The fear of speaking in public is common among adults.
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service is hoping to embolden the next generation by offering the Toastmaster Teen Leadership Program this month.
"If we can get these kids to learn how to speak in front of a small group, talking about something they enjoy talking about, it gives them more encouragement," said Shirley Williamson, Columbia County 4-H director and local event coordinator.
"They will hopefully become better public speakers as adults," Williamson said.
The class, geared for rising seventh-graders through 12th-graders, runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m. weekdays from Monday through June 17 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Martinez.
Williamson said proficiency in public speaking has been related to success in the business world. The experience, she said, will give pupils an edge when it comes to presenting senior projects, running for student council and other leadership positions and in applying to colleges.
Participating teens also will learn leadership skills, Williamson said.
"It (the class) takes something that is a little bit intimidating, but makes public speaking fun," she said, "The curriculum makes it fun for the teens because they are in charge of the program."
Though the class is designed for seventh-graders on up, the class is open to pupils as young as rising sixth-graders if their parents deem it appropriate. The classes are open to participants from all area counties.
The class costs $45 and includes a workbook, university certificate of achievement, an award and graduation dinner June 18.
Registration is available until Monday at the start of the first meeting, Williamson said.
To download an enrollment form, visit www.ugaextension.com/Columbia/4H.
For more information, call Williamson at (706) 868-3413.
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