4-H youth leadership project: Learn skills for a lifetime!

4-H leadership experiences provide limitless opportunities for youth.

The largest youth development organization in the nation, six million young people participate in 4-H nationally. The youth development program of the nation’s Cooperative Extension system, coordinated by l10 land-grant universities in the United States, 4-H was developed in the late 1800s in part to bring resources to the county level. Along with university resources, this program is supported by 540,000 volunteers who give their time to help youth develop skills and earn success! Among these skills are leadership skills, which help 4-H’ers to make a positive impact in their communities and the world.

Information from the Michigan 4-H Teen Leadership program through Michigan State University Extension 4-H lists a few of the ways youth can grow their leadership skills. These include:

  • Becoming a youth mentor.
  • Taking full or partial leadership of a specific project.
  • Becoming a peer educator or helper.
  • Joining county, state and national committees.
  • Organizing, implementing and evaluating community service projects.
  • Being active in 4-H teen leader clubs, teen clubs and service clubs.
  • Being a camp counselor.
  • Taking on junior and senior leader roles as defined by the county.
  • Becoming a club officer.
  • Becoming a youth member of the 4-H Council.
  • Attending (and teaching at) leadership training.
  • Addressing community and statewide social issues.

Through 4-H, teens learn to identify leadership opportunities and how they can impact areas of need so there are many other opportunities for youth to create their own leadership experience, depending on their interests and the needs of the community. Teens can also “try-on” different leadership roles with the help of 4-H volunteers and MSU Extension staff.

As a result of their 4-H leadership activities, youth learn how to problem solve and develop a feeling of involvement in the community as they work to improve it. In addition, youth leaders develop the ability to accept new responsibilities, help others grow their skills and learn life skills such as time management, team building, decision-making, conflict resolution, critical thinking and commitment. The development of these life skills helps the individual young person, as well as the community and world!

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