Hillsborough sisters Megan and Susan Norz joined a group of eight 4-H members as they attended the 2019 International Leadership for Life Conference. This conference, hosted by Foróige, is a youth development organization in Ireland.
The event was held from July 29 to Aug. 2 at the National University of Ireland, commonly known as Maynooth University located in Maynooth, Ireland.
Foróige’s Leadership for Life Conference, celebrated its eleventh year in existence as the annual event is regarded to be one of the highlights of the Foróige program. Foróige was formed in 1952 and is based on the 4‑H youth development program model.
The conference involves approximately 300 high school teens. While at the conference, attendees participated in one of the three modules of the “Leadership for Life” program.
Delegates had the opportunity to meet teens from Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United States, India and other countries. The students engaged in more than 15 hours of leadership workshops; heard from a variety of guest speakers with an aim to inspire the delegates to achieve certain goals; and participate in evening activities such as team building, quiz night, talent night and the closing gala dinner.
The New Jersey 4‑H delegates from Somerset County included Megan and Susan Norz, as well as Kaleigh Brunner and Fiona You.
Professionals from Foróige said their “Leadership for Life” program is a personal leadership development program aimed to equip young people to explore their vision and passion, and to develop key skills such as planning, decision making, critical thinking, goal setting and problem solving that are core to leadership.
“This leadership program was developed based on theories and principles of youth work, leadership development and leadership styles,” Foróige said in a statement. “The ‘Leadership for Life’ program is offered in three sequential modules. Each module consists of 15 hours of educational workshops with topics serving as a bridge from one level to the next.”
The New Jersey 4‑H members also completed the “advanced leadership module” while at the conference. This module enabled participants to put into practice their learning from previous modules by actively engaging in a community action project of their choice, keeping a learning journal of their experiences and presenting a portfolio upon completion. The delegates planned and conducted a service project upon their return from the conference as well.
“The Leadership for Life Conference is aimed at enriching young people’s lives by broadening their appreciation and respect for themselves and others in the world,” said 4-H Agent, Jeannette Rea Keywood. “The conference will provide an opportunity for New Jersey 4‑H members to take part in an international experience and to participate in advanced leadership training, preparing them to identify community issues, explore causes, possible solutions and community action efforts.”
The 4‑H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension, 4‑H educational programs are offered to all youth on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race; religion; color; national origin; ancestry; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity and expression; disability; atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait; marital status; domestic partnership status; military service; veteran status; and any other category protected by law.
For more information about the New Jersey 4‑H Program visit the 4‑H website at nj4h.rutgers.edu.