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4-H Junior Leaders

January 16, 2020
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Welcome to 4-H Junior Leaders! 


What is a Leader?

Leadership is the ability to motivate, inspire, and create an environment for each individual to pro-actively participate in family, community and citizenship affairs for the betterment of the family, community and world. Leadership skills can be learned and developed by anyone. Leaders use their personal knowledge, skills and influence to establish relationships with people and help others meet their goals.

YOU can be a leader if you have the desire, willpower and the urge to develop the qualities and abilities that make a good leader. Leaders need to understand varieties of leadership styles, skills and qualities and know in which situations to use them. Ideal leaders are able to lead and teach leadership at the same time. Leaders become effective by modeling the skills and characteristics they seek to pass on to others. They acquire trust by being a person of good character and they achieve power by empowering others. You can lead with ideas; you can acquire the goodwill of your group because of your thoughtfulness, your poise and your good planning.

Leadership is in art that is always under construction. No leader is perfect, but every leader can perfect their skills. Deciding to become a Junior Leader in 4-H means looking at your involvement in your club and community and changing the way you participate by kicking it up a notch!

 So What Exactly is the Purpose of Junior Leaders?

The RESPONSIBILITY of leadership, the CHALLENGE of assisting others, and the OPPORTUNITY to expand your personal experiences best sums up the objectives of the Junior Leader project.

The LaPorte County 4-H Junior Leader project is currently the only opportunity to serve as a leader at the COUNTY level. Many 4-H members serve as leaders in their LOCAL 4-H clubs, but not many get to experience leadership at the county level. This manual is to help you in recognizing the responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities that will appear throughout the program. It is designed to help you in fulfilling the objectives of the Junior Leader program.

As a 4-H Junior Leader, you will be able to:

What is a Junior Leader and what do they do?

For the purpose of using the 4-H Junior Leader materials, a 4-H Junior Leader will be defined as a young person who is:

4-H Junior Leaders are interested in developing and practicing his or her leadership skills. Teens can become a 4-H Junior Leader in two general ways: by developing their personal leadership skills and/or by completing a 4-H leadership project. Teens can develop their leadership skills in lots of ways and places.

They can attend regional events like Area X Jr. Leader workshops and the LaPorte-Porter County 4-H Camp as a Camp Counselor, state events like Jr. Leader Conference or 4-H Congress, and national events such as 4-H Congress or Citizenship Washington Focus.

Most importantly, Jr. Leaders can personally develop leadership skills in their community and club by putting what they have learned into action. 4-H Jr. Leaders take the time and commitment to develop leadership skills.

Commonly, Junior Leaders take on more responsibility in their club, work closely with adults and 4-H staff, serve on committees or councils, and/or help younger 4-Hers in their project area. At the most basic level, Jr. Leaders are expected to regularly attend club meetings, reflect upon their experiences with the 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio, assist younger 4-Hers and assist club leaders with meetings. Through Jr. Leaders, you will be able to gain practical skills by achieving set goals you have defined.

Okay, Okay, but what are the Expectations?

We’re glad you asked! While the 4-H Junior Leader project is meant to be a fun and exciting opportunity for you to meet new friends and get involved, there are some expectations and requirements to be a Jr. Leader in Good Standing.  The following requirements must be fulfilled to be eligible to complete the Bronze Leadership level:

Silver Leadership level requirements:

Gold Leadership level requirements:

 While these are the specific requirements to fulfill the Jr. Leader project. Here are the general expectations of the 4-H Jr. Leader program:

 What’s with the Leadership Levels?

The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Leadership levels represent our incentive program. Each level has different requirements and awards. It is an honor to be a part of the Junior Leader program. We understand everyone has their own circumstances when it comes to participation. In an effort to increase active participation and make sure you are getting the most from your experience, the following incentives are as follows:

 Bronze Leadership- You will gain valuable leadership skills that will prepare you for the future. You will also meet new friends and experience personal growth. You’ll have fun and gain a sense of accomplishment! You will receive a 4-H Teen Leader pin and Certificate of Completion.

Silver Leadership- Along with everything mentioned in the Bronze level, you went beyond the basic requirements of the project. You will receive an embroidered La Porte County 4-H Jr. Leader hat and Certificate of Completion.

Gold Leadership- Congratulations! You reached the ultimate goal and received the most out of your 4-H Jr. Leader experience by Carpe Diem! You will receive an embroidered 4-H soft-shell jacket with “La Porte County 4-H Junior Leaders” embroidered on the back with a 4-H clover, name on the front, and the IN flag. Additionally, you’ll receive the “Lamp of Knowledge” project pin.

