Teens learn to “have fun and get work done with others”

4-H Exploration Days fosters opportunity for youth to learn Facilitative Leadership.

Youth (ages 11 to 19) participate in 4-H Exploration Days, June 19-21, 2013 at Michigan State University, East Lansing, where they experience life on a major college campus, participate in a wide range of new recreational activities, learn new skills in a variety of interest areas, and make new friends from across the state.

4-H Exploration Days, an MSU Pre-College Program, involves nearly 2,500 youth participants and adult chaperones from all parts of Michigan in hands-on learning sessions, field trips and leisure activities. The theme this year was “Share the Magic of 4-H.”

One session available to youth was titled “Teens Leading Teens: Getting Work Done & Having Fun.” This session was led by Michigan State University Extension Leadership and Community Engagement work team members .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Students learned concepts related to use of meeting ground rules, brainstorming ideas, reaching agreement and group decision-making. The need for group divergent thinking was emphasized, looking at the range of creative possibilities and idea generation by all participants. Students then considered convergent thinking, which includes critical thinking, analyzing all possibilities and bringing the group to a final decision. All ideas are considered equally and the decision making process is clear and understandable to everyone.

Students also practiced use of specific tools including Sticky Wall, Rotating Flip Charts, Decision Matrix, and Ranking Sticky Dots. These are practical means to help generate ideas and make decisions effectively in both school and community based settings.

Students completing the course shared these thoughts: “We got the chance to display leadership and work with others,” “It was an enjoyable experience,” “I got to actually teach a class and get over my fear of speaking in front of people,” and “I made lots of friends and learned lots of information.”

Youth interested in attending 4-H Exploration Days or adults interested in teaching a session can contact their local MSU Extension office for more information.

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