Welcome to The Blue Ribbon - Youth Livestock Projects blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide information, advice and suggestions for improving youth livestock projects from multiple sources. The information, advice and suggestions in this blog come from professional agricultural educators who have multiple years of experience working with youth and their livestock projects. If you ever have a question or a particular subject you would like addressed, please feel free to contact Scott Stinnett via email, or leave a comment and we will do our best to assist or address the subject. Should the question or subject be more technical, we will help direct you to an appropriate resource for the best possible answer.

Thank you,

Scott Stinnett and The Blue Ribbon Contributors

Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Year's Resolutions for Youth and Adults - Mentoring

     As we near New Year's Eve, people often ask us about our New Year's Resolution. For youth and adults, choosing a resolution to stick with can be difficult.
     "I will get homework done before dinner."
     "I will clean my room every day."
     "I will practice more and be better at basketball."
"I will learn to use social media."
"I will spend more time with my kids."
"I will eat better and cook more meals at home."

     But what if the resolution will help you improve and someone else as well? I would encourage youth and adults both to look at mentoring. Why? Simply put, mentoring provides benefit to all involved.

     A mentor is someone with experience who advises someone else. Adults mentoring youth is what most of us think of. Coaches, 4-H leaders, scoutmasters, FFA advisors, teachers, counselors or any adult who helps youth to learn about something they are interested in are mentors. Mentors create trusting relationships with youth, help them in their learning and in return receive the satisfaction of knowing you made a positive impact in some else's life.

     Youth can also serve as mentors. Peers helping peers is not a new concept, but we forget that having one youth help another is by definition mentoring. Youth need to understand they can have that positive impact on other youth and they can be mentors. I am always impressed by those youth who make that extra effort to help another by showing or teaching them what they need to know.

     With livestock projects, youth mentoring brings out those qualities we hope all youth will have as adults. Compassionate, positive people willing to share and be a team player are just a few things one can say about a youth mentor.

     Let us not forget the overlooked relationship of a youth mentoring an adult. Ever seen those great human interest stories on the news where the kid has the great idea and the parents go along with it, watching it grow and get better every day? Sometimes as adults we forget this relationship can exist. I have learned in my career as an agricultural educator to listen to the kids and they can teach you something.

    How do we encourage youth to mentor adults? Simple, ask them for help. Kids love to be the smart one and show you what they know. If you haven't done something before and they have, let them show you. Youth have an amazing amount of knowledge they are willing to share, and to share it with an adult is even better.

   So youth and adults, be a mentor. Help someone else learn something you know. As Will Rogers said, "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension

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