Help youth develop skills for success

Creating ways for youth to learn and practice the fifth Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles will lead to greater growth and success later in life.

The seven Michigan Guiding Principles for Positive Youth Development should be posted in the club meeting area. This will be a visual reminder of the club’s agreement to incorporate the principles as a group and as individuals. Principle five states, “Youth develop skills that help them succeed.”

One of the important responsibilities of a leader is to help youth acquire skills and knowledge to reach their goals. There are basic ideas that apply to all learning situations. 4-H participants learn and retain more when action is involved in teaching. There are three steps to experiential learning.

  1. Explore: Youth explore and learn when they are involved in a hands-on activity.
  2. Reflect: Participants “reflect” on the activities when they can share with others.
  3. Apply: Finally the youth apply what they have learned to their everyday life.

By integrating life skills into project areas, youth become competent and confident. A concrete exercise you could use to teach this principle could involve role playing a job interview. Teen members may “play” the employer and job applicant. Discuss the job requirements and highlight how the 4-H project area has increased the skills needed to succeed. Examples are communication through demonstration skills or planning skills through a club event.

Another activity you could use would be to invite club alumni to be guest speakers at a meeting. Prepare the alumni with questions to be asked during the meeting. Example questions might be: How did your involvement in 4-H support your life goals? What did your failures or mistakes teach you about the project? What would you do differently if you were starting your 4-H career?

Guiding Principle five emphasizes the practical life skills that may be mastered through experiential learning.

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