PHOTOS: Youth learn life skills through 4-H tour

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Youth development is a process of mental, physical, social and emotional growth during which young people prepare to live a productive and satisfying life within the customs and regulations of their society. Life skills are abilities individuals can learn that will help them to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life.

In August 2017, St. Croix County took 31 youth on an out-of-county adventure: the 4-H WI Tour. But before the fun could begin, a volunteer group of youth and adult leaders spent six months planning the trip. This planning included everything from logistics to educational activities. The three-day, two-night experience designed for youth in fifth through eighth grades had the following objectives:

• Increase knowledge and understanding of Wisconsin history and culture.

• Build awareness of state problems and concerns.

• Further develop skills in leadership and personal expression of values.

• Increase awareness of self in relationship to others.

• Share what was learned with others in your club and county.

The committee also added high school-aged youth counselors. The counselors' role included assisting with the mandatory orientation, planning and teaching bus activities, leading and monitoring the youth during the trip, and serving as a good role model. In addition, the counselors each had a 20-30 minute "teachable moment," where they were the teacher and tour guide for a location or topic.

All youth participated in a daily reflection where they could express their thoughts, achievements, concerns and questions.

During the trip to Green Bay, youth had the opportunity to visit Heritage Hill State Park, take a tour of the famous Green Bay Packers stadium, discover the Neville Public Museum, test their thrill level at Bay Beach Amusement Park, and discover our natural environment at the Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. In addition, we joined Brown County 4-Hers to work on a service learning project.

Youth were able to challenge themselves, meet new friends, and learn about Wisconsin. It was a truly an awesome experience. The youth had a wonderful time, and plans are already in the works for a new location next year!

To find out more information about St. Croix County 4-H or youth development opportunities, contact the UW-Extension Office.