Junge, who retired in 2009 after nearly 40 years of working with UC ANR's 4-H Youth Development Program, was among 16 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on Oct. 9 in Chevy Chase, Md.
“Sharon is fully invested in 4-H and the powerful impact 4-H makes on the lives of youth, families and communities,” said Shannon Horrillo, associate director of 4-H Program and Policy.
The 2015 National 4-H Hall of Fame honoree became a 4-H youth development and nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Placer and Nevada counties in 1972. She became county director for those counties in 1985. By the end of her career, Junge was ANR's Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative leader and acting director of the UC 4-H Youth Development Program.
“As an emeritus advisor she continues to develop curricula for youth nutrition education and supports and mentors 4-H Youth Development academics and staff,” Horrillo said. “She continues to be a trusted colleague whose knowledge and expertise is valued and consulted.”
Most notably, Junge was a pioneer in afterschool programming, developing the first 4-H afterschool programs run by 4-H and Cooperative Extension in the nation and the largest California effort to reach more Latino youth in 4-H. More than 1,500 youth were reached annually in Placer and Nevada counties with a yearly budget of over $1.5 million.
Her state afterschool expertise led to her work at the national level on several projects, including director of one the 4-H Afterschool Centers for Action (1991-1995), and a member of the National Extension Network for Child Care Board (1995-1999), USDA's Extension CARES Initiative Steering Committee (1999-2003), the National School-age Editorial Board (2001-2002), and the Leadership Team for National 4-H Afterschool. She has written extensively on these projects and her curricula and evaluation findings are cited in many other works on afterschool programming. She authored other National Extension System afterschool resources such as Reaching Out to and Meeting the Needs of Diverse Audiences and Teens as Volunteer Leaders…Recruiting and Training Teens to Work with Younger Youth in Afterschool Programs and co-authored three other curricula with the National 4-H Leadership team that are used in 42 states.
Expanding on her 4-H afterschool work, Junge served as co-principal investigator for the multi-year Youth Experiences in Science project funded by the National Science Foundation ($980,000). As the 4-H Program Leader, she continued her efforts in afterschool and science education securing a grant to co-develop “Tools of the Trade I and II, Inspiring Young Minds to be SET Ready for Life,” which allowed 4-H to provide professional development to afterschool providers and enrich the experiences of nearly 114,000 youth statewide and countless more nationally.
With Junge's leadership, the 4-H SET Leadership Team launched the state's 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Initiative. She provided expertise to secure funding to develop the “There's No New Water!” curriculum, a five-year CYFAR project focused on science through gardening, and other SET projects, resources and training.
She also launched California's Healthy Living Initiative. In 2010, Junge secured a $1.2 million gift to strengthen the 4-H club program through 4-H Thrive, which integrated cutting-edge research on positive youth development and growth mindset. This gift resulted in youth leadership development projects that reached 8,500 youth and 2,000 adult volunteers who contributed 9,746 hours of volunteer service to their communities. The volunteer service is valued at $1,101,267, essentially doubling the value of the initial gift of this ongoing project.
During the ceremony, honorees were presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book.