NH 4-H Teens Find Their Voice

at the 2022 Teen Leadership Retreat

  • Teen Retreat

Our first event for the 2022-2023 4-H year was our annual Teen Leadership Retreat! From October 22nd to 23rd, 50 teens came to Camp Sentinel in Center Ossipee, NH for a fun-filled weekend of workshops, games, planning and most importantly bonding with peers. Thankfully, mother nature was on our side and gave us a sunny, warm weekend for us to enjoy our outside time. Our weekend started with checking in and being asked the question “what is your goal for this weekend?” Many of our teens answered, “meet new people,” “learn new skills,” “enjoy and connect with the outdoors,” “learn more about 4-H,” and most importantly “have fun.” As everyone checked in, the teens had free time to play games and see old and new friends. 

This year our workshop options centered around the three different statewide ambassador opportunities so all teens could meet the teen mentors and engage in some amazing hands-on learning.  These included STEM, agri-science, and leadership development. In the STEM workshop, teens were asked to build their own robot-powered ship and drive it through a predefined waterway channel in order to deliver their goods from one side to another. Lake Winnipesaukee was kind to us, and only some got wet in the excitement.  In the leadership development workshops teens were challenged to think about themselves and others in a positive light and have them trace themselves and design their tracing with characteristics and phrases that they connect with and make them who they are. In the next workshop teens dug deeper and took a “True Colors” personality assessment and were asked to unpack their leadership traits by working with their like-personality group to create the tallest structure made of marshmallows and toothpicks in a short amount of time. In agri-science, the teens were split into smaller groups and learned about a topic and then were asked to meet with another group and teach them about their topic. 

teen retreat

After our workshops concluded teens had time to get to know their county peers better by coming up with a skit or cheer together. All counties had amazing and funny skits that left the rest of the teens smiling, laughing, and cheering each other on. Some skits included a game show, introducing one another, and spelling out their county with words that connect with their county.  Once the performances were done, teens were able to pick what they wanted to do. Games, campfire, and glow in the dark manhunt were all options for this gorgeous night. While this was all happening a group of teens and chaperones worked together to set up a surprise going away party for long time NH 4-Hers Luke and Logan. It was a great way to end the night and have all teens realize what an impact they have on one another.

The next morning started with a “sunrise hike” (we were on the wrong side of the sunrise)! Although it did not go as planned, the teens enjoyed being able to look at the scenery and get their bodies moving early in the morning. After breakfast, we started the day off with a Give Me 5 activity where teens traced their hands and were given prompts to write certain things on each finger. From here, teens met with five other teens for each finger, did a special handshake that was called out to them and told each other their answers, a great way to share and listen!  From here, counties split to discuss Youth-Adult Partnership and what everyone can do to make a high-quality partnership that benefits both the youth and adult. Next was the much-anticipated teen vs. adult kickball game! Although the teens outnumbered the adults by a landslide, the adults made it out with a win, or at least that is what every adult you ask will tell you. The kickball game was a highlight for many, finding ways to bond and laugh is a GREAT way to create trusting youth-adult partnerships, and our teens were all in. Each county has an action plan, and each teen has a goal to make the best better.  We cannot wait to see what this year brings. We hope everyone had a fun filled weekend and met all their anticipated goals! 

Author(s)

Kristen Landau
State 4-H Teen Leadership Program Manager
Asst Field Specialist
Phone: 617-875-3125
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824