Quick Guide to Extension Impacts: Utah 4-H 2017
A Note From Kevin Kesler, USU Extension 4-H Director
Utah 4-H is 105 years old and still meeting the youth development needs of our growing and changing world. We still fulfill our traditional role of assisting Utah youth in every county in the state as they develop skills in agriculture and home economics. Yet we also have some of the best robotics and science camps in the state, and our computer coding and maker programs are nationally recognized.
All 4-H programs provide youth opportunities to develop belonging, independence, generosity, and mastery. These skills will help them be successful in life and become contributing members of society.
It is amazing how many people tell me they were in 4-H as a youth and how much 4-H contributed to their success in life. I invite you to take a look at the information provided here and see the impact 4-H continues to have on our Utah youth.
- Kevin Kesler
Discover 4-H Programs Now Global
Three years ago, USU Extension 4-H launched a series of curricula designed to guide new or seasoned 4-H volunteer leaders through the process of starting a 4-H club or exploring a new project area. Step-by-step outlines include everything needed to organize a club and hold the first six club meetings. Since that time, the number of published Discover 4-H guides has more than doubled and the guidelines have now been downloaded in every state and 21 countries.
Visit discoverutah4h.org for more information.
Teen Mental Health
In Davis County, suicide was selected as the greatest community health concern, based on a 2013 needs assessment. Shortly after, suicide was reported to be the leading cause of death for Utah youth, ages 10-17; a rate that tripled from 2007– 2014.
In the fall of 2015, Davis County 4-H received $315,791 from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to address youth mental health. The award:
1) works to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
2) has trained over 330 adults to be able to respond to youth mental health concerns through Youth Mental Health First Aid training
3) empowers youth with knowledge and skills to foster positive mental health and resiliency through 4-H Camp Thrive Youth Mental Health First Aiders have reported making 958 referrals of youth to professional mental health services.
Utah National Guard Youth Programs
The mission of the Utah National Guard Youth Programs is to support and serve youth whose parents are in the Utah National Guard, and especially those youth with parents experiencing deployment. The programs provide opportunities for youth to share feelings, thoughts, and ideas and learn life skills. The 4-H model and curriculum for afterschool classes and summer camps is used as a guide for the program. These opportunities provide youth with support from peers and teach important resiliency skills.
4-H State Officer Program
The State 4-H Officer Program has taken 4-H back to its roots of allowing youth to lead and create positive changes in Utah communities. The program began in 2014 as a way for youth leaders to use their ability to understand how young people learn most effectively to make an impact on them. Four officers are elected each year.
This year’s officers brainstormed and created new ways to broaden the reach of 4-H to rural audiences via online trainings. They attended project-specific events and taught youth how to take initiative in their hometowns to create positive experiences that help lead youth away from behaviors such as drug abuse, violence, vandalism and dislike of school in early high school years. They did this by teaching the 4-H mission mandates of science, healthy living and citizenship.
The officers have conducted training across the state to increase the awareness of teen leadership opportunities in Utah 4-H. Proof of their efforts has been shown in an increase in attendance at 4-H events and an increase in the number of applicants to become State Officers.
Since 2014, Washington County has sent 13 youth and 9 volunteer leaders to serve as delegates to the Bay Area Maker Faire in partnership with Cognizant, a Fortune 500 technology solutions company. The youth invent a Maker project, then teach other youth from all over the world how to make their invention. This year they presented a workshop at the Cognizant booth where they taught teens how to make Vibrobot Droids and Droid covers/puppets, then sewed drawstring Star Wars® bags for storing their projects.
Utah Natural Resources Contests
Many of today’s experts and leaders in wildlife management and conservation are baby boomers...and are now contemplating retirement...This coming retirement “tsunami” could drain our nation of much of its institutional knowledge of environmental science and natural resource manage- ment. (Unger, K. 2007. The graying of the green generation. The Wildlife Professional 1(1): 18-22.)
In light of this potential crisis, Utah 4-H members have the opportunity to participate in high school environmental education competitions where they learn how to collect data from the field to make management decisions. These Envirothon learn- ing events leverage youth’s interest in competition to engage them in problem-solving scenarios. This year, an expansion of the event now includes the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Project and the 4-H Forestry Invitational. This not only attracts more youth to 4-H events, but allows them to represent Utah at national contests where they will have even more opportunities to collaborate and learn about environmental science.
Teen Council Project
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Teen Council Project is finishing its third and final year. The Teen Council project was implemented to increase 4-H enrollment and participation of high school-aged students and to teach youth relationship development and leadership skills.