Youth Plan & Organize Service Learning Week

Practicing independence, making decisions, working as a team, and serving the community are reasons why the New Horizons experience is an important component of 4-H. This service learning leadership experience took place for one week in South Carolina, with seven teens and two adult chaperones. The group held planning meetings from December to June to develop this year’s program. Youth plan the destination to travel to, secure lodging, select cultural activities and service projects, plan and carry out fundraising, and set the schedule. At the planning meetings youth take turns creating agendas, facilitating the meetings, taking notes, and leading a teambuilding activity. During the week of the experience youth serve as a leader of the day with specific daily duties and lead a daily topic of learning to help everyone be more familiar with the places to be visited.  Each youth presents “Increasing Our Understanding,” an activity they teach to all other participants related to the history or culture of the places to visit. This year it included museums, a plantation, and Fort Sumter (where the first shots of the Civil War were fired). Service projects were done at the food bank, an orphanage, Goodwill, and they planted trees at Charles Towne historic site. Each evening included a personal reflection activity of what was experienced, learned, or how participants felt about that day’s program. Through the planning, traveling, teaching, and leading 4-H youth are developing self-confidence, communication, and planning and organizing skills.

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