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Youth attend leadership retreat at 4-H Camp in Columbiana

By Staff
Martha Collins and Carol Harden of Pollard were among the 98 youth from 24 counties that attended the 2004 Mid-Winter Teen Leadership Retreat. This annual event was held recently at the 4-H Youth Development Center (4-H Camp) in Columbiana, Ala.
Dr. Molly Gregg, 4-H and Youth Development Specialist, said, "The main goals for this year's event was for Alabama 4-H'ers to meet new people, learn to work as a team member, learn valuable leadership skills and to learn to help others through a community service project." She felt that all these goals were accomplished through the hard work and efforts of her four teams and the workshops they developed for the retreat.
The first team leaders were the 4-H Center staff. This team lead youth and adults through the "Low Ropes" course and the "Climbing Wall" activities. Their activities were developed to help youth build relationships and teamwork, trust and awareness, communication, negotiation, leadership and planning skills with team members. The activities also encouraged youth to accept responsibility for being part of a team, to work toward team goals, to increase tolerance and appreciation for team diversity.
The Pike County Sewing Guild made up the second team. They helped the teens make colorful "Comfortcaps" for chemotherapy patients. In four hours, the 4-H'ers made 126 "Comfortcaps" which equaled about 146 community service hours. These numbers gave us all remarkable strength and pride in the youth. This was a community service project that the teens can initiate in their counties after they return home.
The Collegiate 4-H'ers from Auburn University provided a workshop titled "Why Can't We Be Friends?" which focused on how different personalities in a team can lead to conflict and what members can do to resolve these conflicts.
The 4-H State Council (all high school teens) led a workshop on decision-making. The workshop focused on leadership development through setting goals, solving problems and taking action.
As a special treat, Dr. Don Mulvaney, Auburn University professor, made his second appearance to Mid-Winter Teen Retreat. He provided an inspirational leadership workshop titled "What are the Rules and Tools for Play?" Using the metaphor of the game of baseball, participants engaged in leadership calisthenics and worked on drills to develop skills leading to improve personal leadership effectiveness in the real game of life. Dr. Mulvaney believes that the application of these powerful skills will motivate and enable youth to change certain habits and to look forward to hearing frequently the phrase -- "You can play on my team anytime."
Hats off to our youth and leaders that help to make this year's event one of the best yet! If you or your group are interested in making the "Comfortcaps" for patients as a community service project, call the Extension office at 251/867.7760.