4-H Matters: August 2021
August is an exciting time in Idaho with 4-H programming. Most of our county fairs occur this month. The 4-H exhibits at a county fair are a culmination of a year of hard work on the 4-H member’s part. For each 4-H project that a youth takes they must select the project, work with their project leader who coaches them, complete a demonstration or speech regarding the project, complete all the project requirements and participate in a public exposition. In Idaho, most of the public displays of a project are at the county fair. At the fair, most projects also have an interview with a judge so the 4-H member can explain what they learned about the project. For all the work that goes into a project, the member is rewarded with a ribbon, sometimes a larger award and with most animal projects, the opportunity to sell their animal.
Fairs can be a joyous time for families, 4-H volunteers and youth as it is a celebration of the year of learning about their projects.
The Idaho Community Program supports efforts to help children bounce back from a tumultuous school year through educational activities that support learning and behavioral health.
“That sounds a lot like 4-H, doesn’t it?” said Jim Lindstrom, director of the UI Extension 4-H Youth Development program.
State officials clearly agree. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare program solicited agencies and organizations to submit proposals for activities to help children regain their educational momentum after a pandemic year.
The 4-H youth development program responded with 14 initial proposals for projects. Some will reach across the state, others will focus on the county level. The state agency’s program funded all of them.
For generations of state residents, a century-long history of 4-H clubs and activities make the 4-H clover one of the nation’s most recognized youth organizations. The 4-H youth development program now reaches more than 70,000 young people across Idaho through club activities, after-school programs and informal science education efforts.
The funding will allow 4-H to fully put into play more educational programs focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math or STEAM projects already in progress. Others struggled unsuccessfully to find funding. And still others will help 4-H fully realize the potential of efforts already underway.
An example of the last would include a statewide fleet of Think Make Create trailers designed to help schools, clubs and organizations offer children the chance to use high-tech equipment.
“The original plan was our partners would provide the supplies for the children to do their projects,” Lindstrom said. “The funding will allow us to send the trailers out with everything youth need for the activities.”
Other projects will equip 4-H educators and UI Extension offices with kits to teach groups of young people. Schools or groups will receive these “4-H Outside the Box” kits offer lessons focused on specific topics and designed for different age groups.
Another 4-H program will build on "4-H Healthy Habits” program with ties to federal child nutrition programs and deliver innovative programs. One such effort, Soccer for Success, provided adults to oversee a soccer program that also offered nutrition education along with healthy snacks.
In all the original proposals and three more announced just this week will provide nearly $7 million in funding during the next year. The money will launch activities available statewide and regionally, and others for smaller-scale projects in 19 of Idaho’s 44 counties. All county 4-H programs will have support available throughout the state.
“This is a game changer for us,” Lindstrom said. “I would say its unprecedented. In the past we always came up with great ideas and ways to help Idaho’s kids and then we cobbled together support.”
“This support will help us show we can really step up to help youth in urban areas as well as in our rural areas,” he said.
Igniting Your Spark through 4-H
All county 4-H programs in Idaho have the opportunity to choose from one or all of the following program options that include fun, ready-to-go activity packages for youth. Call your local UI Extension office for more information or contact any of the 4-H faculty listed below. Because of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare grant, these activities and programs are offered at no cost to you, families, county programs and community partners.
We are excited to have you connect with 4-H: Igniting Your Spark (pdf). Consider partnering with local community youth programs to ignite youth sparks. Contact Tim Ewers (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or for additional information.
4-H Outside the Box are creative learning labs in a box with six to eight sequential hands-on activities focused on building critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Boxes contain materials and supplies for Junior Master Gardeners, science, basic cooking and visual arts activities. Pick your favorite topic box or all boxes for a club, afterschool, day camp or families at home. — Nancy Shelstad, email@example.com
Think Make Create labs explore creativity, design and engineering through making and tinkering activities. These hands-on materials will challenge and test your skills of problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking. Choose from a variety of activities that youth can make and take from any out-of-school program. — Claire Sponseller, firstname.lastname@example.org
4-H Healthy Habits are hands-on activities that teach youth healthy snack preparation, basic kitchen skills and how to select foods that are healthy for them and their families. At completion of the eight lessons, youth will receive a family take-home bag with kitchen tools and ingredients to prepare two snacks. Option: 4-H leaders may offer Healthy Habits as a 4-H project. — Maureen Toomey, email@example.com
4-H Building Program Capacity — Do you have an idea to expand your local 4-H program to incorporate new content or audiences? We’ll work with you to help make your idea a reality. — Robin Baumgartner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Science Lesson Plans help volunteers deliver quality program
- UI Extension 4-H Youth Development created animal science lessons plans that were grab-and-go guides for volunteers to use in their clubs. Read how 4-H volunteers found the lessons helpful — Animal science lesson plans (pdf).
Celebrate Juntos 4-H by listening to this Podcast
- Episode 24 Juntos national roadtrip, part III — Learn about the Juntos 4-H program in Jerome via Connect Extension Podcast
4-H in the News (recent popular press articles)
- Wild horses meet their match; 4-H youth prepare to say goodbye to summer friends — Post Register
- Brain power on wheels — Coeur d'Alene Press