4-H club openers focusing on the dairy project

When beginning a 4-H club, consider these great opener questions to get youth to focus on goals, careers and further ideas using the dairy project as an example.

Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development programs have played a key role in helping youth think about their future. What types of jobs are out there to pursue? How do youth find out what types of jobs might be of interest to them? Are there types of internships and volunteer opportunities available to try out certain jobs? By joining a 4-H club, youth can learn about specific careers and jobs and hands-on learning to help them become successful adults.

The following are some great first openers to get youth to begin thinking about 4-H projects or careers. We’ll use the dairy industry as an example, but they can be applied to any time of 4-H project of career.

  • Ask youth about the general goals they want to achieve, such as show at local the fair or state shows, or gather ideas about the dairy field, jobs, a vet career, etc.
  • Ask youth to think about the big picture in their 4-H dairy project. Could they own a dairy farm, raise dairy cattle, work on a dairy farm or explore other dairy careers? Have them research possible careers related to the dairy industry. Some outside-the-box ideas include researching and writing for a dairy magazine, packaging or public speaking on the dairy industry.
  • Talk about being an entrepreneur with their animal project—what does this mean? Are they able to start a dairy farm, is there a “value added product” they could sell? Explain in detail what being an entrepreneur means; you could include some financial literacy ideas such as developing a spending plan, expenses and income.
  • Start the goal-setting process for the next one to three years. When youth write their goals, ask if they are SMART goals? What action steps can they take? Walk through the SMART goals criteria as it relates to a dairy project or possible job. The “Youth Business Guide to Success: Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project,” can be used when teaching SMART goals. The National 4-H curriculum “Build Your Future: Choices…Connections…Careers” Activity 2 has great links for youth to explore possible careers.

These are just a few ideas to get youth thinking about the dairy industry and can be adapted to any type of 4-H club projects.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparationmoney management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Employment.” 

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