I’ve heard it many times- “those kids today…they just don’t want to do a public speaking contest. We are dealing with different times.”
And on some levels I can completely agree. Do we always need to stay in front of changing trends? YES! Do we always need to question why we do the things we do? YES!
But on the other hand I think…When I was 8 years old (and that’s been more than a few years ago) I didn’t want to give a speech either. That’s the last thing I would have chosen for myself. However, I didn’t choose; my mother did. Further, my own child didn’t choose to present a Cloverbuds demonstration on Transformers last year. I told him he was going to present. And it was important enough to me that he have a positive experience that he got a new Optimus Prime out of the deal (call it bribery if you will, but it worked).
And so therein lies the importance of parent education. My mother supported, encouraged, and in the early days mandated my participation in public speaking events because I was learning a skill set she deemed valuable.
How are you educating your parents and supporting them with helping their children? Have you considered:
- Do they know that County Events is something “4-H members do.” It is expected (not mandated) that all 4-H members participate in County Events because that is where they showcase what they have learned in their projects.
- Have you shared with them the date of County Events from the beginning of the year? Was it on the county 4-H calendar you handed out September 1st?
- Have you considered parent-child workshops to help 4-H members select topics, understand competition rules, etc.?
- Do you share tools that 4-H families can view at their leisure? Links to YouTube videos? How about: Do a Visual Presentation
- Have you considered incentivizing the process? Perhaps mini-scholarships to 4-H camp, or a special end of the year experience for those who participate in District 4-H Events.
- Do you make your 4-H County Events public? Often we host our events at the local office, or a school. How can you open up your Events to showcase what your 4-H members are doing to other potential families? Having an open to the public “4-H Talent Night” (perhaps charging donations as admission at the door) which includes a celebrity adult division? How about showcasing the photo and graphic design entries of your 4-H members at the local library or other community location?
- How do you make sure 4-H members and parents understand that County Events is a “RBD” (Really Big Deal)? Is it something you refer to often? How do you help them understand how what they are doing the rest of the 4-H year connects?
These are just my thoughts and questions, and I’m sure you have a lot of others. If you good ideas to share with your colleagues be sure to include them in the comment section below.