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    Volunteerism: Teaching Youth about Why We Do It

    The buzz words of volunteering often focus around terms such as: service Learning, advocacy, and mentoring. However, if you were to ask many youth today as to why we volunteer, their quick response is usually “to help people in need”. That is a correct response, however; what is the definition of a “need”, how are they determined and why do we do it?

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    Working with Youth: From Frazzled to Dazzled: Part 2

    Over the past couple weeks we have discussed ways to promote positive behavior, discourage disruptive behavior and thus go from frazzled to dazzled in our work with youth!  Remember, the ultimate goal of all 4-H clubs/groups is positive youth development.  We want 4-H members to have the opportunity to participate in physically and emotionally safe environments, in welcoming and inclusive environments, and in appropriately structured environments when they participate in 4-H programs. These are three of the essential elements of positive youth development (PYD).  

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    Working with Youth: From Frazzled to Dazzled: Part 3

    Do you leave your time with youth feeling frazzled or dazzled?!  The ultimate goal of all 4-H clubs/groups is positive youth development.  We want 4-H members to have the opportunity to participate in physically and emotionally safe environments, in welcoming and inclusive environments, and in appropriately structured environments when they participate in 4-H programs. 

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    Successful Club Meetings Part 3 - Education-Learning Style Shake-up

    Successful club meetings are interactive engaging youth through meaningful learning experiences.  Three general areas for a 90 minute period include 15 to 20 minutes be spent on “Business,” 40 to 45 minutes on ”Education,” and 20 to 25 minutes on “Recreation.”  Previously, we discussed the short “Business” portion, now it’s time to focus on the “Education” section.  

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    Successful Club Meetings Part 2 - Bringing Business from Boring to Booming

    Being part of a community 4-H club can provide many factors that help promote positive youth development.  Successful 4-H club meetings can make a real difference in participation and help everyone enjoy themselves, learn and feel excited about participating.  Normally, meetings contain three parts; business, education and recreation.  For a 90 minute period, experienced volunteers suggest that 15 to 20 minutes be spent on “Business,” 40 to 45 minutes on ”Education,” and 20 to 25 minutes on “Recreation.”  

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    Youth Exchanges: Go International!

    State and County Exchange programs are a series of learning experiences in which individuals from a club, community or county visit in the homes/communities of 4-H members in another geographical area, and are visited by them in return. Counties usually host a group one year and return to visit the homes/communities of their guests the following year.

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    Understanding Early Childhood Development

    Early childhood is generally defined as ages from birth to eight with an emphasis on the ages between 5 and 8. At age five, many children begin their formal education in the school setting. Meanwhile, they also begin joining in other group activities where informal learning occurs, such as, afterschool groups, teams and clubs.  For adults who guide, coach or mentor children in these organizations, it is important to plan activities thoughtfully and intentionally based on the developmental characteristics of early childhood.

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    4-H Project Planning:  Part I

    As the 4-H year draws to an end, it is time to start contemplating plans for the upcoming year.  School is in session, fall sports have begun and the sudden question of “Where do we go from here” begins.  The answer to the question is simple.  It is goal development time.  What is it that you want to achieve in the upcoming 4-H year?  And most importantly, how are you going to make it happen?

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    Helping Youth Establish Goals

    Setting goals can be one of the most challenging and frustrating things for adults to do and it can be even harder for youth to accomplish.  However, it has been shown people who write out their goals and share them with others are more likely to reach their goals than people who have unwritten or unspecific goals.  As a project leader, advisor, or parent; sitting down with youth and helping them write down goals will provide a more positive learning experience within a project and hold the youth accountable for accomplishing their set goals.

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    Selecting A Project Animal

    With a new project year comes time for selecting new animals to have as part of your 4-H project.  Youth interested in selecting their own animals are encouraged to work with their project leaders, parents, or area producers to help guide them through this process.  Published resource materials, within specific projects, are also great starting tools to see what is current in the industry when selecting an animal.

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    Working With Youth in a World Where What You See…Is What You Give!

    As I sat down to write this article on volunteerism, I had to think back and reflect somewhat on the past.  I feel that this reflection is important when dealing with the future.  One person that I have always admired in his thoughts on volunteerism is Dr. Ivan H. Scheier, PH.D, who was seen by many as a pioneer in the volunteer movement.  If you ever get the chance to read his book “Making Dreams Come True without Money, Might, or Miracles:  A Guide for Dream-Chasers and Dream-Catchers”, do so.

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    New Partnerships Make the Best Better for Youth

    The 2013-2014 4-H year in Brookings County marked the birth year of the Helping Hands 4-H Club of the Brookings Boy and Girls Club. Their inaugural year, facilitated by Brookings County 4-H Youth Program Advisor Sonia Mack, included over twenty members; ten of which exhibited over forty projects at the Brookings County 4-H Achievement Days and nine of them sending exhibits on to the 4-H Division of the South Dakota State Fair.

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    Community Learning Models: Creating Partnerships for Youth Success

    We often ask ourselves: How we can create a strong foundation for youth development? What should the structure look like? How should it operate? How should it be maintained? What is the best stimulation for growth? 4-H offers youth and communities an opportunity to address all of these questions through Youth and Community Learning Partnerships.

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