Why is it important for young people to learn about leadership? How does it apply to life? Leadership is one of the core areas of focus for the Kentucky 4-H program, and as such, there are a wide variety of activities associated with leadership development in youth, appropriate for youth pre-4-H aged and up. The activities involved with leadership development vary greatly, but are all focused on improving the quality aspects of a young leader through reflection, explanation of leadership principle, and personal experiences. Events for leadership and youth development range from the local to national level, and cover both specific areas of concern and general leadership skills.
- Youth who participate in leadership development opportunities are exposed to a variety of opportunities for personal development. Leadership activities help youth:
- Develop confidence in their leadership potential and their own sense of identity.
- Improve their self-esteem.
- Enhance their communication skill is sharing, reflecting and discussion.
- Understand the importance of diversity and improves their ability to relate to others.
- Learn effective decision making methods and experience problem-solving situations.
- Learn group social skills.
(Unlock Your Leadership Potential: A Leadership Project Guide, University of Florida, IFAS Extension, October 2009)
- Leadership education builds several important assets in Kentucky youth and provides critical elements of youth development (Search Institute, 2004; Pittman, Irby & Ferber, 2001). The fewer assets young people have, the more likely they are to engage in negative behaviors (Benson, 1997; Eccles & Gootman, 2002). The more assets that are provided to youth, the more likely they are to exhibit positive behaviors. Strong leadership and decision making skills are essential assets in helping shape a 4-H member into a responsible adult (Jones, n.d.)
- 4-H members get better grades, show higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in their schools. They are more than twice as likely to plan to attend college. 4-H members are 3.4 times more likely to contribute to communities compared to non-4-H members. (4-H – Research: Positive Youth Development, http://www.4-h.org/about/youth-development-research/positive-youth-development-study/, n.d)