- Author: Curtis Ullerich
The California 4-H Youth Summits are three-day leadership conferences held at four locations throughout the state. They are designed to grow the leadership abilities of intermediate 4-H members (ages 11-13) and give hands-on leadership opportunities to senior 4-H members (ages 14+). Details and registration are on the 4-H Youth Summit event site.
Tell me about the Youth Summit. What kinds of things will participants do and learn?
Raedyn: It's an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your passions. Thinking about that now can give you a leg up once you get to high school.
Casey: We'll have hikes, workshops with different guest speakers, sessions to learn leadership skills and ways of finding your passion.
Raedyn: They'll learn about communication, teamwork, the six Cs--
Curtis: --the sixties?
Casey: no, the six C's!
(The six C's are Competence, Confidence, Character, Caring, Connection, and Contribution.)
The theme for the Youth Summits this year is "ripples of today, waves of tomorrow." Tell me about that.
Raedyn: They'll learn how to advocate for themselves and the things they're passionate about. It'll help kids discover and delve into what they're excited about learning.
What'll they learn about advocacy?
Raedyn: They'll learn about understanding issues in the grand scheme of things but also on a personal level, so they can take it into their communities now or in the future. I know as a middle schooler you feel kinda like, with all these big issues "oh my gosh, well, I have to wait until I'm older to do something about that", but the thing is, they don't really have to wait. They can find ways to do things in their community to help out right now. I think that's important; that's one of the things we talk about in the planning meetings is making sure to keep it Big and Local.
Curtis: how do you keep something both big and local?
Raedyn: You talk about the big issue: This is what's going on overall, and these are some things you can do to help.
Curtis: Ah, so saying that you can make a difference without solving the whole problem.
What's the atmosphere at the Youth Summit going to be like?
Casey: It'll be a balance of learning and fun, like camp. There'll be times when you're listening and taking in information and there are times that are more interactive and doing things with others outside.
Raedyn: It's gonna have more variety than other leadership conferences because you'll have choices about which workshops to do. That ties into the fact that they're gonna be finding their passion, so if they find something that interests them they can do that instead of other courses that they might not enjoy as much.
The planning team is mostly 4-H youth. How does that impact what the event will be like?
Raedyn: It's fun planning a whole conference from the ground up. I've never done something that big. That seems pretty cool to me.
Casey: We're working with staff and adults from the Management Board. We get to choose what we focus on. We know what 4-H events are like and what we would want to do at a conference, so we try to keep it fun and learn about the things that are important to us.
I hear there's a session called the Leadership Lab. What's that going to be like?
Raedyn: It's a longer activity, more hands-on. It uses teamwork and gives everyone a chance to practice a leadership skill that's important to them. It's going to be very hands-on and engaging. We're trying to live up to last year, because the surveys were like "we love the leadership lab!" so we've gotta live up to that.
You can also attend the Youth Summit if you are 14 or older. What will their experience be like?
Casey: They're called facilitators, which is a lot like staff at other events. You attend, but you are helping out.
Raedyn: They'll make sure kids are on task, help them with activities. We'll assign some to be cabin heads, have them do head counts and stuff during breakfast, make sure everyone has eaten. We need people to help us execute what we're planning.
If I'm thinking about going but don't know someone else who's attending should I still sign up?
Raedyn: Along with educational sessions we're also gonna have recreation time and time for kids to socialize. They can make important connections by coming because they'll meet kids from all over the area.
Casey: Even if you don't know someone who's going you'll still meet people and make connections.
Raedyn: We're trying our best to make it a welcoming environment for everyone to meet new people.
More information about each summit is on the 4-H Youth Summit Event site.