Implementing a Work-Based Learning Approach to 4-H Camp Counseling

Theresa M. Ferrari, Nate Arnett


Although camping has been a successful 4-H delivery method, we believed a more intentional approach that viewed camp counseling as a job would allow teen camp counselors to connect skills they were learning with those needed for workforce success. Eighteen Ohio counties participated in a pilot project to test the implementation of this work-based learning approach. 4-H youth development professionals added specific workforce-related topics and made minor changes in their camp counselor training. In addition, they used a performance appraisal process consisting of teens’ self-assessment and supervisor assessment. Focus groups were conducted to gain implementation data. Although there were some challenges, this approach took relatively little additional effort, and there were benefits for both counselors and professionals. This intentional approach could be applied to other youth programs.

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