What is a spark and why would you want to search for it? A spark is something that you love to do, something that gets you excited, something that you are good at or something that energizes you. Maybe you have already identified a spark in your life, as most of us have many sparks that get us excited and ready to jump into action. Cloverbuds might have already identified a spark through school, sports, or family experiences. 4-H provides another opportunity for them to have new experiences and participate in new events that can help them discover new sparks! Sparks are interests, skills, talents, and special qualities that can emerge while youth are experiencing 4-H after school programs, 4-H community club events, or special interest clubs.
Cloverbuds can identify possible sparks by choosing from a list of topics or answering questions that require them to choose a thoughtful answer. For example, having them respond to, “Do you like to play indoors or outdoors?” or “Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?”. Exposing youth to new ideas outside of their normal home and school environments are a great way to identify additional sparks. Sparks help youth set goals and expand their support network as they identify friends that have similar sparks. Most youth need one to three spark champions (caring adults that support the identification of sparks) who will continue to make connections and encourage them to further develop their sparks.
Club meetings are a great place to start the process of identifying sparks. Give members a sheet of blank copy paper and some markers or colored pencils. Have them close their eyes and think about an activity that they love doing and picture themselves doing that activity. After 30 seconds have youth open their eyes and draw that activity they were imagining. Once members have finished drawing have a group conversation about why they chose that activity. You might have some suggestions about other ideas they could explore given their interests. Your role as a 4-H volunteer is very much a role of SPARK CHAMPION!
Extension Foundation. (n.d.). 4-H Thriving Model of PYD. Retrieved June 27, 20222, from https://helping-youth-thrive.extension.org/what-are-sparks/