Positive Youth Development Through 4-H Community Clubs
4-H Critical Elements – An Opportunity to See One’s-self as an Active Participant in the Future
The ability to see one’s-self in the future is to harness the hope and optimism to shape life choices to facilitate the transition into participating in the perceived future.
The next 4-H critical element is that of the – opportunity to see one’s-self as an active participant in the future. The premise here is that youth are offered new experiences and opportunities to enjoy life. They learn and grow from successes and failures.
4-H volunteers might consider the following questions: In our 4-H club…
- Do members get goals and work toward their goals?
- Do members think about life plans and their future?
- Do members develop hobbies and leisure interests?
- Do youth take healthy risks?
Some practices the 4-H club may want to implement if they have not already done so is to include:
- Provide opportunities for youth to assess their work – both successes and failures. Youth often need help in identifying the changes they need to make in order to turn a failure into a success. This can be done by reviewing project planning sheets and goals that members have set in their projects during the year. This can also be accomplished during conference judging. Evaluating 4-H events and activities conducted by members and/or committees is another viable option.
- Encourage youth to enjoy life by exploring hobbies and leisure activities. Have them discuss these hobbies and think about how they might turn these skills into marketable skills in the workforce later on. 4-H project work allows youth to experiment with a variety of skills – some they may decide to turn into careers – others they may decide they are not really interested in pursuing.
- Invite parents of members to come to club meetings and present a short program on their work or career. Have them discuss the skills needed to be successful in their line of work and help them relate those skills to various 4-H project areas. 4-H members might shadow adults in their job or invite the adults to become project leaders and share their knowledge with other members.
- Incorporate discussion of careers into project learning activities, club programs, and field trips. Youth might keep a journal of all the possible careers they can think of related to a project they are enrolled in. WOW! Wild Over Work, a 4-H career curriculum for grades K- 6 might be used as a group project or theme for a series of club meetings. Make connections between 4-H project work and schoolwork. Help members learn about all the career opportunities available in their own community.
- Encourage youth to try new projects and new activities, particularly as they get older. Teens need to know about county, regional, state, national, and international 4-H activities so that they will remain active in 4-H. They need to know about things they can do, as they get older so that they have a future perspective.
- Assist older youth in setting goals related to career aspirations. The advanced units of most projects include leadership, community service and career type activities in the manuals. As teens narrow their career choices, encourage them to enroll in the advanced units and to spend some time setting short and long-term goals they would like to achieve.