4-H Junior Leaders Work With:

All this talk about Leadership, and I don’t even know what makes a good leader. Can You Tell Me What Makes a Good Leader?

We’re glad you asked! Everyone has his or her own definition of leadership.  There is not any one quality or trait that makes leaders great. However, all leaders possess similar qualities needed to be strong leaders. Strong leaders generally are:

Great leaders are not born overnight. Leadership consists of many multiple life skills perfected over time. Anyone can be a leader in different aspects of life, however, great leaders are a work of art constantly changing and adapting to their situations and surroundings.

Junior Leaders can help give you the skills to paint your masterpiece. In order to help you keep track of everything you will do or have done in the Junior Leader program, you will be expected to keep a Junior Leader Portfolio.

Say What?! I Have to Create a Junior Leader Portfolio? Why?

The 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio is a way to keep track of all the work completed as a Junior Leader. The structure of the 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio is designed to help you develop skills you will use in your future, such as completing a resume and an interview. At the end of your commitment to the Junior Leader program, you will be able to take away a complete record of what kinds of things you have done and precisely how you have contributed to 4-H! The 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio can be made into an “organized scrapbook” and you are encouraged to include photos, newspaper clippings and other personalized information. *It is strongly recommended that all documents in the 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio be typed and that they look as professional as possible.*

If you have been a Junior Leader in previous years complete a new cover page, activity chart and reflection guide for each new year of leadership and keep together all materials from previous years. As 4-H Junior Leader will also create one 4-H Junior Leader Resume that compiles information from all years completed as a Junior Leader. You should add any previous records up to the current year. As a result, when service as a 4-H Junior Leader is complete, each of you will have a history and representation of all the learning, work and hours you have accomplished through 4-H. The 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio is something you can be proud of: a unique representation of you and your commitment to 4-H!

The 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio includes two major components:

  1. The Junior Leader Reflection Guide: Steps 1–3:  The Junior Leader Reflection Guide helps you develop leadership skills through journaling and discussion with your 4-H advisors.. You will explore the meaning of leadership and your leadership The Junior Leader Reflection Guide also helps you set and follow through with their goals for Junior Leaders. You will complete the Reflection Guide in three steps, at each step, meeting with your 4-H Junior Leader Advisors to discuss the reflection and progress. At the end of the discussion, you and your advisor can make changes or suggestions to the plan, and sign the bottom of the page when finished.
    • Step 1, “My 4-H Junior Leader Plan” allows you to explore the meaning of leadership and the role of people you know as leaders in their own You should reflect on what they would like to accomplish over the 4-H year as a Junior Leader.
      • About mid-way into the 4-H year, teens can start to complete Step 2. “My 4-H Junior Leader Progress” is a time for Junior Leaders to reflect upon and assess their work so far. 4-H Junior Leaders look at the goals they first set, and decide what further action needs to be taken to complete those
      • Step 3, “My Junior Leader Perspective” is completed at the end of the 4-H year. Teens reflect upon what they have learned through developing leadership skills and what they would like to accomplish in the Teens also evaluate the completion of their goals as Junior Leaders, and get final feedback from their advisors about how to be more effective in accomplishing future goals.
  1. The Junior Leader Resume: The Junior Leader Resume Template is an opportunity for teens to learn more about how to write a resume and how to keep track of their accomplishments as 4-H Junior Leaders. You will use the template provided and add in your personal You will complete one resume, adding additional information over any multiple years you have served as 4-H Junior Leaders. You can consult your 4-H Junior Leader Advisor to get help with the resume, and to have your resume critiqued when complete.

Together, the 4-H Junior Leader Portfolio includes a cover page, 4-H Junior Leader Activity Chart, the Junior Leader Reflection Guide: Steps 1-3 and the Junior Leader Resume Template. These can be found in the Related Files section below.


Okay, I think I am getting it. Can you tell me about Community Service? How can I make sure it is a Meaningful Service Activity with my club?

Community Service Defined

It is important to share kindness, but even more important to understand why youth or adults are sharing kindness. To help youth understand the difference between volunteerism, community service, service-learning and advocacy, here is a helpful guide adapted from University of Tennessee Cooperative Extension. It is encouraged that all leaders, parents, and adults also read and go over this with the youth in their clubs.

Service-learning is….

According to the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, service-learning is a method whereby participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that:

In short, service-learning is community service that teaches volunteers about themselves and the world around them.

