- Author: Ryan Chi
Are you interested in plants? Or perhaps you'd simply like to learn a bit more about horticulture? Then you should consider trying out for the California 4-H Horticulture Team! Every year, there's a horticulture contest at State Field Day at UC Davis. The contest is open to all ages, but if you're 15-18 and you score in the top four, then you can qualify for the state team and represent California at the National Junior Horticultural Association convention. If you'd like to get some practice first, you can also try the horticulture contest at Bay/Coast Area Field Day.
2017 National Horticulture Association Convention
Last month, I attended the 2017 National Junior Horticultural Association Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the California 4-H Horticulture Team. It was an amazing experience! The convention was a 4-day-long opportunity for youth all around the nation to learn more about horticulture through a myriad of contests, workshops, field trips, and other activities. The highlight, as it is every year, was the Horticulture Identification Contest, where contestants had to identify a hundred different samples of plants in four different categories: fruits, vegetables, flowers, and landscape ornamentals. These could be presented in almost any format, ranging from fruits and flowers to seeds and leaves or even pieces of bark.
Learning about horticulture through hands-on activities
Perhaps the best part about the attending the convention was being part of the California team. Through months of study sessions, we had not only improved on our horticultural knowledge, but also had also become good friends. By the time of the convention, we were a solid team, a close-knit group of collaborators working toward achieving a shared goal. The friendship and camaraderie we experienced together is an experience that is truly unparalleled.
Finishing 3rd, 2nd and 1st!
Our 4-H team did quite well: we finished 3rd in the horticulture identification contest, 2nd in the state display contest, and 1st in the horticulture Jeopardy contest. In addition, our California open team also did well: they placed 1st in their category for the horticulture identification contest.
I'm looking forward to competing again next year!
For more information about the 4-H Horticulture Team and the State Field Day competition, please contact DeAnn Tenhunfeld at email@example.com.
- Author: Regina O'Brien
- Editor: Jenna Colburn
Regina O'Brien was one of the delegates representing California 4-H at the 2017 Citizenship Washington Focus-Presidential Inauguration. For the first time, 4-H'ers were invited to attend the presidential inauguration. This was not about politics or supporting specific candidates. Planning for this event started a year in advance. Participants and chaperones had to sign up by April 2016, way before the November election. This unique experience was about giving 4-H youth an opportunity to witness in person a key feature of our democracy - a peaceful transfer of power.
Delegates participated in the standard program of a Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) Conference, with the addition of being able to witness a presidential inauguration in person. The National 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus conference is an annual event that invites 4-H youth from around the country to learn about civic engagement in our nation's capital.
Reading about Regina's experience at the Citizenship Washington Focus conference – it may inspire you to sign up for next year's CWF!
My Trip to CWF-PI
by Regina O'Brien, Santa Rosa Valley 4-H, Ventura County
In January of this year, I attended Citizenship Washington Focus-Presidential Inauguration, also known as CWF-PI for short. CWF-PI, which is normally held in the summer, was a special edition of a program that outlined these special topics:
- The meaning and importance of our democracy
- The history of the president
- The election process
- The role of the media
- Discovering the intricacies of the Executive Branch
- Careers in politics
We got to practice our role as citizens and what citizenship is to us
There were 26 delegates in total from our state of California--21 4-H'ers and 5 parent chaperones. We attended workshops, sessions, and huddles. We held our own mock election to run for president of CWF-PI, where I ran for election (and no, I didn't win).
The workshops included topics such as the role of our media reporting the facts and being the center of communication that emphasized our 1st amendment right of Freedom of Speech. I also got to attend workshops where we had speakers tell us about how important it is to think beyond yourself and better your own community. I really enjoyed all of our activities in our workshops, such as creating our own front newspaper article.
I think what stuck with me the most about citizenship was when one of the speakers defined it as, “what you do with your gum wrapper when no one is looking.”
Meeting people from other states
I got to meet people from as far as Alaska, and participated in a ‘pin trade' where we brought stuff with us representative of our respective states and got to bring back with us assortments of trinkets. I got pins from Florida all the way to Wisconsin. We all stayed together at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I had 3 roommates from different parts of California.
Sightseeing in D.C.
