The presidential campaign has put the topic of leadership in the spotlight. Each candidate is trying to convince voters that he or she will be the best leader for our country.
Leaders have a variety of skills to help them be successful. 4-H believes every child has the potential to become a leader. We empower youths to gain the life skills that encourage them to lead. 4-H is structured to provide real opportunities for self-growth.
For instance, 4-H club members enroll in hands-on projects. These projects allow young people to learn by doing. By completing projects, youths learn responsibility. Although we have a strong tradition in agriculture projects, members today are enrolled in robotics, rocketry, photography, entrepreneurship projects and much more.
4-H club programs also emphasize public speaking and community service. Members gain confidence through having to give an illustrated demonstration at one of their club meetings. They are also required to take part in a community service event. This teaches compassion and the importance of giving back to their community.
4-H members also gain leadership skills through working in a team. Members take on club leadership roles as they get older. This allows them to work with other members to run meetings, plan events and help mentor each other.
Last weekend was a perfect example of positive youth development in action. Colorado State 4-H District 9 President Stephenie Riegel hosted a district retreat. 4-H members from Archuleta and La Plata counties attended for a fun-filled educational day.
Stephenie was instrumental in planning, organizing and running the event. She engaged older 4-H members to help with registration and team-building games. She coordinated guest speakers for great presentations, and she stayed until the end to clean up. Throughout the day, Stephenie modeled tremendous leadership.
The presentations highlighted the power of leadership. Janice Moore did a fantastic job teaching a class about proper dining etiquette. Young people set a table and practiced good manners at lunch. Forks go on the left.
Former First National Bank President Steve Short gave an inspiring speech. He talked about how 4-H helped him gain leadership skills and encouraged young people to plan for the future and be the best they can be.
Julie Harris finished the day’s presentations with a terrific lesson about being unique. She talked about how being in 4-H has helped shape her career in law enforcement.
And a big thanks go out to Sandy Wade, Dillon Harris and Rajean Riegel for preparing and serving the wonderful lunch.
Stephenie Riegel has represented La Plata County 4-H very well in her role as District 9 president. She has a great future ahead of her.
It is quite fitting that the National 4-H Council has just launched its new media campaign called “Grow True Leaders.” Stephenie is an example of how 4-H has helped her grow into a true leader.
To learn more about the new campaign and how you can recognize other true leaders, visit www.4-H.org.
Greg Felsen is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach him at email@example.com or 382-6463.