One way to build the leaders around us is by engaging youth in youth-adult partnerships, especially in 4-H. Youth-adult partnerships initiate youth in the leadership of agricultural related organizations like fair boards, commodity associations, and Extension committees. This partnership trains both youth and adults to change traditional governance methods where youth are viewed as partners, not objects or recipients of programs. Through the partnership, youth are brought to the table and engaged in civic responsibility. Therefore, youth are empowered to address issues of critical concern to Escambia County and the state of Florida.
#1: 4-H Youth Serve as Role Models and Peer Educators
Peer education is perhaps the most widely recognized and accepted role for young activists. Kids listen to kids, therefore teenagers can be excellent teachers, credible messengers, and effective recruiters. Many believe the real benefit is that peer educators practice what they preach and avoid risky behaviors.
#2: 4-H Youth Influence Their Parents and Other Adults
Sons and daughters have influence on their elders. Persuading a relative to quit smoking or prodding a parent to register to vote are examples of the positive domino effect that children can have on grownups.
#3: 4-H Youth Diagnose Problems
Young people have firsthand knowledge about their school and community environment. Youth collaboration can collect data adults cannot, and can offer perspective to data analysis and planning.
#4: 4-H Youth Attract News Media Coverage
Students who write letters to the editor, pitch a story to a producer, and send out news releases have an advantage as a result. A sound bite by a teenager stands a better chance of being quoted in an article or over the airwaves than speeches by experts and other knowledgeable advocates.
#5. 4-H Youth Capture the Attention of Decision-Makers
Concerned young people, can motivate power brokers to take action and listen to the needs of youth.
#6. 4-H Youth Motivate Others
Certainly teaming up with young people can be frustrating but when it works, the benefits are stunning. Professionals, from teachers to CEOs who serve with young people on board of directors, frequently rave about how the meetings are more lively, the adults are more polite to one another, and there is a positive, energizing impact on politicians and other decision-making.
For more information on youth/adult partnerships, please visit http://www.escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/4-H/.