Communicating to a career through 4-H

Youth practice communication skills while participating in 4-H. These skills can lead to a major related to communications in college and a career path.

In 4-H, youth participate in 4-H club meetings, educational events and activities that allow them to use certain skills. There is a skill in 4-H that youth practice and learn in different settings as a member. What is this skill? This skill is communication; frequently practiced by 4-H members during 4-H club meetings. When youth are at educational events, they communicate with the judges as they are showing a livestock project or an arts and crafts project. In other events like 4-H Exploration Days at Michigan State University, youth who are candidates for a Michigan 4-H State Award communicate with the judges during their interview.

Here are some other suggestions from Michigan State University Extension on ways youth can develop communication skills in 4-H:

  • Writing an article for the 4-H club newsletter or County 4-H newsletter
  • Assist 4-H program staff in creating a marketing or promotional campaign for 4-H in the county or the 4-H club
  • Assist 4-H program staff with social media and other educational technologies for outreach and programming
  • Participate in a 4-H project for journaling, record-keeping, writing stories or even putting together documentaries or videos

How can these various communication skills lead a 4-H member toward a career path? First, there are majors related to the different forms of communication students learn while enrolled in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. This college consists of four departments that offer undergraduate (4-year) degrees: Advertising and Public Relations, Communication, the School of Journalism, and Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media. The undergraduate majors from these departments are Advertising, Communication, Journalism, and Media and Information.  Each of these departments also offers graduate degrees (Master’s and Ph.D.) for students who want to continue their studies. Another department in this college is Communicative Sciences and Disorders. This department only offers graduate degrees (Master’s and Ph.D.).

A student with a degree related to communications can pursue various careers in media, advertising, promotions and marketing, and public relations. Along with the 4-H educational events and activities, Michigan 4-H Youth Development has resources for youth interested in communications. The Communications Toolkit has information and activities that can assist youth in developing skills in communications.

Communications is a diverse career field and offers opportunities for employment. As 4-H volunteer, leaders and parents it is important to take notice of the skills that youth are exhibiting through their 4-H experience.  Skills learned through 4-H, like communications, is a way to connect youth to careers.

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