Location: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Annual MSU pre-college program that attracts approximately 2500 youth participants and chaperones representing all 83 Michigan counties.
Youth Experiencing Action!
A Community Service Learning Guide
What’s different about the YEA approach?
The YEA way is different from a typical approach to a community service project because, in the end, it results in a deeper level of commitment and understanding for participants. More than simply volunteering for a service project, participants take the time to strategize at the outset, and then later reflect on the whole experience.Young people are more motivated to take part in programs when they’re encouraged to be involved in decision-making, especially where they can have a positive impact on others.In YEA, participants brainstorm, map out strategies, make decisions, take action, solve problems, cooperate, reflect, evaluate and pass on new-found knowledge to others.
This is called Community Service Learning.
Simply put, it means tying hands-on activities with critical-thinking skills to address real needs in the community. Studies show that when young people learn this way, it improves their confidence, problem-solving and leadership abilities, social skills and overall enjoyment of life. And, they’re more likely to volunteer in their communities as adults.
Who is YEA for?
Geared toward young people aged 14 to 19, YEA activities may be used by any group that’s interested in community service learning. The only requirement for membership is a commitment of time for a number of group meetings. YEA projects can be led by older teens and adults with both community service learning experience and facilitation training, or who are interested in acquiring these skills.
How to build a YEA team
There are at least two ways to form a YEA team. You can create a new one simply by advertising in your county MSU Extension newsletter. Or, by approaching an existing group–like 4-H, church youth, student councils or other youth organizations–to discuss taking on a YEA project.
The YEA Guide has information to help in building a team and it outlines a series of activities and lessons that will help the team explore the community and help others. Finally, the guide will help your team plan, conduct and evaluate a YEA project. Materials in the YEA Guide are arranged in easy-to-follow lectures, activities, handouts and ideas for reflection and further work. Each section of the YEA Guide is designed to carry over for one to three group meetings, and contains several activities from which to choose. Activities within the guide can be used several different ways. You can effectively combine three presentations, for example, in a series of special group sessions, as part of a regularly scheduled meeting or in a weekend workshop. And, school classes or other non–4-H groups will find the material helpful when planning their own service-learning projects. As the volunteer leader, it’s up to you to decide what would work best for your group.
Check out the Michigan 4-H YEA! Youth Experiencing Action learning materials and start a service learning project with youth in your community!
For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:
Jackie Martin, Leadership and Civic Engagement Work Group Co-Chair
Brian Wibby, Leadership and Civic Engagement Work Group Co-Chair
- 50 Reasons to Get Involved With Citizenship, Leadership & Service Activities Bookmark
- 50 Things You Can Do to Be Involved With Citizenship Bookmark
- A.P.P.L.E.S. to Successful Projects Bookmark
- Community Service Organizations
- Community Service Research & References List
- Member’s Personal 4-H Record Book (4H1192)
- Planning Your Community Service Project: Based on a Community Service-Learning Model
- YEA! Youth Experiencing Action! A Community Service-Learning Guide (4H1553)