by Cheryl Senn
More than 50 officers, from 14 of the 20 Fresno County 4-H Clubs, participated in the recent Fresno County Leadership Training event, which was held at Sutter Middle School, in Fowler.
The annual training is offered to ensure that the newly elected 4-H officers know what is expected of them and for them to become familiar with their duties and responsibilities. The training also provides knowledge of every office, so the new board of officers can work together as a team.
Kylie Colvard, Tristan Rollin, Aubrey Furakawa, Samantha Golden and Kristy Pahel were the five 4-H All-Stars who organized and led the days training and activities with a social networking theme. “This is the first year the training had a theme…the social networking aspect is new,” said Melanie Curtis, 4-H Program Coordinator for Fresno County.
Drew Sallee and Annie Anderson, CSUF Ag Ambassadors, led the officers in team building activities. The morning began with an icebreaker activity, which made it possible for the 4-H officers to get to know one another. “We all have something in common, so there is no reason why we can’t all get along,” said Golden.
The training sessions also had Junior and Teen Leader classes along with Adult Volunteer classes. And Thrive-Master Trainers provided training in the Thrive Development Curriculum.
Throughout the day, there were office specific training and group team-building activities. Offices like president, vice-president, secretary, and media reporter were covered. Group activities, like building a car out of a small bag of supplies in 15 minutes, strengthened planning and organizational skills.
‘Community Service’ and ‘How to Be An All-Star’ were additional topics covered in a classroom setting. Individual clubs host their own community service projects throughout the year, and then there are county-wide projects, like the Million Pillowcase Project, which all clubs participate in. “Any opportunity that comes our way, that we are asked to be a part of, we always do and we’ve always done,” said Curtis.
During the training, officers took a break for lunch, and were able to meet officers from different clubs from throughout the area.
The All-Stars held a mock meeting, to demonstrate how a proper meeting should be conducted, as the day of training came to a conclusion.
Curtis said clubs are in the middle of membership enrollment, and so far, membership numbers look good. She also stated that there are many benefits to attending events like this for any member, regardless of age and stage in their 4-H career. “This is a tangible example that kids can really do this. You don’t have to be an adult to run a club meeting. You don’t have to be an adult to plan an event. Kids can do this.”
The goals of 4-H are to be a community of young people learning citizenship, leadership and life skill development. “That’s where our focus is,” said Curtis.
Young members benefit from the training because the training shows them how to run a meeting and how to chair a committee.
“If you go to a 4-H club meeting and its functioning the way a 4-H club should …it’s the kids running the show. It’s not like something changes magically within you when you turn 18–now all the sudden your leadership switch goes on. It’s there and you just have to learn how to access it and that’s the point of days like this.”
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