Written by Andrea Knox, former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development & Resiliency Field Specialist.
4-H Community Clubs are located throughout the state in nearly every county. These long standing youth groups are more relevant than ever in providing positive opportunities for youth to learn, grow and have fun! The positive outlet also serves as buffer against negative pressures and situations today’s youth commonly face.
Creating a well-rounded meeting consisting of 15 to 20 minutes spent on “Business,” 40 to 45 minutes on “Education,” and 20 to 25 minutes on “Recreation” makes for a great experience. Previously, we discussed the “Business” and “Education” portion, now let’s talks about “Recreation”! Recreation adds enthusiasm and enjoyment to meetings.
According to the Club Management Guide “Recreation,” is always active, full of variety, and kid-driven! It includes games, singing, refreshments, icebreakers, charades, relays, sports, puzzles, party for parents, picnics, hikes and free play. Recreation is a tool that can be used to encourage a prompt start to the meeting, to transition between business and education portions, to relieve tensions, and to promote group bonding. Through recreation activities kids learn to follow and give directions, to cooperate, and to understand themselves and others better. Recreation also encourages kids (and adults!) to be more active and can promote a healthier lifestyle.
The community club leader and officers can work together to plan and carry out the recreation activities. If the club is smaller all members may help plan recreation activities or for a larger group a recreation committee or family may take turns planning the recreation portion. There are many resources for recreation available. Below are a few resources to help you get started. Internet searches using the key words “youth games” will also provide many ideas for games appropriate for a variety of settings and age groups.
Here are a few tips for success when leading recreation. Have fun!
- Plan the program
- Show enthusiasm
- Involve everyone
- Be prepared
- Show how
- Be the leader
- Stop while you’re still having fun
Activities That Teach by Tom Jackson