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SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Mastery



Authors as Published

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

Mastery is at the heart of 4-H SPIN clubs. Young people demonstrate mastery when they are able to competently use new knowledge and skills in real-world situations. As a SPIN volunteer your goal is to help the members in your SPIN club master the knowledge and skills they need.

Best Practices for Mastery Ways Volunteers Can Promote Mastery
  • Young people learn best through hands-on learning.
  • Plan learning activities that actively engage them in learning – build, create, explore, make, discover, test, plan, cut, estimate, experience, measure, draw, etc.
  • When young people successfully solve problems or meet a challenge, they develop confidence in themselves – they believe they are capable.
  • Present them with a challenge or problem to solve. Encourage and support them, but allow them to discover the solution.
  • Young people demonstrate leadership skills.
  • Provide leadership opportunities such as, leading an activity, helping others who need assistance, or planning a family event to showcase what members have learned.
  • Young people demonstrate their mastery to others.
  • Provide opportunities for members to share what they have learned, created, and mastered at a family event, competition, or community gathering.
  • Young people learn from their mistakes.
  • When things don’t work out as planned, talk with the young person and ask what s/he thinks went wrong, what s/he could do differently, and how to avoid the mistake in the future. Allow the young person to reflect on the experience, share his/her thoughts, and identify a solution.

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, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

September 1, 2022

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