4-H Teaches Youth About Feeling Proud
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Earlier this month, 28 youth participated in a two-day 4-H Science Camp. They learned about physics, chemistry and electric currents, among other topics. For some of the experiments, they partnered or worked together in groups. For others, the young scientists were given their own set of materials; and after each chemical or physical reaction, volunteers saw expressions of pride on their faces.
When a goal is met or a great task is accomplished, victors hold their head high and display pride. Teaching youth about the positive and ugly sides of pride is important to their development. Not always is it explicitly stated, but through hands-on experiences, they can better understand this emotion. To better understand when it is good to feel proud and when it is unhealthy, distinguishing the two types of pride is helpful.
Young children can connect the idea to superheroes and villains. Reminding me of supervillains with big egos, one type is driven by fear and intimidation. In the real world, this is displayed when people brag or taunt when winning a contest. A pattern of fear-driven pride quickly turns groups and friendships toxic.
The other type of pride is constructive. When 4-H members participate in service activities, their feelings of satisfaction parallel a superhero’s desire to serve the greater good of a community. When youth have mastered a skill and been recognized for their work, there, again, is a great sense of pride in the accomplishment.
Celebrating knowledge, skills, leadership, and service is at the heart of the 4-H program. At club meetings, members gain new knowledge and proudly share it with others. As exhibitors at the state horse show, county fair or other contests, youth work hard to prepare and then compete. They practice positive pride when they win and sometimes practice how to lose gracefully, saying no to the ugly side of pride when they are faced with disappointment.
Caring volunteers, community partnerships, and eager-to-learn youth support the efforts happening here in Caldwell County. Coming up on the 4-H calendar, 10 youth will be farming and cooking together during a Farm to Fork camp on July 22, 2019. During the week of July 29, more than 25 youth will learn about extreme weather, natural disasters, and other unexpected events through a camp taught by the County Emergency Response Team.
As the new 4-H Youth Development Agent, I am excited to meet community members and build pride for the involvement of and work done by young people in the community. To learn more about 4-H and its opportunities, call the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center at 828-757-1257. Caldwell County 4-H is a member agency of United Way, and it enthusiastically supports its partnerships.