Success Story4-H Teen Summit



4-H Teen Summit

Author: Catherine Webster

Planning Unit: Simpson County CES

Major Program: Leadership

Plan of Work: Leadership & Volunteerism

Outcome: Initial Outcome

Middle school is a crucial period for youth development, marked by significant physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes. Fostering leadership skills in middle school students is essential for preparing them for future challenges and responsibilities. Engaging them through interactive and enjoyable activities not only makes learning fun but also instills vital qualities such as communication, teamwork, and decision-making. 

At this age, youth encounter numerous physical, cognitive, language, and social/emotional milestones. Middle schoolers begin to build resilience as they navigate academic pressures, social changes, and personal growth. It is vital that they feel supported by a network of family, friends, teachers, and mentors. Trust in this support system is foundational and enables middle schoolers to reach and surpass these milestones as they continue to develop. 

The Kentucky 4-H Summit stands out as a premier leadership opportunity for middle school-aged youth. This program offers a platform for young individuals to network with peers, fostering relationships and building a supportive community. Participants learn essential leadership techniques and strategies, equipping them to lead and influence others effectively. 

Our leadership board members lead by example, guiding teams of middle school youth throughout the weekend. Summit participants are encouraged to interact with their team leaders, aiming to build relationships, foster a sense of belonging, and ignite a spark for leadership. Through workshops, activities, and interactive sessions, participants master new skills, empowering them to take on leadership roles confidently. These Team leaders lead their groups in a leadership lesson designed by the State Teen Council members. This lesson gave participants the opportunity to reflect on what the four H’s mean and their significance to the 4-H journey. This lesson not only provided an opportunity for the middle school participants to share their meaning of the H’s but also allowed conversations between all in their team. This opportunity cultivated an environment of trust and opened the door for friendships to build.  

The 2024 Kentucky 4-H Summit took place in March at two locations: the West Kentucky 4-H Camp and the Lake Cumberland 4-H Camp. This year, a total of 413 youth and adults attended the conference. 

An evaluation was provided to all attendees, with 90% of youth completing the survey. Among the youth, 65% indicated that they attended the 4-H Summit to spend time with friends, while 67% wanted to attend to meet new people. 

The workshops, which provided three hours of instruction, were highlighted as the greatest area of knowledge gained. Additionally, youth had the opportunity to participate in a service project during the conference, with 38% of them finding this to be the most enjoyable activity.  

Overall, the 2024 Kentucky 4-H Summit was a successful event, providing valuable experiences and learning opportunities for all participants. This year 61% of the participants were first year attendees, with an even representation for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, that helps ensure a diverse and engaging experience for all. 

In 2023 - 2024 Simpson County had a total of five youth attend Teen Summit. The 4-H Agent served on the Teen Summit planning committee and led activities at the 2024 summit held at West KY 4-H Camp.






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