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Douglas County

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Lawrence KS 66046

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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.

4Hrs aremore likely to  give back to their communities, more likely to make  healthier choices, more likely to participate in STEM activities

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