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Extension Snapshots

Real Colors training provides insights into how to work together more effectively for both youth and adults

poster with words: wants needs strengths

Blue, green, gold, and orange represent more than just colors in the crayon box. In the Real Colors temperament program they signify distinct personality types that play a crucial role in understanding and appreciating individual differences in a person’s temperament. Locally, University of Illinois Extension has staff who are certified Real Colors trainers and lead workshops for both internal and external audiences.

Judy Schmidt, 4-H youth development educator, describes her role as a Colors trainer as both rewarding and invigorating. “People who attend Real Colors workshops experience both a deeper understanding of their own temperament, as well as a new perspective into why others may not see things the same way they do,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt has taught Colors workshops since 2002 to over 85 groups. “I have done Colors with adult literacy groups, teachers and staff at multiple schools, alternative schools and afterschool programs, with Illinois Extension staff, volunteers, and program participants, and with social service agency staff.”

First and foremost, the program enhances self-awareness among participants, helping them recognize and appreciate their unique temperaments. Additionally, Real Colors provides a framework for effective communication and collaboration. By understanding the temperaments of others, youth and adult participants learn to communicate more effectively, resolve conflicts, and build stronger interpersonal relationships.

The Real Colors program is particularly beneficial for groups, promoting a common language and cohesion among participants. By recognizing and appreciating the diverse temperament styles of group members, individuals can adapt their communication strategies to be more effective and empathetic. This leads to stronger team dynamics, enhanced problem-solving, and increased productivity. One participant shared that the Real Colors workshop brought their team closer together and helped encourage more open discussion and dialogue.

One of the reasons Schmidt really enjoys facilitating Real Colors is that it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Its adaptability makes it suitable for various contexts, including corporate settings, educational institutions, and community organizations. The program can be customized to address specific challenges within a group or team. Schmidt is often brought into a team or group that is struggling with communication or working together.

“Being able to understand that everyone has different perspectives, and the value that different viewpoints bring to a group can totally change the group dynamics,” concluded Schmidt.


Local 4-H Youth Educator Judy Schmidt is a certified trainer in the Real Colors program. She has worked with over 85 groups for the past 22 years helping people have a better understanding of their own temperament as well as that of those around them. Youth and adults who go through Colors training learn to communicate more effectively, resolve conflicts, and build stronger interpersonal relationships.


Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers.

Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.


Extension Snapshots are monthly impact reports that share the stories of our programs in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. To have them delivered to you directly sign up using our E-blast registration.


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