Youth development is a community effort. La Plata County 4-H and other youth organizations would like to promote positive youth development in our region. We can do this by following successful strategies and educating the public of the needs facing our youths.
Youth-adult partnerships, cross-age teaching and stakeholder involvement are three strategies we are using to provide practical life skills for our kids. These strategies promote community-based solutions to overcome problems in our area.
b Youth-adult partnerships happen when youngsters and adults become engaged together in their communities; these relationships include mutuality in teaching, learning and action. This type of relationship is important to develop individuals who are competent and able to contribute to important decisions that impact their communities.
Youths gain benefits such as stronger communication skills and leadership experience, increased stature in the community, improved competencies and self-esteem and a decrease in risk behaviors. La Plata County 4-H values these partnerships through the dedication provided by our club and project leaders, parents and volunteers. This is shown through the countless community service, public speaking and leadership activities that 4-H offers. We will continue to work on positive ways to give our youths a greater voice to express fresh ideas, open communication between youths and adults and provide greater resources for youths to be civically engaged in their community.
b Cross-age teaching describes a strategy of positive youth development that engages youths with those younger, resulting in greater benefits for everyone. Cross-age teaching engages teens as teachers for pre-teens or younger children, typically in nonformal educational settings.
In 4-H, our senior members are used as a very valuable resource in teaching our cloverbud, junior and intermediate class members. As younger members look up and try to emulate older members, we see our senior members as models of positive youth leadership. We feel this plays a unique role in influencing younger kids to develop and practice healthy behaviors. Many projects are successful through the relationship-building and exchange of knowledge our older members provide to our younger members.
b Stakeholder involvement is a strategy that involves using people and organizations through direct engagement in the planning, implementing and evaluation of programs.
We are very blessed in La Plata County to have dedicated people, businesses and organizations that help support the mission of 4-H. However, we must establish greater connections and input from our stakeholders in order to provide work-force preparation, and entrepreneurial and community leadership opportunities for our youth. Having our youths directly involved with our stakeholders provides mutual beneficial impacts for our community.
La Plata County 4-H in conjunction with the County Children, Youth and Family Master Plan looks to follow these strategies to engage our county in positive youth development. We aim to be more visible in the community on how to access resources and information on the promotion of sustainable and healthful lifestyles for our youths and families.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.