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How to Succeed Without Being an Expert | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

How to Succeed Without Being an Expert

physics for kids: powerful rocket engines on a windy day may not be a good ideaphoto © 2010 woodleywonderworks | more info (via: Wylio)

You don’t have to be an all-around top-notch expert to be successful….if you work with talented, smart people.

Last night at 4-H Tech Club, I was reminded of this.  At this year’s planning meeting, Mark, another leader, suggested we do a hands-on rockets workshop. In the past, we had done workshops on building  rockets and the physics behind them. He suggested a different approach: get a simple rocket for each kid in the club and have each of them build it together. Then at the next meeting, launch them. Then, every kid in the club will have experienced a build and a launch.

Sounded good to me.

One challenge though. I’m an organizer but know nothing about how to build a rocket. And I surely didn’t know how to help 20+ kids, from grades 3 through 12, all build rockets at the same time. Others would need to carry the ball.

Success lesson 1: find smart people who work hard

Mark researched how and what types of rockets to buy. He figured out the best options.

Success lesson 2: don’t micromanage those smart people

Throughout the process, Mark asked for input at key points.

Success lesson 3: careful money management lets you experiment

Our 4-H Tech Club has been careful with every dime of its 3 year existence.  The members are frugal with their dues.  Last year, when we accepted donations from sponsors, we designated them to go towards education. Those donations paid for last night’s rockets. 

Success lesson 4: ask for help when needed

Mark said we needed to find adult team leaders to break the club into smaller groups. So I put out the word to our parents and leaders and said a quiet prayer we would get the help we needed.  The night of the workshop, we divided 20+ kids in 5 small groups.  The club’s top officers, all teens, registered members as they came in, assigned them to groups, and gave them rocket kits.

Each group had an adult team leader and a teen assistant. Our adult helpers included our county’s rockets superintendent, along with a web designer, software programmer, accountant, engineering professor, and middle school math teacher with an engineering background.

Success lesson 5: thank those involved

Last night, twenty members, from ages 9 to 16, built 20 rockets in 2 hours.

This is my thank you

  • to Mark for having a vision and making it a success,
  • to the other leaders and parents who encouraged and helped as needed, and
  • to our members for being a great team.

I’m looking forward to next month’s rocket launch!

Last night’s roll call question for members was where they would like to venture in a rocket. Answers included New Zealand, Pluto, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. I hope we help our members realize that they can build their dreams, launch their rockets, and go after their dreams.


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