Growing Tomorrow's Leaders
by: Kaitlyn Peine | County Extension Agent | 4-H Youth Development
Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders We live in a community that is rich with opportunities for youth. The laundry list of possible activities is endless- scouting, church youth group, sports, theatre, 4-H, and more. I recently had a friend who is also a parent of school-aged children ask me why someone should get involved with 4-H. My response quickly came to mind, “Because we are growing tomorrow’s leaders by teaching kids to be engaged citizens.” 4-H is equipping youth ages 5-18 with leadership and communication skills through service-learning. Leadership and citizenship are the essential elements of a 4-H experience.
4‑H empowers young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities. Youth learn about civic affairs, build decision-making skills and develop a sense of understanding and confidence in relating and connecting to other people. 4-H provides youth the opportunities to build leadership and citizenship skills while gaining a better understanding of what it means to give back to their community.
Influencing change requires adaptive leadership skills. 4-H’ers strengthen their adaptive leadership skills by serving as a club officer, leading committees, and giving public presentations. Our Serving Better Together Service Learning Campaign is a great example of youth and adults collaborating to plan and execute community service projects to give back to the Douglas County community. The campaign included 12 different service-learning projects hosted by 10 groups. Citizenship Washington Focus and 4-H Ambassadors are also great examples of county-wide programs that provide experiences for youth to develop mastery in leadership and citizenship.
When families are weighing their options and deciding on their priorities for extra-curricular activities, I encourage parents to research youth organizations that promote leadership and citizenship. 4-H is a network of 4-H volunteers, families, and Extension professionals working together to offer positive youth development opportunities. 4-H club members are growing into tomorrow’s leaders while exploring the possibility of 30 different 4-H project areas. There is no better time than the present to find a club near you.
For more information about the 10 4-H community clubs in Douglas County visit: https://www.douglas.k-state.edu/4-h