can your 4-H group do service learning?
Points of Light Foundation says there are eight basic
elements of service learning. Read over the descriptions
below; then take a look at the community service your
4-H group has done. Chances are, you're already doing
most of these things. Just add in the rest, and your community
service becomes something much more--a learning experience
for you, the volunteer!
read about the 4-H Service Learning Standard and
some "Best Practices" from across the
to download hand-outs defining
service learning and explaining the elements
of service learning.
to click on the links below to learn more about reflection,
and the benefits of service
VOICE and PLANNING
a little help from adults, there's nothing you as 4-H
youth can't do. You can plan projects, do the service,
evaluate the program, celebrate your efforts--everything!
As a leader, you learn more and you feel like you have
more of a say in the project. So, gather your ideas, find
some friends, an adult volunteer leader, and your 4-H
agent, and start planning!
NEED and VOICE
first step in your planning is to take a good look at
your community. Is there a nursing home or day care nearby?
Does the park have a lot of litter? Do the neighborhood
children have a playground? By looking at the world around
you, you can learn more about your community than you
ever thought you could. Now, what can you do to help?
you have picked your project, think about what you may
learn from doing it. Will you learn to work as a team
with your fellow 4-H'ers? Will you learn more about
a certain issue, such a homelessness or Alzheimer's?
Will you learn leadership skills, or maybe practice
some of the things you've been learning in your 4-H
project manual? Discuss with your adult leaders to decide
on a couple of things you want to focus on learning.
download tips and worksheets for writing learning objectives.
planned the project and recruited other volunteers. What
should they know about the service? Tell them about the
problem you're trying to solve and why you chose the project
you did. Teach them about where you're going to be serving
and the people they'll be meeting there. Then tell them
the other important things: date, time, place, transportation
details, and anything else you think they should know
to be prepared. Also, make sure the 4-H'ers' parents know
what's going on and that they have signed the 600a form.
day of service has arrived. What can you do to help things
go well? You can set goals for what you want to accomplish
that day. Make sure you have the supplies you need. Anticipate
barriers, such as bad weather or not enough volunteers.
Map out who's doing what job and who's working where.
And, always, expect the unexpected. If something goes
wrong, don't give up. Learn from it and keep going!
and after the actual service, think about why you're
doing what you're doing. Ask yourself: "What? So
what? Now what?" Why is the service important?
What have you learned from it? Has it taught you a new
skill or changed your attitude about something? And,
now that you've learned it, what are you going to do
with it? The great thing about reflection is that you
can do anything--writing,
talking, dancing, acting, whatever--that will
get you thinking about these things.
some creative ideas for reflection, click here.
with the definition of reflection, reflection ideas,
two worksheets for written reflection (the Debrief
Wheel and the KWL
Chart), and service
at your program to see what's working or not working
and how you can improve. You can do this any time, but
especially after you do the actual service. Talk to
the volunteers, the people you served, adult leaders,
and anyone else who was involved. See what they have
to say about your service learning project. You can
even plan, before the service, whom and what
you're going to ask after the service.
more information about planning your evaluation, click
and the other volunteers have worked hard, helped your
community, and learned something along the way. You
deserve a reward! It can be anything from a simple "thank
you" to a party. When possible, include the people
you have served. They'll want to thank you, too.
here to see some
celebration ideas from other 4-H groups.
why should you bother doing service learning? Click here
to find out the benefits of service!
Check out the resources
page for some useful tools for your service learning projects!
to Jr. High Academic Conference pulled
kudzu, which is a plant that is not native to Tennessee,
out of trees at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville.