change project in their own community.

The Drive to Social Change Michigan 4-H Leadership Institute is grounded in the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and offers a brand new program in Michigan that combines leadership, civic engagement and grassroots community change and social justice. For more information on how to apply or nominate a teen in your community before Sept. 9, 2017, visit Michigan 4-H Leadership Institute.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, citizenship and service and global and cultural education programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

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