Friendship Building in 4-H

— Written By Barbara Swanson

Did you know that 4-H is coordinating summer adventure classes for youth in Asheboro, Liberty and Archdale? Often the youth who participate have never met before, so attending a class with a group of strangers can be an uncomfortable situation.

Learning to make friends is one of those life skills that all of us must do from time to time. Building relationships that last, takes patience, understanding and a good amount of effort! As young people meet new friends, they are challenged to communicate positively and make a good first impression. Sometimes we judge a friend before we really get the opportunity to know them. Has that ever happened to you? What we say, how we say it, what we wear, how we present ourselves impacts what others think about us!

Youth interested in building relationships could consider the following friendship tips:

  • Be accepting – before trying to change your friends, try first accepting them for who they are.
  • Listen to your friends
  • Ask your friends questions about themselves and don’t make the focus of the conversation just on you.
  • Be honest with your friend
  • If you are working together on a project, be helpful and do your part
  • Greet new people first. Don’t wait for someone to greet you, take the initiative and greet others, making them feel welcome and accepted

For friendships to endure, remember to be friendly and fair with one another. Respect your new friends and act responsibly. If friends try to use peer pressure on you to get you to do things you shouldn’t, then they really aren’t your friends. Try to be inclusive. When you are planning an activity, invite others and include the newest friends. Often feelings are hurt when a friend believes they are being excluded from an event or activity.

Be nice and kind and polite! It might seem unnecessary to have to put it in writing, but unless we spell out what expectations we have for relationships, we can blame no one but ourselves for not outlining appropriate behavior. Our 4-H code of conduct is something we ask all 4-H families to read and agree to, so that our classes can be productive, fun and meaningful for all 4-H members.

If you would like information about organizing a club for 4-H, or if you would like more information about our summer adventure classes in Asheboro, Archdale or Liberty, give us a call at: Liberty 218-4000; Archdale / Trinity, 819-3000, and Asheboro, 318-6000. 4­H is open to girls and boys ages 5­19 without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disability. 4-H is a United Way Agency.