Preparing for Positive Impact: The Role Preparation Plays in Success

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Monday Morning Message, Youth Development
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By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”–Benjamin Franklin

In 2008, my family had a reunion at Disney World in Florida. I have to tell you I couldn’t wait to go, relax and get myself rejuvenated. In all my anticipation, I forgot one critical thing, my mother is a planner. I don’t mean that she just makes lists and sets goals, my mother is a planner on steroids with agenda’s, time allowances, etc. It completely lines up with her values on vacation which is to get the most out of it which, for her, is seeing as much as possible. For me, it doesn’t work so much because when I’m on vacation, I want to be as far removed from planning, agenda’s and time requirements as I possibly can. I bet you’re wondering how this vacation went, well keep reading and you will find out.

As funny as the above story may or may not be to you (depending on how much you can relate to it), planning is an essential part of any successful endeavor. No matter where you fall on the spectrum from hyper-vigilant to hyper-spontaneous our activities need at least some level of planning to be successful at all. Within 4-H, planning can be the difference between a meeting that is vibrant, engaging and meaningful and one that is dull, boring and pointless. Here are some planning suggestions that will enhance your meeting experience:

  • Devote enough time to planning for the meeting. To calculate the ideal amount of preparation time needed, use the following equation: Length of meeting x 2 = preparation time.
  • Make sure that you secure all the supplies needed for the meeting ahead of time.
  • Develop your lesson at least a week in advance and if you are using a curriculum, use some of your prep time to walk through it.
  • Make sure you have enough time to devote to the curriculum. Cramming too much into one meeting stifles the learning process. It would be better to split the work into two meetings or extend the meeting than to either over fill it or cut key items out to stay on time.
  • Be Flexible! Having a plan doesn’t mean that the plan can’t ever change. It is easier to change a plan than to deal with a roadblock without one.
  • Have fun! Remember, we volunteer for things that we believe in and are passionate about, if you are not having fun, find out what is wrong and work to correct it.

My vacation at Disney was absolutely wonderful and very relaxing. With my mother’s planning and me setting healthy boundaries to protect my need for rest and both of our flexibility, I was able to see more of Disney World in a short amount of time than I ever would have without my mother and was able to relax and come back ready to face life after vacation as well. The better we get at planning our meetings, the more positive impact 4-H will have on the members we serve.


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