Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: Preparing Youth for the Future

Extension Update from Megan Burda: Preparing Youth for the Future


Preparing Youth for the Future

Positive youth development is a growing area of research that has a purposeful approach to the development of youth by engaging youth in their communities, organizations, schools, families and peer groups. By engaging youth in their communities, schools, families and other areas of their lives youth are being given the resources to grow into healthy, strong individuals that have today’s skills for tomorrows jobs. Getting youth ready to be successful is part of 4-H programs in Nebraska.

Nebraska 4-H engages youth through 4-H programs and activities by building positive youth relationships between youth and adults and providing needed support for youth to develop their strengths. Through development of positive partnerships and development of strengths 4-H programs in Nebraska are developing the Five C’s of positive youth development. The C’s of positive youth development are: confidence, competence, connection, caring, and character. Development of these five skills is an integral part of the foundation for helping youth become successful adults.

The Ready by 21 project aims to do the same thing. Prepare youth for the future by ensuring they have the necessary skills to be successful in the future. As part of the Forum for Youth Investment, Ready by 21 has the focus of providing youth the support they need to be academically and vocationally productive, socially and civically connected, and safe. By being academically productive, Ready by 21 is working to see youth graduate from high school and encourage them towards post-secondary education and training. Being socially and civically connected as youth encourages the development of soft skills (social interaction skills, leadership skills, language, etc.) are connected to the evasion of risky behavior. Youth who are academically and vocationally productive, socially and civically connected, and safe are more ready to face the pressures of college, work and life events. (2016)

The readiness ability to face the pressures of life events comes from participation in positive youth development programs like 4-H. Youth who participate in 4-H are two times more likely to participate in science programs and make healthier choices and are four times more likely to impact their communities (2014, 4-H Annual Report). These abilities come from involvement in 4-H projects such as animal science, communication, conservation, photography, fiber arts, food and nutrition, leadership and citizenship, horticulture and crops, physical fitness, and many more. 4-H projects immerse youth into hands on learning environments where youth learn life skills and mindsets which enhance their readiness for the future. Life skills such as leadership, courage, self-discipline, goal setting, service learning, decision making and more transition in soft skills needed to overcome the pressures of college, work, and life events. Getting youth ready and prepared to be successful in the future is a challenging task. Using positive youth development programs and resources, like 4-H programs, makes it easier. Contact your local Extension office for more information on how you can contribute to the positive development of youth in your area!

This article comes from a series of resources developed by Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Nebraska4H or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nebraska4H.

For more information, contact the author—Julie Kreikemeier, Extension Educator in Colfax County.

Upcoming Events

Summer Workshops

Summer workshops are open to all youth. You do not need to be enrolled in 4-H to participate. Check out the workshop schedule and find registration info on our website at york.unl.edu.

Animals Inside & Out

Wednesday, June 15, 9 a.m. – Noon

York County 4-H Building, York

Fee: $20, includes all materials

Age: 10 and older

Come learn about exciting careers in Animal Science through fun hands-on lesson: Be a vet by learning about animals eyes through eyeball dissection! Be a meat scientist by simulating your own meat products and having a taste panel! Plus, learn the ways we can tell if our animals are healthy or sick and how to treat them at home! Limit 15 participants. Instructor: Ashley Benes

Pizza Pizzaz

Friday, June 17, 9:30 – 3:30 p.m.

York County 4-H Building, York

Fee: $15, includes all materials

Age: 8 and older

Youth will have a fun day preparing different types of pizza.  Come and learn about using various toppings and baking methods.  We will have pizza for lunch!  Participants need to have some prior baking experience.  Limited to 12 participants.

Instructor: Cami Wells



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