At night, despite many road closures, we got to do some sightseeing in DC and visited the presidential memorials for Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt as well as the Martin Luther King memorial. We also visited the Lincoln Memorial, which was set up for the platforms to celebrate President-Elect Trump arriving in D.C. for the welcome celebration the next day. In addition to the memorials, we also went to the National Archives and saw the original Constitution, Articles of Confederation, and Declaration of Independence. Our group split up to go the Smithsonian museums. I chose the Air and Space Museum and got to see a little of the Natural History Museum. My mom chose to go to the American History Museum. A little-known fact is that admission to every Smithsonian museum is free!
The Presidential Inauguration
My mom had previously gotten us tickets to the red area to see the Inauguration in the morning. It was an exciting and historical moment to witness the peaceful transition of power.
After the Inauguration, we went to the Newseum to meet up with the rest of our group and enjoy a buffet catered by Wolfgang Puck and a front row seat to the Inaugural Parade.
That same night, we went on a dinner dance and cruise on the Potomac where we crossed over into Virginia.
CWF-PI was a once in a lifetime experience and I recommend that other 4-H'ers attend this event in the future.
Note: The Presidential Inauguration is held every four years so the next CWF-PI would be in 2021.
Register by Dec. 17 for the 2018 Citizenship Washington Focus
Registration is now open for next year's Citizenship Washington Focus conference, being held June 16 to 23, 2018. A special add-on for California 4-H delegates is the option of an extended trip, which continues after the conference through June 26 and includes visits to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. See the Citizenship Washington Focus event page to learn more. Register by December 17, 2017 to save your space.
- Author: Curtis Ullerich
The California 4-H Management Board is a youth-adult partnership at the highest level of California 4-H. As with all impactful roles, we face our share of challenges. Two challenges we're digging into right now are:
- Making participation in the management board more successful for youth
- Increasing the level of youth voice present in all our decisions
The management board bylaws say that at least half of our ten director positions (Article II, § 1a) and half of our committee membership (Article V, § 5a) should be filled by youth. In the inaugural year of the management board, we had three youth directors, and this year we have zero: We received no applications from current youth members for our three open director positions this year. We currently have 36 youth and 30 adults on our committees, though not every committee has a 1:1 or higher ratio of youth to adults.
Challenges in our team structure
The youth members of the director team during our first year reported that the position was particularly challenging. Our team structure required members to be very self-directed. While initiative is no strange concept to 4-H youth, the management board had very little historical context on which to draw. Similarly, role expectations weren't very clear, because they were speculative. The implementation committee that designed the management board structure couldn't know exactly how individual responsibilities and team goals would shake out. Being a director involves overseeing committee chairs who are often adults. This is a dynamic that many youth, even among 4-H'ers, haven't experienced yet, and was cited as a challenge.
How the management board plans to support youth participation
We have been doing some critical self-reflection to understand why director roles are challenging for youth, and how we can better promote the valuable opportunity of serving in one of these positions. We listened to feedback from our first youth chairs; we did an internal evaluation (see here for more on that); we reviewed the research on youth engagement and youth voice; and a small group of us synthesized this into a set of specific changes to make and points on which to double down. These are our current focus areas for improving youth participation and voice on the management board.
- Expect high quality youth-adult partnerships. Every team (directors, standing committees, event planning teams) within the management board will use Hart's Ladder to be mindful of developing strong youth-adult partnerships.
- Create a pipeline for youth members. We will help youth management board committee members prepare for larger leadership roles over time. We will help youth plan for positions on the management board as a pinnacle 4-H leadership experience, much like becoming a State Ambassador.
- Be more visible. We're making a point of being present at area and state events and finding ways to broaden our communications.
- Make youth directorship manageable. This one is challenging. We are considering ideas like having a coach for each youth director and having youth/adult co-directors. We proactively avoid the need for tribal knowledge so that new directors can quickly get up to speed. Part of this is creating role binders with processes for managing existing events, and for creating new programs.
- Prioritize youth voice in decisions. We're actively working to prevent poor youth-adult partnership strategies like tokenism and manipulation (see Hart's Ladder) and educating our directors and committees to recognize them. Our youth directors and youth committee members are our primary representatives of 4-H'er voice. When developing plans, like our proposal for the transition from sectional conferences to area Youth Summits, we will use tools like focus groups for broader youth inclusion.
