• By Ryan Farley, Extension Agent

4-H/Youth Development: Youth learn to lead in 4-H

Source: Rachel Noble, 4-H youth development specialist For many young people, leadership training starts as soon as they join 4-H. Here, youth learn responsibility as they care for animals, gain confidence with public speaking, understand the feeling of success as they complete projects and learn to interact with their peers as they attend events or club meetings. All of these skills are critical components of becoming an effective leader. Many youth find these experiences enriching to their current lives and encouraging as they enter adulthood.

As youth grow in 4-H, they have the chance to take on further leadership roles. They may lead a club at the county level, become a delegate to state-level events, and may even advance as a state teen council member, or decide to run for state 4-H office as a senior 4-H member.

State Teen Council gives young leaders the opportunity to refine their communication and leadership skills and it serves as a sounding board for 4-H state teen programming. Members also assist with the planning and execution of two leadership building events, 4-H Summit and Teen Conference. The State Teen Council engages in an educational program such as mock interviews, resumes, demonstrations and speeches. Teens also develop leadership workshops to take back to their county and districts. Council members are chosen by their Cooperative Extension district and serve two-year terms.

State officers are senior 4-Hers who serve as 4-H ambassadors to the state and are elected at the 4-H Teen Conference each June. These officers have many responsibilities, including planning meetings, chairing committees, leading trainings, presiding over State Teen Council, and representing Kentucky 4-H throughout the state.

2018-2019 4-H state officers are:

• President: Jonna Woodson, Muhlenberg County

• Vice President: Walter Steely, Webster County

• Secretary: Delaney Simpson, Boyle County

• Treasurer: Dylan Gentry, Green County

For more information about 4-H leadership opportunities, contact the Woodford County Cooperative Extension Service.

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