Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

News Stories

June 6, 2008
CONTACT: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 646-6074, jewarnert@ucdavis.edu

UCCE 4-H Youth Development program fills summer hours

4-H'ers Kyle and Brady Baldwin donated 10,000 books.
4-H'ers Kyle and Brady Baldwin donated 10,000 books.

School’s out, but many children keep learning in 4-H programs, cultural exchanges and summer jobs. One major thrust of University of California Cooperative Extension is its legendary 4-H Youth Development Program. 4HYD isn’t just for rural kids, it offers a wide variety of leadership and learning opportunities to all California youth. For more information, visit the California 4-H Web site at http://www.ca4h.org/ or the local county UC Cooperative Extension office, listed in the county government pages of phone books. Here are stories of California youth whose lives are being shaped by 4-H involvement:



4-H'ers making a difference: Baldwin brothers donate 10,000 books
They love books and want others to enjoy them too — especially kids who've never had a book of their very own. Suisun Valley 4-H Club members Kyle Baldwin and his brother Brady, launched a 4-H program, “My Own Book,” in early 2006 to donate books to underprivileged youngsters in Solano County schools. On May 19, Kyle, now 17, and Brady, now 15, gave away their 10,000th donated book, this time to the Bransford Elementary School in Fairfield, which was also the first school to receive their gifts. "This is so good for us," said Bransford Elementary School principal Justine Turner as she looked over the more than 400 books the boys delivered that day. Said Sally Baldwin, the boys’ mother: “They don’t just give away books; they read and act out the books to share their love of reading. Then, they talk about the public library and show off their library cards. Next, they let the children pick out a brand new book of their very own and then the teens add a bookplate to each book with the child’s name on it.” The boys, who maintain a Web site (www.myownbook.net), receive donations from individuals, booksellers and some grant support. Their 16-year-old friends Gerry and Javier Mendez, natives of Peru and fluent in Spanish, have helped with the project since June 2006. Kyle, the 2008 Solano County 4-H All-Star Ambassador, is also on the California 4-H State Foundation. Brady serves as the Solano County 4-H Leaders’ Council youth representative and is a member of the Solano Cluster Leadership Team.  For more information, contact Kyle and Brady at (707) 864-4046, kyleandbrady@myownbook.net. Tip by Kathy Keatley Garvey, (530) 754-6894, kegarvey@ucdavis.edu.
California 4-H youth travel overseas for a cultural exchange
This summer, 19 4-H youth are going overseas for cultural exchange programs in Japan, Australia and Finland. The one-month exchange in Japan, with 14 participants, runs from July 9 to Aug. 7. Six of those teens will also participate in a language program in Tokyo from June 12 to July 8. The Finland trip, involving two young people, is June 13 to July 15. Three youth are going to Australia from June 18 to July 17. The students are departing on their adventures from a variety of California counties:
Japan – Colusa, El Dorado, Mariposa, Mendocino, Nevada, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Sutter and Yolo counties
Finland – Stanislaus and Trinity counties
Australia – Lake and San Bernardino counties
The California 4-H global travel program sends California youth overseas on even years and welcomes visitors from foreign counties to 4-H homes on odd years. All of the traveling delegates, ranging in age from 14 to 19, were required to interview with the state 4-H office before they were accepted into the program. They attended an all-day orientation where they presented a research project related to their destination countries and they will take a “culture project” with them to help their host families learn about American culture. “Thousands of young people have been involved in the 4-H cultural exchange over the years,” said Pat English, the 4-H International Exchange coordinator. “They learn to work, live and play with people from diverse cultures.” For more information or to contact 4-H members who are traveling overseas, contact English, (530) 754-8520, pnenglish@ucdavis.edu. Tip by Jeannette Warnert, (559) 241-7514, jwarnert@ucop.edu.
4-H’ers will walk for health
Nearly 100 4-H members will participate in a Walk for Health to raise awareness and money for health-related charities on Saturday, June 28, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. 4-H members from 18 California counties will walk laps around Capitol Park in Sacramento. The 4-H members will donate the funds they raise to health-related charities in their respective counties. Using pedometers donated by Sutter Institute for Medical Research, the youth will be able to keep track of the distance they walk. After the walk, they will learn the health benefits of walking from Lorrene Ritchie, a UC Berkeley obesity researcher at The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health. The health awareness activities are part of California Focus, an annual five-day 4-H conference in Sacramento that provides high school students from throughout the state an opportunity to learn more about California history, participate in government simulations, address current issues, and enhance their youth service skills. For more information or to contact participating 4-H members, contact Pat English, (530) 754-8520, pnenglish@ucdavis.edu. Tip by Pam Kan-Rice, (510) 987-0043, pamela.kan-rice@ucop.edu.
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources also addresses issues related to youth outside of the 4-H program:
Public works projects are most effective job training for youth
Programs designed to provide job training for young people work best when they focus on public works projects such as restoring parks and natural areas, and other community-improvements, a study in California Agriculture journal found. “These types of projects generate skills and pride among young people, while providing much-needed services for the community,” said David Campbell, director of the California Communities Program at UC Davis. In the study, Campbell and colleagues analyzed California programs funded by the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and implemented by local boards. Using focus groups and comparative case studies (including studies of the Conservation Corps in Orange County, Checkers Restaurant in Butte County, and the Summer Brush Clearance Program in the city of Glendale), the authors identified three characteristics of successful public works initiatives for youth:
  • combining employment preparation with social services and personal support
  • grouping youth in cohorts that work and learn together
  • providing caring adult supervision that combines discipline and support

“Proactive investments in high-quality programs with these characteristics can reduce the growing number of out-of-school, out-of-work youth in California, save future public costs for the criminal justice and social service systems, and provide youth with meaningful employment opportunities,” the authors concluded. In 2003, more than 638,000 California young people between 16 and 24 years old were out of school and unemployed, yet federal funding for youth training programs has declined dramatically since the 1970s. The peer-reviewed study was published in the January-March 2008 issue of California Agriculture. For the full text, go to: http://californiaagriculture.ucop.edu/0801JFM/toc.html. Tip by Janet Byron, (510) 642-2431 ext. 19, janet.byron@ucop.edu.


4-H'ers Kyle and Brady Baldwin donated 10,000 books.

Webmaster Email: jewarnert@ucanr.edu