Ag Ed Class Gives Real-World Leadership to Operation Military Kids

May 6, 2013

Approximately 80 students from across campus completed their service learning projects at the end of the Spring 2013 semester for Operation Military Kids, an initiative administered through the University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. The group project was a major component for the Agricultural Education Program’s Collaborative Leadership course, co-taught by Dr. Richard Clark and Dr. Kari Keating. 

The classes, mostly comprised of seniors, consisted of 16 different teams of students. The teams of students partnered with more than 55 organizations across campus and around Illinois to assemble more than 250 kits for military families to help them reintegrate after deployment. The kits contained games, movies, restaurant gift cards, museum tickets, toys, and many other items that promote family activities and will help create positive memories together. The kits, valued at more than $12,000, will be distributed at the yellow ribbon events around Illinois later this summer. 
In addition to the service learning goal of the project, the group activity was also designed to emphasize the importance of relationships within a team or organization and their effects on the outcome of a project. According to Dr. Kari Keating, one of the instructors for the course, students were also able to “put leadership theories into practice and learned how to inspire a common vision that can be communicated across organizations.” Students also created videos to summarize the logistical details of the project, and communicate the overall impact it had on them and the military families who will be receiving the kits.
For more information about Operation Military Kids, contact Linda Kupferschmid, Project Coordinator, at the University of Illinois State 4-H Office, or visit the website.

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