Benefits of the 4-H Presentation Program

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

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“I have a dream today.” “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy were the speakers of these great words and both phrases have survived the test of time to be recognizable decades later.  While I cannot say where these great men got their start in public speaking, the potential exists for our next generation of great speakers to begin today with the 4-H Presentation Program.

Another quote I want to share with you comes from comedian Jerry Seinfeld:  “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”  While this makes fun of a real fear that many people have, it might be pretty close to the truth for a lot of us!  Participation in the 4-H Presentation Program can help youth to get over that fear at an early age and better prepare them for success in their future endeavors.

Participating in 4-H presentations provides youth with the opportunity to learn about speaking from the planning phase all the way through giving their speeches as a part of County, District, State, and even National competitions.  Presenting with allows youth to self select both the topic they want to speak about and the methods that they use to get their message(s) across.  In the past youth have done presentations about training their pets, community service, proper dental hygiene, braiding hair, baking and decorating cakes, building robots, and everything in between!

Consider these benefits of participating in the 4-H Presentation Program:

  • Building Confidence and Communication Skills
    • Both are vital to successful educational and professional careers.  Colleges and Employers look for well-rounded applicants, and having the ability to speak in front of a group helps with interviews in addition to giving “traditional” speeches.
    • Fame and Fortune
      • You might think I’m exaggerating, but this is a real possibility down the line!  There is an extensive list of celebrities, athletes, and lawmakers who were in 4-H as youth and credit their 4-H experience with helping them develop into successful adults.
      • Some fortune can come sooner rather than later in the form of scholarships to attend State and National 4-H Events or even for continuing education.  North Carolina 4-H awards nearly $60,000 in college scholarships each year to youth who have been active in 4-H programs.
      • FUN!
        • Again, youth can choose to speak on just about any topic from A to Z that most interests them and creativity is a plus. 

 

Contact Erin Bain for more information about the 4-H Presentation Program or 4-H in general at 257-3630, erin_bain@ncsu.edu, or visit http://warren.ces.ncsu.edu.

Posted on May 23, 2011
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