The IMPACT Youth Leadership program teaches youth the skills to understand their own leadership styles, how teams work and an understanding of how the group can perform more effectively. Youth are nominated by their school faculty and administration for their leadership potential and invited to a weekend retreat to kick-off the program. Cindy Cleveringa, 4-H Sioux County Youth Coordinator together with four Northwestern College education students - Anthony Wubben, Morgan Stahl, Kayla Johnson and Amanda Schuld -directed a series of challenges and sessions November 16 to 17 at the New Life Church in Sioux Center. The retreat incorporated a sequence of Challenge initiatives to identify and teach leadership, communication, trust and team building skills plus sessions teaching time management, goal setting, stress management, coping skills and more. These activities guided thirteen youth building one IMPACT team.
“I have seen first-hand the positive influence this weekend has upon young people seeing themselves as leaders and positive influences in their schools and communities. Through interactive learning, frank conversations, and loads of fun, youth are able to see themselves as influential contributors to the well-being of their local communities and schools,” Wade Weber, ISU Regional Youth Specialist.
Participants included: Zara Trigg, Samantha Vander Velde, Bryan Mouser and Patricia King, Sioux Center; Brooklyn Iverson, Levi Van Beek, Kaylee Johnson, Kassie Johnson, Rock Valley; Jared and Jason Stoll, Spalding; Cassie Van Es, MOC/Floyd Valley; Anna Walhof and Kade Krosschell, Orange City Christian School.
Moving forward, youth and adult mentors plan and implement a community service projectgiving youth the opportunity to see leadership in action; build relationships with caring adults and share ideas with adults who can make a difference. The mentors and students will attend area school board and city council meetings coined “Leadership in Action”. 2012-13 adult mentors Mitch Aalbers, Amber Jaworski and Barb Vermeer will lead youth identified projects: Pizza Ranch Tip Night - proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and clean area parks, ditches and trails.
Jolynn Oliver, Northwestern College, IMPACT involvement since 2005 testifies, “When the students actually work with area mentors/businesses to see their community improvement plans to completion, the greatest amount of learning happens. They find they can do it and do it well despite the perception of many that middle school students are not focused or committed.”
IMPACT Youth Leadership fits into the 4-H mission of “empowering youth to reach their full potential, working and learning with caring adults.” 4-H learning experiences are based on the principles and practices of positive youth development. Positive youth development views young people as vital resources with assets and potentials to be developed rather than as problems to be managed.
“I would recommend IMPACT to others. I now know my leadership type and how to deal with people who think differently than me. I know how to be a good leader,” Kassie Johnson, IMPACT Youth Leadership retreat participant.
Youth-driven 4-H experiences provide youth access to safe learning environments; challenging experiences that build skills, competencies, and resiliency to address life’s challenges and to actively contribute to society; and partnerships with caring adults to help meet youths’ basic needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and mastery. For more about 4-H positive youth development, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/services/pyd.