- Author: Curtis Ullerich
The California 4-H Youth Summits are three-day leadership conferences held at four locations throughout the state. They are designed to grow the leadership abilities of intermediate 4-H members (ages 11-13) and give hands-on leadership opportunities to senior 4-H members (ages 14+). Details and registration are on the 4-H Youth Summit event site.
Tell me about the Youth Summit. What kinds of things will participants do and learn?
Raedyn: It's an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your passions. Thinking about that now can give you a leg up once you get to high school.
Casey: We'll have hikes, workshops with different guest speakers, sessions to learn leadership skills and ways of finding your passion.
Raedyn: They'll learn about communication, teamwork, the six Cs--
Curtis: --the sixties?
Casey: no, the six C's!
(The six C's are Competence, Confidence, Character, Caring, Connection, and Contribution.)
The theme for the Youth Summits this year is "ripples of today, waves of tomorrow." Tell me about that.
Raedyn: They'll learn how to advocate for themselves and the things they're passionate about. It'll help kids discover and delve into what they're excited about learning.
What'll they learn about advocacy?
Raedyn: They'll learn about understanding issues in the grand scheme of things but also on a personal level, so they can take it into their communities now or in the future. I know as a middle schooler you feel kinda like, with all these big issues "oh my gosh, well, I have to wait until I'm older to do something about that", but the thing is, they don't really have to wait. They can find ways to do things in their community to help out right now. I think that's important; that's one of the things we talk about in the planning meetings is making sure to keep it Big and Local.
Curtis: how do you keep something both big and local?
Raedyn: You talk about the big issue: This is what's going on overall, and these are some things you can do to help.
Curtis: Ah, so saying that you can make a difference without solving the whole problem.
What's the atmosphere at the Youth Summit going to be like?
Casey: It'll be a balance of learning and fun, like camp. There'll be times when you're listening and taking in information and there are times that are more interactive and doing things with others outside.
Raedyn: It's gonna have more variety than other leadership conferences because you'll have choices about which workshops to do. That ties into the fact that they're gonna be finding their passion, so if they find something that interests them they can do that instead of other courses that they might not enjoy as much.
The planning team is mostly 4-H youth. How does that impact what the event will be like?
Raedyn: It's fun planning a whole conference from the ground up. I've never done something that big. That seems pretty cool to me.
Casey: We're working with staff and adults from the Management Board. We get to choose what we focus on. We know what 4-H events are like and what we would want to do at a conference, so we try to keep it fun and learn about the things that are important to us.
I hear there's a session called the Leadership Lab. What's that going to be like?
Raedyn: It's a longer activity, more hands-on. It uses teamwork and gives everyone a chance to practice a leadership skill that's important to them. It's going to be very hands-on and engaging. We're trying to live up to last year, because the surveys were like "we love the leadership lab!" so we've gotta live up to that.
You can also attend the Youth Summit if you are 14 or older. What will their experience be like?
Casey: They're called facilitators, which is a lot like staff at other events. You attend, but you are helping out.
Raedyn: They'll make sure kids are on task, help them with activities. We'll assign some to be cabin heads, have them do head counts and stuff during breakfast, make sure everyone has eaten. We need people to help us execute what we're planning.
If I'm thinking about going but don't know someone else who's attending should I still sign up?
Raedyn: Along with educational sessions we're also gonna have recreation time and time for kids to socialize. They can make important connections by coming because they'll meet kids from all over the area.
Casey: Even if you don't know someone who's going you'll still meet people and make connections.
Raedyn: We're trying our best to make it a welcoming environment for everyone to meet new people.
More information about each summit is on the 4-H Youth Summit Event site.
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
- Author: Nathan Chi
Towards the end of National 4-H Week this year, from October 11 to 14, our California 4-H Horticulture team competed at the 2019 National Junior Horticulture Association Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska. The event took place at the Lincoln Marriott-Cornhusker Hotel, and consisted of 9 Teams and 143 individual registered attendees.
Their coach, Dr. Terry Berke, shared photos and their team results with us. The team members qualified at the Horticulture Contest at State Field Day in June. What a short time to practice together! Big thanks and kudos to Dr. Berke for bringing together a cohesive—and winning —team! We also want to thank two of our sponsors, Dean Memorial Legacy Fund and the Farm Credit Bureau, for their support to help our team participate in this national competition.
