Wise use of resources is a skill

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “wise use of resources?” In 4-H it’s a life skill with many facets that can be developed. Youth who work on this skill practice using sound judgment, responsibility and how to set priorities.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “wise use of resources?” In 4-H it’s a life skill with many facets that can be developed. Youth who work on this skill practice using sound judgment, are responsible, set priorities, and find ways to conserve resources. Resources can include:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Materials
  • Space
  • People
  • Natural Resources

4-H volunteers help youth reach their full potential by teaching life skills. Many of the life skills that members gain through their 4-H participation are identified in the Iowa State University Targeting Life Skills Model. This resource is for 4-H volunteers to use with 4-H members. It can help them make a connection between the life skills they learn through their 4-H projects to real life experiences. Through the provided age-appropriate discussion questions, volunteers can help youth apply their hands-on 4-H project experiences to real life situations.

4-H youth development programs specialize in creating opportunities for youth that are age-appropriate. This means that although it is recognized that children and youth develop at different rates, programs and skill development opportunities will match a child’s age with their emotional and physical abilities. When developing the skill of “wise use of resources”, the following are guidelines for age appropriate skills that Michigan State University Extension suggests should be followed:

Ages 5-8

  • Learns the value of money and begins to count change
  • Discovers the importance of recycling and is able to sort recyclable materials

Ages 9-11

  • Understands resources can be exchanged
  • Finds it difficult to delay immediate pleasure for goals in the future
  • Learns to delay immediate pleasure for goals in the future

Ages 12-14

  • Makes simple budgets for financial resources
  • Manages time
  • Begins to plan ahead how resources may be used
  • Understands the impact of a personal carbon footprint

Ages 15-19

  • Allocates time in order to prepare and follow schedules
  • Applies personal values to use of leisure time
  • Is able to generate and invest financial resources
  • Is able to manage resources to achieve a goal
  • Implements changes to reduce effects of environmental footprint

4-H volunteers also utilize the Missouri 4-H Experiential Learning Model and Processing Questions to help the youth they work with process and think about the skills they are learning in their 4-H projects. Suggested age-appropriate processing questions relate to the skill of “wise use of resources” include:

5- to 8-year-olds

  • What did you learn from this activity that you didn’t know before?
  • How will your new skills help you at home?

9- to 11-year-olds

  • What are some decisions you had to make to carry out this activity?
  • How does having fun help you learn?

12- to 14-year-olds

  • What were some common themes or thoughts you heard?
  • How did this differ from the way you are usually taught in school?

15- to 19-year-olds

  • What steps did you go through before you made your decision?
  • Where can you go to find more information about this topic?

Read other articles about important life skills learned in 4-H, including: Nurturing relationships is a skill and Self-motivation is a skill.

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