Help 4-H youth develop positive relationships

Explore how to implement the first 4-H guiding principle in 4-H clubs and communities.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development has seven guiding principle for positive youth development. This is the first installment of a series that explores each of those guiding principles.

The first Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles for Positive Youth Development is, “Youth develop positive relationships with adults and peers.

4-H is a unique opportunity among almost all youth organizations for several reasons. First, it is research-based; everything we do is backed up by research that demonstrates it helps kids become successful adults. Also, we are the only organization that I know of that has youth from both genders and all ages in a single club.

The diversity of membership within a club allows for youth to learn from each other. Older youth can set a good example for the younger kids and further increase their learning by teaching those younger than them. Do you provide the opportunities in your club for this kind of interaction?

Youth can also take advantage of 4-H opportunities, such as state level workshops and competitions, fairs and programs like Youth Conservation Council and Exploration Days to meet other young people from all across Michigan. By sharing experiences with people from different places, economic backgrounds and cultures, youth can make better decisions and communicate more effectively with people from all over the world.

4-H also provides opportunities to learn from other adults. While parents are the first educators to their children, research shows that long-term relationships with caring adults are essential for positive youth development.

As a parent, I know I am limited in the variety of knowledge, experience and viewpoints I can provide for my child. 4-H provides a network of leaders and volunteers who can help a young person when they have an issue that their parents might not understand completely. It might be a specific issue, such as how to complete a particular 4-H project, or just another adult who can listen and provide another point of view.

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