Planting Seeds of Confidence
Posted: February 7, 2011
Each activity gently encouraged the youth to demonstrate an emotion or situation before the group and the group would respond as an audience. For example, an activity on stranger safety became an improv situational scene where the children acted out what they would do if a stranger approached them under varying circumstances.
The strangers were played by 4-H interns Mike Miller and Danielle Chmelewski. After watching the scene the group would give feedback on whether it was a safe response or not, and offer what other choices could be made. Another activity focusing on community service and the importance of community helpers had the children break into small groups to come up with a short scene depicting what would happen if a particular community helper was not available; such as a policeman, or a teacher. The children really enjoyed this activity as not only were they required to present, but also to invent.
After the self-expression activity the group was taken out for team sports, with an emphasis on sportsmanship, teamwork and skill-building. Children who had never played a sport suddenly realized they had a talent for it! The summer heat brought the group inside to learn and show some of their own dance moves supervised by Chmelewski while a homemade snack was being prepared in the community center kitchen by 4-H Program Assistant Irene Lisinski. One sunny morning the aroma of zucchini pancakes teased the children’s senses though none had previously had a pancake made from zucchini before. Down to every last child the meal was declared delicious and all had second helpings. By encouraging the youth at Park Spring to take risks, to do and try things they had never done before, self-esteem, self-confidence, courage, and a connection to caring adults has taken root in small seedlings of learning, fostering qualities which are critical to a child’s future growth into a happy, productive adult.
By Tracy Murdaugh