4-H is powerful in part because it is youth-led
As the management board develops, we're committed to designing for inclusion. We'll re-evaluate over time and hope to arrive at a better place soon.
You can see this article in its original form and comment on it in Curtis's Facebook post (You do not have to have a Facebook account to read the post, but you will have to log in to Facebook to comment.)
- Author: Emma Simpson
- Editor: Martin Smith
Youth from 4-H programs in Yuba and Sutter counties participated in the recently-completed Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease (MZAD) Project by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). As part of this project, they tested bio-security risk assessment and mitigation procedures, and helped formulate changes to decrease the potential of pathogen transmission at their county fair.
Tour of UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
On November 1, 2017, 12 4-H youth, their parents, and 4-H Program Representative, Tracy Bishop, came to UC Davis to tour its Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital. The tour was presented as a thank you to the youth for not only participating in the project, but to acknowledge their efforts in making on-farm and at-fair practices.
The tour began by viewing the surgery recovery barn for large animals and continued by viewing the MRI and CT scanning rooms. In the Small Animal Clinic, youth viewed dog bone x-rays and the pantry where dietitians make special meals based on an animal's recovery, dietary, and food allergy needs.
The tour also included an emphasis on veterinary research that occurs in the hospital. “UC Davis prides itself in the research done throughout the campus. Would any of you be interested in doing research in the future?” the guide asked. The tour guide didn't know that these youth had already been involved in research through their involvement in the MZAD Project! Through their involvement, these youth tested bio-security practices that focused on keeping animals and people healthy.
The guide concluded the tour by admiring the youth's achievements, adding that she hoped some of them will continue their studies at UC Davis in the future.
- Wyatt Coffman
- Holden Hicks
- Elsie Serger
- Kaitlyn Johnson
- Jessica Deagostini
- Emily Harryman
- Linzee Degraff
- Haley Hicks
- Weston Coffman
- Mason Serger
Supplementary Video Extension Project: Bio-security at Fairs
In collaboration with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Davis developed three informational videos that summarize bio-security risks and recommendations to improve practices. All three videos feature 4-H'ers and their animals.
If you would like to feature these videos on your organizations' website, please contact Martin Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Youth Livestock Exhibitors
Focusing on bio-security risk assessment and mitigation strategies, and recommendations for implementing these procedures on farm and at fair.
A highly visible Public Service Announcement highlighting hygiene and other risk mitigating practices that will help educate visitors at fairs throughout California.
Focusing on recommendations for bio-security procedures and policies that will support risk mitigation at California fairs and exhibitions./h3>/h3>/h3>/h2>/h2>
- Author: Santiago Piva
- Author: Fiona Reyes
The 4-H Youth Development Program (4-H) and Google are coming together for a first-of-kind collaboration to bring computer science, computational thinking, communication, and collaboration skills to kids across the country, establishing a 4-H Computer Science (CS) Career Pathway.
The goal of the collaboration between 4-H and Google is to empower the next generation to succeed in any career field. Beyond the technical skills, learning CS builds skills in a wide range of important areas, including problem solving, digital fluency, and creativity.
Starting in Santa Clara County
During this first year, we hope reach an estimated 700 youth across Santa Clara County, mentor new teen leaders, have more 4-H adult volunteers leading CS projects in their community clubs, provide opportunities for non-traditional audiences to learn more about 4-H and computer science, and expand the scope of 4-H in Santa Clara County.
Expanding to other counties
We are working on a project plan that other counties can use to start their own CS programs. Our goal for this is to have 10 counties launching projects in July 2018. We'll be offering trainings for interested teen and adult leaders.
Fill out the interest survey for CS Pathways to learn more, stay informed, and give input to the development of the CS program statewide.
Meet our 4-H Computer Science Pathways team
4-H Teen Leaders Fiona Reyes and Santiago Piva are working with Google employee and 4-H volunteer Curtis Ullerich; Santa Clara County 4-H Program Representative Claudia Damiani; and 4-H Youth Development Program Advisor Fe Moncloa.
We are very excited for the upcoming year! There are so many different opportunities in computer science and we would like to invite you to come and explore them with us. In addition to the ten-week long computer science project, we will be hosting computer science booths at festivals and fairs, leading computer science activities at club meetings, giving workshop presentations at 4-H and non 4-H conferences, and much more!