Public Speaking For Youth

Speaking in front of an audience is hard work! Imagine being a small, frightened child and being told to give a three to nine minute speech about any topic, with props, posters, and a table cloth. That is a hard task and one that 4-H’ers all over Massachusetts tackle every year through the 4-H Visual Presentation program.

According to Middlesex County 4-H, the 4-H Visual Presentation program has lasting benefits including 91% of parents surveyed feeling their children exhibited more overall confidence, 56% believing their children were more organized in school, and 76% believing that the Visual Presentation program would help their children succeed in college. As graduates of the 4-H program can attest, the confidence and mannerisms taught through giving these presentations is invaluable and helps them succeed in school presentations, job interviews, and even in presentations at the workplace.

On Friday, March 10th at 5pm, we welcome the public to join the Acton C.R.A.F.T. 4-H Club at Faith Evangelical Free Church, 54 Hosmer Street, Acton, MA. Eleven children ages 6-17 will be presenting about various topics including pandas, Greek goddesses, police horses, and creepy crawly body bugs.  The presentations on March 10th are the first level of competition for these 4-H’ers.  After the 10th, where they are just competing against other club members, they go on to compete against all of Middlesex County on March 18th at the John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, MA. If they earn the privilege to go on, they compete on April 1st against other 4-H’ers from across all of Massachusetts, also at the John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, MA.

Our 4-H’ers have been preparing for this night since the beginning of January.  First they come up with a topic, then figure out what three main points they want to talk about as the basis for their speech. Finally, they write a script, gather props and practice, practice, practice! Right now, the children are in the gathering props and practicing stage in order for all 11 of them to be prepared to do their very best on March 10th in front of a panel of judges. Our club members frequently go on to state level and win first or second place in their category. This picture is our club from last year, showing off their rosettes.  Good luck to the 4-H’ers in the Acton C.R.A.F.T. 4-H Club, whether it is your first year or you are a seasoned pro, we hope you do your best and go all the way to state level!

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. If you would like more information about the Acton C.R.A.F.T. 4-H Club or Z.I.N.G.E.R.S COMPACT 4-H Club, please contact Elaine Shirron, 4-H Leader, at 978-635-0122.  4-H is the outreach education program of UMass Extension in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and local government.  For more information about 4-H, in general, contact the Northeast Regional Extension Office at 781-891-0650.

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