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Youth learn leadership at state 4-H conference

The Issue

A critical element in positive youth development is empowering youth and allowing them to make a difference in their communities. Youth development research suggests that developing citizenship, leadership and life skills can benefit youth and their communities. This can be accomplished, in part, through opportunities for youth to participate in governance and rule making, and to take on leadership roles.

What Has ANR Done?

The 4-H Youth Development Program provides youth opportunities to plan and lead activities, make decisions, and serve in leadership roles.

In August 2007, 420 high school-aged youth and 110 adult 4-H volunteers convened at the UC Davis campus for the annual 4-H State Leadership Conference. Delegates spent nine hours in various educational tracks and workshops. These sessions focused on various areas of leadership and other content areas, including youth in governance; youth in the legal system; public speaking skills; citizenship in every project; youth-led research; appreciating diverse cultures; and group dynamics. Many delegates also attended workshops about applying for scholarships and other university preparation topics.

The Payoff

High School Youth Learn about Leadership

Delegates shared their new knowledge and skill sets with local 4-H clubs and communities. A post conference evaluation survey of 420 high school youth who attended the leadership conference confirmed the intended outcomes of the conference:
- 86% of responding delegates agreed or strongly agreed that they plan to use new skills and knowledge in their county.
- 81% of responding delegates agreed or strongly agreed that they gained information to develop their personal leadership skills.

Clientele Testimonial

"The conference affected me personally in boosting my self confidence and helping me be more outgoing and reach out to others." - youth delegate, 1st year attending.

"I have learned how to have more poise and confidence when in a leadership position, and I have learned how to express my opinion and be heard without being rude or unwanted." - youth delegate, 1st year attending.

"I have helped reshape the Teen Leadership program in my county, and am more strongly advocating youth-adult partnerships and youth-in-governance." - youth delegate, 2nd year attending.


Supporting Unit: 4-H Youth Development Program

Steven Worker, smworker@ucdavis.edu, 530-754-8519