Developing Life Skills With 4-H

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Junior leaders speaking to camp participants at the 4-H Horsin' Around Camp

Junior leaders speaking to camp participants at the 4-H Horsin’ Around Camp

Want to gain self-confidence, learn to share information with others, and develop your speaking skills? Youth in Caldwell County 4-H are developing all of these skills through public speaking opportunities. Public speaking can have a variety of purposes, topics, and methods.

Public speaking has been an important part of the program since the beginning of 4-H. Life skills such as research, goal-setting, organization, oral communication, and self-confidence are refined through public speaking. These life skills will benefit youth currently in their schoolwork, as they prepare to go to college, and long term in their careers. Many adult who participated in 4-H as a youth when asked frequently mention the benefits of taking part in public speaking while in 4-H.

The most common public speaking opportunity in 4-H is presentations. A presentation includes choosing a topic, researching their topic, preparing a presentation, then delivering their presentation. These presentations can be given in few different methods such as demonstrations, illustrated talks, dramatic interpretation, and formal speeches. Public speaking is a key component of several other components of 4-H as well including serving as a junior leader or 4-H club officer. Junior leaders are a vital part of our 4-H program here in Caldwell County. Teenagers who regularly participate in 4-H apply and then the junior leaders are chosen to help with the 4-H summer exploring camps. In helping with the summer camps the junior leaders are given the opportunity to lead games and activities for the kids which gives them the opportunity to speak to an audience. Another opportunity is being a 4-H club officer. Each 4-H club has a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and sometimes other officers. These roles are fulfilled by youth in the club who are elected by their peers. Part of holding one of these club officer positions is speaking at club meetings whether leading the meeting or reporting on their areas of responsibility.

You may be thinking that all sounds great, but I would never want to get up in front of a group of people to talk. Public speaking is known as one of the biggest fears people have. If you were given the chance to speak about your favorite hobby, favorite animal, or a cause you are passionate about then it may make getting up to speak about it a little easier. Speaking a few times about a topic that comes easier for you may help you see the benefits of public speaking and ease your nerves. From there you can gradually progress to more challenging topics and methods of oral communication.

Public speaking is a skill that can be beneficial in numerous ways. To learn more about 4-H and how your child can develop life skills through public speaking and many more activities please call 828-757-1257 or email