Successful 4-H Experiences

Meaningful and successful 4-H experiences include the following components:

Action

4-H’ers enjoy doing things that

  • are fun, exciting, and result in learning;
  • can be finished and have meaning; and
  • involve the use of their senses such as touching, smelling and tasting.

Interaction

Youth find meaning in a 4-H experience through interaction by

  • learning to talk to and work with all kinds of people;
  • learning to examine new ideas and to apply them; and
  • learning to use such things as equipment, libraries, bicycles, fabric, magazines, lakes, animals, the backyard, or a computer.

Decision-making

4-H will help people learn to make decisions when they are involved in

  • clarifying the need;
  • setting goals;
  • planning the steps to reach their goals;
  • finding the help they need;
  • doing the things they planned;
  • assessing their progress; and
  • sharing results.

Recognition

4-H can provide reinforcement for learning by

  • acknowledgement from friends, parents, and leaders; and
  • appropriate rewards and awards.

Public affirmation

This is a final stage in value development. 4-H can provide an opportunity to publicly share what has been made, learned, believed, or accomplished through

  • public speaking;
  • creating an exhibit;
  • developing a demonstration; and
  • performing a skill or talent.

Leadership

4-H provides opportunities for people to learn leadership by

  • showing how to do something rather than doing it for them;
  • encouraging observation and listening;
  • supporting with encouragement;
  • showing sincere interest;
  • staying ‘just out of the way’;
  • helping a person do things her/his way; and
  • giving praise when needed or earned.

Flexibility

4-H can provide situational and individual alternatives in

  • learning opportunities;
  • policies and requirements;
  • roles, role definitions, and job descriptions;
  • ways to be involved; and
  • expected outcomes.

Use of resources

4-H allows people to be creative with resources, including those from

  • themselves: using their natural abilities, solving problems, expressing ideas, sharing with others, being a helper to others, learning from others;
  • other people: parents, siblings, friends, neighbors and leaders in the community;
  • activities: trips, events, gardening, home repair, sewing, playing music;
  • the environment: trees, soil, plants, insects, animals, , rocks, lakes;
  • things: their home and the things in it, things in their neighborhood and community, books, writing and art supplies, multimedia.

Tips

  • Think of things related to a specific project that are important and could be fun to learn.
  • Think of people, places, and things in your community that could help kids learn important things in fun ways.
  • Plan with members for people, places, and things the project group will use for fun and learning this year.
  • Contact the resource person and arrange for a visit.
  • Let the resource person know what you want the kids to do, learn, hear, see.
  • Remember to thank resource people, too.
  • Libraries may be willing to set aside shelf space for 4-H learning resources. Talk to your librarian.