Title

Building Leadership Skills in Youth

Presenters

Abby SmithFollow

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

4-H programs and leadership training in particular afford students the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging, engage in meaningful projects and activities and achieve life successes. It also provides a positive adult-youth partnerships where student can set and achieve personal goals. Students gained leadership skills, communication skills and positive self-confidence through their 4-H experiences.

Brief Program Description

Following the 4-H slogan of “learn by doing,” young people are able to participate in educational 4-H experiences that assist them in acquiring leadership, citizenship, and life skills. Leadership training prepares youth to understand responsibility, teamwork, communication and social skills. It is essential that 4-H members serving as leaders be equipped with the skills needed to make sound decisions.

Summary

The National Resource Center for Youth Development states, “in order for youth to be prepared to work in partnerships with adults, they need to develop and/or enhance their leadership skills”. Cloverleaf 4-H clubs elect officers to serve as leadership throughout the school year and the 4-H Agent depends on these students to assist with the facilitation of the club meeting. The Effingham 4-H Extension Agent found that many Officers were unprepared and unsure of their responsibility as a leader. Leadership training prepares youth to understand leadership responsibility, work as a team, set goals, start conversations, facilitate meetings and make effective presentations. Promoting youth leadership development is a great way to promote positive life skills learning. It is essential that 4-H members serving as leaders be equipped with the skills needed to make sound decisions. Research shows it is vital that young people receive the opportunity for proper leadership training and development to enable their personal growth and maturity. These skills will carry them into adulthood so that they will become well-rounded, contributing and productive leaders for our future. Offering Leadership Training to students at a younger age provides a network of strong leaders beginning in 5th grade that will stay with them as they strengthen the 4-H program.

Evidence

In an effort to increase leadership capacity among the youth of Effingham County, the County Extension Agent developed a hands-on leadership training workshop geared toward 5th – 6th grade students in leadership positions. Students were selected by their peers to serve as one of four 4-H Club Officers; President, Vice President, Secretary, or Parliamentarian. Those students were invited to participate in a 2-hour Leadership Training Workshop at the beginning of the school year. The program was designed to help identify student’s individual strengths, teamwork ability and socialization skills. During the workshop students participated in hands-on activities and small group breakout sessions to process activities. Adult Leaders and Senior 4-H Teen Leaders were available to work with the Cloverleaf 4-H members through a rotation of stations. Each station highlighted a specific area of leadership. Students were made aware that just as every person is unique, so is every leadership style. The training workshop for youth leaders strives to empower students to think of themselves not only as leaders of the future, but leaders of right now. The program promoted and enhanced their horizons of leadership potential by helping them to learn goal setting, the benefits of working together, responsibility and decision-making skills. Studies show these skills provide a framework for youth to actively engage as citizens and to positively impact their surroundings. Students attended a 2-hour leadership workshop hosted by Extension Staff. Senior 4-H Club members served as teen leaders for the stations and assisted with the activities and processing. This allowed Senior 4-H members to model leadership responsibilities and techniques to younger members. Participants in the workshop were given a post-program evaluation and results show that students were able to identify responsibilities of being a leader, increase teamwork mentality, use effective communication skills and understand appropriate traits of an effective leader. The evaluations showed that 100% of participants agreed that responsibility is one of the most important traits in leadership. The total program outreach for the past three years has touched over 350 youth in Effingham County. Teachers have reported that students who participate in the workshop show a more responsible demeanor in the classroom and an increased understanding of 4-H leadership responsibilities. The percentage of leadership responsibilities fulfilled have increased after students attended the workshop. They were better prepared for 4-H club meetings and had materials needed for their officer position. After the workshop, students listed characteristics of an effective leader and results are as follows: 42% teamwork; 34% responsible; 12% good listener; 7% helpful; 5% encouraging.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Abby Smith is the County Extension Coordinator and 4-H Youth Development Agent in Effingham County. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Master of Education in Counselor Education and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. She is responsible for coordinating, developing, implementing, and evaluating the 4-H program in Effingham County in Southeast Georgia. She directs 1800+ 4-H youth with project work, leadership, and citizenship activities, camps, conferences and public relations, and manages over 50 volunteers who assist with 4-H programming.

Keyword Descriptors

leadership, social skills, team building, 4-H

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Building Leadership Skills in Youth

Harborside Center

Following the 4-H slogan of “learn by doing,” young people are able to participate in educational 4-H experiences that assist them in acquiring leadership, citizenship, and life skills. Leadership training prepares youth to understand responsibility, teamwork, communication and social skills. It is essential that 4-H members serving as leaders be equipped with the skills needed to make sound decisions.