4-H Matters: April 2021
Director’s Message: Growing Programs
This is an exciting time for 4-H in Idaho! We may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel regarding the COVID-19 restrictions. It has been an interesting year as we have had to restrict face-to-face contact in 4-H clubs and programs throughout the state. News of Idaho moving into stage 3 excites the entire 4-H team.
This issue of 4-H Matters highlights aspects of 4-H that you may not have heard of before but are still so important to the youth of Idaho. As always, please don’t hesitate to email questions or thoughts about any of the stories or programs in this newsletter.
Juntos 4-H — Together in 4-H
Juntos, “together” in Spanish, is a grant funded program uniting community partners to support Latinx 8-12th grade students and their families with knowledge, skills and resources to reach high school graduation and higher education. The goal is to support youth in their journey to a diploma and to encourage families to work together to achieve their youth’s academic goals. The program consists of four components: family engagement, Juntos 4-H clubs, one-on-one success coaching and summer programming.
The Juntos program started in 2007 by bringing students and parents together for a series of six workshops to learn about the US educational system, including graduation requirements, communication, advocacy and higher education. In 2011, the program expanded from single-family engagement to today’s four-component program.
Juntos 4-H in Idaho began in 2018 in Jerome County with a collaboration between University of Idaho Extension and the Jerome School District. It now engages Jerome County students and their families to improve high school success and help students get to college.
The Juntos Sustainable Community Project: A Collaboration between NC State University, NC A&T University, and University of Idaho is a 4-H Life Skills, technology enhanced, dropout prevention and college preparation program with Latinx youth and their parents in North Carolina and Idaho. NIFA USDA CYFAR Award Number 2018-41520-28749.
Orientation for 4-H Volunteers
UI Extension 4-H Youth Development this spring released a statewide “New Volunteer Orientation” resource package for all county 4-H professionals. It helps employees prepare 4-H volunteers to work with Idaho’s 4-H youth by providing high quality, consistent training materials.
The Orientation for 4-H Volunteers explores important topics of child protection, risk-management, working with youth, and Positive Youth Development concepts. The package includes a comprehensive lesson plan, agendas, handouts, activities, videos and learning games.
Some resources are designed to be tailored by trainers. For example, a “Reporting Suspected Abuse” card has spaces to add contact information for the local Extension office. The planning team also considered different types of volunteer involvement when creating the schedule. The schedule groups topics by volunteer roles so that event chaperones, for instance, do not have to attend the sections covering club and project management.
Consistent training for 4-H volunteers strengthens the entire program. If you are interested in working with 4-H youth, please contact your local UI Extension office.
4-H Outside the Box
4-H Outside the Box (OTB) is a flexible way for county 4-H programs to engage youth in a 4-H experience. OTB are individual learning labs with four activities including supplies and instructions for the youth and adult helper. The activities are designed experientially to engage the adult helper and youth together through activities, reflection and apply steps. The activities may be done individually or in small groups.
County 4-H professionals may adopt OTB by involving volunteers and/or parents to engage youth, whether the youth are new to 4-H or already active. With an implementation plan for March through early April, county 4-H professionals may request up to 20 individual learning labs at no cost. Evaluation surveys are included.
If you are interested in the Outside the Box 4-H programs, please contact your local UI Extension office.
AmeriCorps Instructors Expand 4-H Programs
Community partnerships with UI Extension AmeriCorps instructors can expand quality education to youth in out-of-school settings. UI Extension, Twin Falls County secured one full-time, two half-time and one quarter-time AmeriCorps instructors in 2020. This was possible through continuing partnerships and financial support from Boys & Girls Club Magic Valley, Hansen School District and Twin Falls County. The focus of the AmeriCorps instructors in Twin Falls County was to expand current programs and create new youth STEAM programs with current community partners and expand programs to new partners in the county.
AmeriCorps instructors wasted no time during the first stages of Idaho Rebounds. They worked together to redesign two current programs for a virtual setting and offer them as 4-H club projects to current 4-H members. Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, UI Extension, Twin Falls County AmeriCorps instructors provided over 600 direct contact hours with around 450 youth in STEAM programs.
The Idaho 4-H AmeriCorps mission is to help youth in rural, economically disadvantaged or isolated communities build life skills through STEAM education activities and positive adult role models. There are Idaho 4-H AmeriCorps programs in almost every county in Idaho.
Idaho 4-H AmeriCorps members work with many other youth organizations to meet the community’s needs. To apply to host a member in your community contact Natasha Tienhaara, 4-H AmeriCorps Program Coordinator at email@example.com
Learn more about AmeriCorps in Twin Falls County (PDF).
Support UI Extension 4-H Youth Development During Vandal Giving Day — April 6-7
Vandal Giving Day is an annual day-long giving event to support programs at the University of Idaho. This year you can support your local county 4-H program through Vandal Giving Day. Donations will directly benefit the youth in your county, and the county that raises the most funds will receive an added $1,000 from the University of Idaho Foundation.