When you are passionate about something, you care more about it and it helps you to thrive in everyday life. SPARKS are things in life that young people are passionate about and will help them to see potential in themselves. Their SPARK may be a skill or talent, a special interest, or an ability that comes from within and gives them joy. SPARKS do just that, they spark inner passions, interests, and talents of youth that inspire them on a path of thriving. This path of thriving can give them a sense of purpose and can encourage them to set and achieve their goals.
4-H volunteers are able to partner with youth in the spark process by encouraging them find and ignite their spark. You can do this by encouraging them and providing them with opportunities to express themselves and their spark. You can help them in a variety of ways:
-teach them skills
-supporting their passion (attend their events)
Not only can you support them in what they do, but you can provide constructive feedback and push them to step outside of their comfort zone by going beyond their 4-H project and allowing them to explore their interests with an emphasis on “learning by doing.”
As you can see in the thriving model, sparks are at the center of the model. As a team, we are working to take youth one step further by helping them find a passion rather than just a pastime. Youth engagement in this model can create both developmental outcomes you can witness now as well as long-term outcomes that will be obvious in the future.
Take a look at this video to see how 4-H grew a spark for this youth member!