Service activities give youth an opportunity to do something that will help others or improve their community. Because young people need to recognize they are part of a community and can have an active role in that community 4-H members are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one community service activity each year. Such participation enables youth to:
- Better understand the community in which they live
- Take responsibility for their lives in the community
- Learn about social change and participation in a democracy
- Make a difference
- Improve their self-esteem and confidence
- Work cooperatively with others
- Improve their leadership skills
- Demonstrate that they have a positive role to play in their communities
A structured service project where the focus is on both the learning that occurs within the 4-Her and the service to the community. Other important aspects of service learning . . .
- Members learn and develop through active participation in organized experiences that meet a need
- When members have structured time to reflect, talk, and write about the actual service they are performing, their learning increases
- Members develop improved problem-solving abilities, leadership and social abilities, self-confidence, and have more enjoyment in the overall learning experience
- Members are more likely to volunteer to serve the community in the future
- Members often retain the subject matter longer
An informal service activity where 4-Hers volunteer in the community with a focus more on service to the community as opposed to their own development as a result of the service. Other important aspects of community service . . .
- Youth complete a project that allows them to make a contribution or change within their community
- Youth learn more about and better understand the community in which they live
- Youth learn how to relate to communities in order to participate effectively in community activities, programs, and organizations
- Youth develop knowledge and skills in leadership
- Youth develop and carry out a community project to improve the quality of their environment
Whether it be an extended, complicated service learning project or just a short term community service activity, you can see that there are many different types of service a club and/or individual members may do. The important thing is that 4-Hers serve their communities in some way each year. It is also essential that the activity matches the developmental stage of those involved, is of interest to those participating, and is of value to the community. This will allow the service to be the most memorable experience and have a greater impact.
For more information, contact Emily Roach
4-H Resource Educator