Become a 4-H teen facilitator and take over Capitol Experience

If you know a youth that might be interested in being a teen facilitator at 4-H Capitol Experience, have them sign up as a participant for the 2017 year.

For many years, youth have been utilized as teen facilitators at 4-H Capitol Experience. The Leadership and Civic Engagement team at Michigan State University Extension utilizes youth in every decision-making committee, so having them be a part of the steering committee and working right along with the staff at the event is the perfect scenario. A problem presented itself when some of the team felt that in years past, the youth were not being given enough tools to be successful in this endeavor. The youth played a nice role, but really looked to the adult facilitator to take the lead and guide the groups. Three years ago we designed a new training for teen facilitators and it has evolved into a two-day, face-to-face training with all of the steering committee members.

During this two-day event, youth are taught tools in areas around parliamentary procedure, communication, conflict, facilitation, team building, holding a successful meeting and other relevant topics. The event also allows youth to team build with each other and each of the adult members, which is such a key component to the success for the upcoming year. The youth members feel more comfortable with each other, with the tool box provided to them and with the adults, knowing they could come to any one of them for advice or support.

Youth stated they feel empowered and as if they were actually an equal part of the team. One of the youth facilitators had this to say about the new process, “I felt the face-to-face meeting made a difference in my success. In years past, I have felt like the conference has gone well for me as a steering committee member, but this year I felt like I had all of the resources and more support behind me and my group. I felt more prepared to do my job.” The team also received positive comments from participants on the skill level of our youth facilitators.

In addition, the adult members witnessed youth taking over in every issue group. They were able to facilitate their groups with confidence and be effective. They turned to the adults for advice or assistance in tough situations, but understood that being the facilitator doesn’t mean you know all of the answers or that you always pick the correct approach. It means you are willing to work with the group to find the answers and if you chose the wrong facilitation path, just change it and try another one.

The teen facilitators have been selected for the 2017 year and will soon start meeting with the full steering committee. If you know of a youth that might be interested in an opportunity such as this, be sure to have them sign up for 4-H Capitol Experience as a participant for the 2017 year, and then sign up to be on the steering committee for the 2018 year at the close of the 2017 event. For teen facilitator training for youth in your community, please contact the Leadership and Civic Engagement team at

Did you find this article useful?