Youth gain leadership skills through 4-H participation

Michigan 4-H enables youth to develop leadership skills through observation and practice.

A leader is a person who guides others toward a common goal, showing the way by example and creating an environment in which other team members feel actively involved in the entire process. A leader is not the boss of the team but, is instead the person that is committed to carrying out the mission of the venture, says Ashoka’s Youth Venture program.

If we discuss leaders we observe – and these leaders can be anyone from your club leader, teacher or business leader to the president of the United States – we can say what skills we think they have. Skills most leaders embody include communication, facilitation, organization, awareness, openness to ideas, focus, confidence, the ability to listen, decision making and being able to be inclusive of others’ ideas. These are all skills that, without a doubt, are beneficial to any leader, but what are the ways youth can gain these skills? The answer is through observation and practice.

Leadership development is the cornerstone of 4-H programming. 4-H youth are prepared to take on the role and responsibility of becoming leaders in our society through practice and observation in their project, through their club and through community service activities. The development of leadership skills through 4-H is deliberate. Going through a leadership program through 4-H youth learn about themselves. They find out what leadership characteristics they need to focus on building with the guidance of 4-H leaders and staff. Using the experiential learning model they learn how to interact with others, parliamentary procedure, public speaking, decision making and conflict resolution. They learn components of leadership such as listening skills, organizational skills, time management proficiency and facilitation skills.

For more information, curriculum and 4-H leadership events go to Citizenship, Leadership and Service page on the Michigan 4-H Development website.

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