Bridging Business with 4-H
Young people go through a lot while growing up, and those experiences need to be
positive so they can be prepared for adulthood. University of Illinois Extension and
Illinois 4-H honors emerging research in youth and adolescent development that
indicates the need for eight “critical elements” in youth development programs to ensure
positive outcomes for participants. One of the elements that needs to be provided is:
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-DETERMINATION
Youth need to feel they have control in their lives—that they can make
some personal decisions. Young people can practice self-determination by
making choices based on individual likes and dislikes, interests, and skills.
Encouraging youth to try new things and experiment with new projects or
subjects strengthens their autonomy and sense of control.
Here’s what business employees can do to help:
Teach a workshop at a 4-H meeting where 4-H members
can choose what they do, say, or use to complete the
Involve your co-workers to offer a variety of learning
experiences for 4-H members—let the members choose in
which ones they participate.
Explain to 4-H after-school program participants how your
likes and dislikes, interests, and skills influence your job and
Share your personal hobbies with a 4-H group.
Arrange for your place of employment to adopt a 4-H club
pairing each employee with a 4-H member based on mutual
interest in learning about a specific 4-H project.
Why provide opportunities for self-determination? For youth to
develop a sense of who they are, they need opportunities for independent thinking and
taking on personal responsibility. They need opportunities to experiment with different
choices, evaluate what happens because of them, and consequently learn to improve
the quality of their decisions. They can be resources for themselves and for others too!
Want to find out more? Contact your local county Extension office to get
involved with 4-H today!
Authors Christine Hill (Extension Unit Educator, Youth Development, Gallatin/Pope-Hardin/Saline Unit)
Steve Wagoner (Extension Educator, Youth Development, Edwardsville Center)
Eric Werge (Extension Educator, Youth Development, Chicago Center) 2005
University of Illinois U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Local Extension Councils Cooperating
University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.