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teen life skills boot camp banner

Teen Life Skills: Not Your Typical Boot Camp

This summer 4-H tested out a brand new day camp designed just for older youth – Teen Life Skills Boot Camp. This boot camp was designed as a three-day crash course in “adulting”. Based on a needs assessment of both teens and parents of teens, 4-H filled each day of camp with practical life skills that youth aren’t learning anywhere else.

On day one, our youth tried their hand at time management by figuring out where their time is really going every day and how they can prioritize to be more efficient. They also learned about sodium and made their own spice packets for ramen noodles. The highlight of the day was our afternoon Reality Fair, where Vystar representatives gave each youth a job, income, and family situation. Based on these factors, youth had to budget for their families’ housing, child care, transportation, groceries, utilities, and more.

Participating in the Reality Fair

Day two started with yoga and included a focus on healthy lifestyles both physically (do you know how much sugar is really in those sodas you’re drinking?!) and mentally by learning to cope with stress and anger. Youth also practiced career building skills including how to properly complete a job application and how to interview for a job. Each youth practiced interviewing and received feedback from adults and their peers.

Checking the oil and learning about what’s under the hood of your vehicle

Our last day focused on car maintenance and first aid. Youth changed tires and checked the tire pressure and oil in a vehicle. They also got behind the wheel and learned the different warning symbols and safety features inside a vehicle (with the vehicle off of course!). Car maintenance turned out to be everyone’s favorite activity and resulted in many greasy high fives being shared. To finish off the week, youth packed their own first aid/emergency kits and learned hands-only CPR.

Modeling our emergency rain ponchos

Three days is certainly not enough time to learn everything you need to know about how to be a responsible adult (and let’s be honest most of us over the age of 18 are still figuring it out), but these youth are certainly better prepared after their boot camp experience! Over 75% of youth who participated reported greater levels of confidence when performing essential life skills including time management, applying and interviewing for a job, maintaining a vehicle, performing CPR, and bandaging a cut!

Do you want the chance to participate in boot camp? It’s coming!! Agents are already planning for next year’s program which will have many new skills included!

If you have a skill you think we need to add for next year, please email me (krpoppell@ufl.edu) so we can put it on the list.