Last month I traveled to Billings, Montana where the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism was taking place. I was invited to facilitate a pre-conference workshop on the 4-H Thriving Model with 4-H Volunteer Specialists from around the country. After a whirlwind morning where I left home at 3:30am to catch a first-of-the-morning flight to Salt Lake City, and then on to Billings, I arrived at lunch time and was ready to go by 1pm. I was excited to get to spend the afternoon with the group of people who will lead the way in preparing 4-H volunteers to help youth thrive.
Since many of the people who would be there had never heard of the 4-H Thriving Model, I knew I wanted to spend a good portion of the time we had together making sure everyone understood the model and how it describes how 4-H works its magic with youth. Doing so would take a good portion of the afternoon, but it also meant that everyone would be on the same page and ready to move forward together.
While I always enjoy sharing the 4-H Thriving Model with others, I was most looking forward to the second half of the session, because, let’s face it, I had a captive audience of creative and experienced professionals who could develop wonderful learning activities to teach the 4-H Thriving Model to 4-H volunteers! So later in the day the group split into smaller teams and tackled how they would teach some of the 4-H Thriving Model concepts to volunteers. I walked away with a whole stack of creative, quick, and fun ideas for teaching volunteers! And, with the gracious A-OKAY from the volunteer specialists, I get to share them here on Practitioner Tip Tuesdays!
So, let’s start with this idea on how to introduce Developmental Relationships:
Don’t Be Puzzled by Developmental Relationships
This activity is useful for teaching in groups of 10 or more, but can be adapted for smaller groups.
- Create a large jigsaw puzzle of card stock or other heavy paper that has five pieces.
- Write one of the five components that make up Developmental Relationships on each piece: Expressing Care, Challenging Growth, Providing Support, Sharing Power, and Expanding Possibilities
- Break into five groups
- Give each group one of the puzzle pieces and ask them to share a personal experience of the concept. For example “when was a time that you felt supported by an adult when you were young” or “did you ever have an adult in your life who challenged you to grow?”
- After the groups have had time for discussion give each group a copy of the Fostering Developmental Relationships Handout and ask the group to read the handout, focusing on the component their group discussed.
- Ask groups to discuss how they could foster their component when working with youth.
- Put the jigsaw together by asking each group in turn to share one of their personal experiences and their ideas for how they can use the idea when working with 4-H youth.
- Finish by pointing out that all five components are important to make the “whole” of a developmental relationship with youth.
Thanks to the following 4-H professionals for this wonderful activity:
Chris Mullens, Kansas; Shane Potter, Kansas; Pat McGlaughlin, Illinois; and Cathy Johnston, Nebraska