4-H grows communication skills

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By Roberta Hunt

A communications program is a long-standing tradition in all 4-H programs. As part of a communication program, 4-H members deliver a speech at an event, 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.

Participation in talk meets and demonstration contests helps a 4-Her master communications skills and become more independent.

Youth develop organizational skills by learning the logical way to prepare a speech or present information through a demonstration. Competitive events give them the opportunity to practice what they have learned and receive positive, constructive suggestions to improve. The organizational process also improves critical thinking skills.   

Standing up and delivering a speech or presentation fosters independence and confidence in youth. These experiences help overcome the fear of speaking in public. Members know that success is due to their preparation and presentation skills.

Speaking in front of a large group or only a few individuals with ease gives a sense of belonging and the opportunity to bond with other youths and adults. Many doors are opened in terms of personal friendships and professional advancement.

Washington County 4-H has a rich tradition in helping students gain communication skills through the 4-H Talk Meet program. Over the next several weeks, students will be receiving information on the 2013 program and dates will be set at schools for their talk seet. 4-H members that have the top presentations on the school level will advance to the county-wide 4-H talk meet that will be held later in the spring around the first week in May.  Top presenters from the county-wide event will have the opportunity to advance to district and perhaps the state wide level.

Another way that youth can use the communication skills they develop is through service learning projects. The Washington County High School 4-H Teen Club will be holding their Valentine Reach Out program at Sansbury Infirmary on Feb. 4. Intergenerational programming has long been a way that 4-H has given back to the community.  

When youths master skills, gain independence and develop a sense of belonging, they want to share these achievements. Generosity such as through service projects is an innate part of all aspects of the 4-H Youth Development program.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.