Cassill: 4-H communications projects empower young people

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It is the time of year when Clark County 4-H’ers are preparing their speeches and demonstrations for upcoming classroom and county contests in March and April.

These programs offer so much more to youth than just ribbons. They give young people the opportunity to develop important life skills and receive a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

Communications programs are a long-standing tradition of 4-H. As part of these programs, members are able to deliver a speech, presentation, give a banquet address, lead a community service project, demonstrate skills associated with project work or show a younger member how to do a project-related task. All of these help 4-H’ers master communications skills, become more independent, gain a sense of belonging and generously share their expertise while gaining future job skills. Senior 4-H’ers also have the opportunity to compete in mock job interviews.

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When young people learn the logical way to prepare a speech or present information, they develop organizational and critical-thinking skills. Competitive events give 4-H’ers the opportunity to practice what they have learned and receive positive, constructive suggestions to improve.

Delivering a speech or presentation develops self-confidence. These experiences help youth overcome the fear of speaking in public. 4-H members know that success is due to preparation and presentation skills.

People have the opportunity to bond with others when speaking with ease in front of large groups or a few individuals. The ability to speak in public can open many doors in terms of personal friendships and professional advancement as young people grow into adults.

By the middle of April, more than 900 Clark County youth will have presented a speech or demonstration or polished their skills during the mock interviews. Community members have the opportunity to share in this fantastic program by volunteering to serve as a speech judge. One hundred and twenty-five judging spots need to be filled in order for this program to be successful.

To learn how to become a 4-H speech judge or how to participate in the 4-H Communications program, call the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service at 744-4682.