Delaware 4-H Teen Leadership (2019)
For many years, Delaware 4-H has been empowering youth by helping them cultivate leadership skills such as decision making, self confidence and public speaking — all tools that will help them throughout life. In fact, a Tufts University survey found that youth involved in 4-H leadership programs are four times more likely to give back to their communities!
In a compelling study, Empowering Presenters found that 15% of people inhibit themselves from a promotion at work by not having good communication skills and being unable to lead a group. Luckily, the leadership skills that Delaware 4-H teaches open up a multitude of opportunities as participants move on to college, start their first jobs and enter the next stages of life.
In an effort to build leadership skills in local youth, Delaware 4-H conducted four weekend trainings and 10 monthly meetings for youth ages 13 and older throughout 2019. Held at both county and state levels, these events saw participants come together for hands-on training led by experienced 4-H leaders. Participants then worked together in small groups where they used their newly acquired skills to build confidence and support in each other. Often, these exercises encouraged participants to later use their leadership capabilities in club settings, at community events and in school projects.
The 93 youth who have participated in the Delaware 4-H Teen Leadership programs over the past several years have shown tremendous leadership growth and development. In 2019, this group completed surveys to help determine how the program has enhanced their leadership skills and to ascertain what parts of the program they most enjoy. The following survey results were reported:
- 84% strongly agreed they learned new leadership skills while at these events
- 83% strongly agreed that they feel more comfortable leading a group in decision making
- 80% strongly agree that 4-H has increased their self-confidence
- 45% strongly agree and 39% agreed that they gained more confidence speaking in front of a group of their peers
The following testimonies were received from the youth who participated in the leadership activities:
- “I have learned to always have a backup plan as things can change quickly.”
- “I plan to use my leadership skills in my everyday life.”
- “While utilizing my leadership skills, I have been able to realize what stresses affect my communication skills.”
- “I am now more able to take charge in groups as I want my voice to be heard.”
Kaitlin Klair, Jill Jackson, Betsy Morris, Kristin Cook, Kaleb Scott, Jenny Trunfio, Breanna Banks and Karen Johnston Delaware 4-H Extension Staff