Service-learning is NOT the same as…

Types of Service:

Elements of Service-learning

Youth Voice and Planning

Listening to and engaging youth in the service-learning process provides more ownership and greater learning opportunities for the young people.

Community Need and Voice

Service-learning projects should meet real community needs. To truly solve problems and provide authentic learning opportunities for youth, actively engage the community in identifying needs. For example, host a mini-community forum and invite community stakeholders to attend. Contact local officials and government for issues they feel need to be addressed in the community.

 Learning Objectives

Youth should understand what they are expected to learn through their service. Outline objectives of what youth will learn on a personal, social, and intellectual level.

 Orientation and Training

Provide effective service and maximize the learning experience, youth must understand all aspects of the project: issues, organization, expectations, atmosphere of service site, date and time, personalities of beneficiaries, legalities, skills for any equipment they may use, what could go wrong, etc.

 Meaningful Service

A successful service experience requires thorough planning of goals, resources, supervision, transportation, logistics, and risk management.


Youth should employ critical thinking skills to examine the service experience. This proves helps youth to grow on a personal, social, and intellectual level.


Throughout the service experience, youth and adults should analyze the process (what was done) and the impact (result) of the service.

 Celebration and Recognition

Youth should always be recognized and celebrated for providing valuable service to the community. Celebration can bring closure to the project and reinforces the value of the young people’s connection to what they accomplished.

 What doesn’t count as any type of service?

The following should not be advertised to 4-H members as community service:

This guide only briefly describes the differences between different types of service. The key to remember for any service project or activity is to ask these questions:

If you cannot answer these questions, you should not do the activity as it is more than likely not service-learning or meaningful service. You must understand the ‘WHY’ before you can learn from giving to others.

What is Your Definition of Service?

People define service in many different ways. To help get your team or club “on the same page,” here is a list of some examples of service. Study the list carefully. Rank the list from 1-14. Place a “1” next to the action that most closely represents your personal philosophy of what Service-Learning is. Place “2’ next to the action that is the second closest to your philosophy of service, etc.

 Go over everyone’s answers and discuss as a group.

____ Joining the armed forces.

____ Providing a dinner once a week at a homeless shelter

____ Talking with a friend.

____ Chaining yourself to an old growth tree as long as you can, so loggers will not take it.

____ Leaving your car and biking to work or school every day.

____ Giving $50 to the United Way.

____ Walking a frail person across a busy street.

____ Giving blood.

____ Tutoring a person that cannot read.

____ Adopting an eight-year old boy.

____ Picking up trash in the neighborhood.

____ Hawaiian youth teaching tourists to say, “Mahalo.”

____ Working as a legislative aide.

____ Donating canned goods to the local food drive


Good Examples of 4-H Community Service 

Examples of Non-Meaningful vs. Meaningful Community Service

 Community service should impact you just as much as it impacts the community. Visit University of Nebraska-Lincoln's 366 Community Service Ideas: http://lancaster.unl.edu/4h/serviceideas.shtml for more ways to volunteer. When choosing a community service activity, use the questions below to help direct your decision. These questions will also help you determine what you learned from the community service activity or 4-H event.

Reflecting on Your 4-H Experiences

Remember, developing your leadership skills happens over a lifetime, but begins NOW. You have the power to be the leader you want to be. Failure that taught you a lesson should be celebrated. All leaders have suffered failure before, it’s how they react from the failure that makes all the difference. We only grow when we step outside our comfort zones and open our minds to new experiences and learning.  Great leadership is dependent on the drive to serve others, solve problems, work as team, and reflect on experiences.

Interstate 4-H Exchange

We are looking for Junior Leaders interested in an exciting new opportunity. Looking for something fun and exhilarating this summer? Join the LaPorte Co. Interstate 4-H Exchange! We currently have Junior Leaders participating in an Exchange with 4-Hers from Murray County, MN. Last summer, LaPorte County youth and one Porter Co. 4-H member traveled to MN. Participants stayed with host families for a week and learned all about the area and Minnesota 4-H. On June 7-13th, we will host our Minnesota 4-H friends and show them everything we love about Northwest Indiana! This is a great way to travel at low-cost, explore the United States, and meet friends through 4-H! Similar to international exchange programs, we visit a host site then trade roles the following year and host them! In Fall 2020, we will pick a new place to explore for a 2021/2022 exchange!


Contact your Junior Leader Advisors:

MJ Moncheski- 219.324.9407 or mmonches@purdue.edu

Holly Keller- 219-380-8707 hkeller6@comcast.net


Junior Leader Website: http://bit.ly/LPJuniorLeaders


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