Professional development is a term widely used in educational fields to refer to experiences that promote the growth of an individual in their given profession. The primary outcomes of professional development are to build skills, improve competencies, and strengthen effectiveness. One way to strengthen the 4-H profession is to have a competency model that we can each use to guide our own professional development.
Competencies allow us to demonstrate that we can effectively utilize and perform a particular skill. Possessing a skill or knowledge base is not enough. We need to have the competency to use that skill to meet the outcomes of a given task. For example, I may know the steps to the experiential learning model but not be effective in implementing those steps when delivering educational programs to 4-H youth. This is an example where having a competency expectation can help to improve program effectiveness.