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SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Independence



Authors as Published

Jeremy Johnson, Associate Specialist for Volunteer Development for Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech

To be independent, young people must have confidence in their abilities and know how to use them in real-world situations. Independence grows by steps and begins with making small decisions that can turn into life-changing decisions. Your encouragement builds members’ self-confidence. By exercising independence, young people learn self-discipline and responsibility, better understand themselves, and become independent thinkers.

Best Practices for Independence Ways Volunteers Can Promote Independence
  • SPIN clubs provide young people an opportunity to do something they are personally interested in.
  • Share your enthusiasm for the topic with your SPIN club members.
  • Involve them in hands-on learning.
  • Encourage them to ask questions, share what they are learning, and think about how they might use their knowledge in other areas of their lives.
  • Young people need opportunities to practice independence in a safe environment.
  • Involve young people indecision-making.
  • Provide opportunities for young people to be responsible. There is a close link between independence and responsibility. Some examples are
    • Getting supplies and equipment ready.
    • Explaining directions to others who may need individual attention.
    • Leading an activity.
    • Demonstrating a process to others.
  • Young people need your encouragement.
  • Praise is a powerful motivator. We all like to know we are doing well. Use praise liberally.
  • Encouragement is even more important when things are not going well. Encourage a young person who is struggling by offering suggestions or talking through their ideas for what might work.

Adapted with permission from University of Illinois Cooperative Extension
*18 U.S.C. 707

Produced by Communications and Marketing, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, ethnicity or national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

September 1, 2022

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