The team participated in a variety of workshops and tours to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Lauritzen Gardens. This biological park leads the nation's conservation efforts. It houses the world's largest indoor desert and the largest indoor rainforest in North America. Convention events included contests in horticultural demonstratinos, public and extemporaneous speaking, and horticulture judging and identification. They also had a photography exhibition and evaluation of projects in environmental awareness, experimental horticulture, and marketing.
The California 4-H team finished third overall in the competition. Nathan Chi (Santa Clara County) was the first place 4-H individual! All of the other team members also placed in this national competition: Hollie Schneider (San Joaquin County)-11th, Emily Wouts (Contra Costa County) -14th, and Collin Robinson-Burmester (Yolo County) -20th.
I was honored to represent the State of California as part of the 4-H State Horticulture Team at the 2019 National Junior Horticultural Association Convention in Lincoln. It was exciting for me to not only test my horticulture knowledge, but to also meet new people with similar interests and learn from experienced horticulturists on tours and workshops.
The convention is an opportunity for youth passionate about horticulture. Each year's highlight is the Horticulture Identification Contest, where we identify 100 different plant samples. We also answer 80 multiple choice questions (which can about many horticultural topics, ranging from turf to propagation) and complete a judging section, where we grade plants by quality and uniformity.
Every year, each team has a display highlighting the agricultural products of their home state. Our theme this year was citrus fruits since California is a major producer.
Dr. Berke coached our team and provided several 3-hour-long practice sessions for us throughout the summer. We also spent many hours studying on our own. I'm excited to say that our team finished 3rd in the Horticulture Identification contest and 3rd in the state display contest. I'm even more excited to say that I individually placed 1st in the Horticulture Identification contest!
- Author: Fiona Reyes
- Author: Ethan Auyeung
- Author: Megna Nayar
For the second year in a row, the Computer Science Pathway Team of the University of California Cooperative Extension's (UCCE) 4-H Youth Development Program of Santa Clara County held an event for National Youth Science Day (NYSD). The team's event took place on Sunday, October 20th at Google's campus in Sunnyvale. The event was open to 4-H'ers and the public. Thirty-five youth participated in this NYSD event.
Each youth participated in three sessions, one for each of the Game Changers computer science activities created by Google and West Virginia Extension Service for NYSD. The activities were a mix of unplugged and plugged activities that involved running around playing games, completing puzzles, working with others, sharing your passions, and more. The teens from the Computer Science Pathway team had a big part in organizing the event and taught all sessions. They were assisted by the UCCE Santa Clara County 4-H Youth Development office, adult volunteers, and Google volunteers.
Fiona Reyes (17) and Omar Khan (13) led the session for Hack Your Harvest, an unplugged activity with connections to agriculture that involves learning about efficiency and programming through puzzles.
Ethan Auyeung (16) led the session on an activity called Pitch your Passion that focused on teaching participants how to advocate for their passions with the help of computer science. This was a plugged activity where children experimented with Scratch, an online program where users are introduced to the world of coding.
Megna Nayar (14) led the Program Your Playground activity where youth learned about the computational thinking concept of conditionals, statements that include “if”, “then”, and “else” and are used in real life and in computer programming to answer a question. Next, youth participants worked in teams to create their own versions of conditional tag and learned how computer science can help youth be more active and healthier and be fun.
Participants received a “raffle ticket” throughout the event for participating or helping. At the end of the event, everyone gathered for raffle prizes and reflection. Many youth participants said that this event helped them realize that computer science wasn't just about sitting behind a computer and that it could be applied to many things. One young girl shared “I learned that computer science is not just typing on a computer.” Youth also expressed an interest in expanding their knowledge on computer science and Scratch. One boy shared “I like to program engineer stuff,” and another young girl stated; “I learned how to use Scratch. It is really fun!” Some youth were even interested in beginning their own projects at their 4-H clubs.
It was great for the Santa Clara County CS Pathway Team to hear all the positive feedback because that was one of the main goals of the event: to give youth exposure to computer science and to show its connections to the real world!
Many youth participants said that this event helped them realize that computer science wasn't just about sitting behind a computer and that it could be applied to many things.
- Author: Maura Sparrevohn
Hello, my name is Maura Sparrevohn, and I was a California 4-H State Ambassador for the 2018-2019 program year. This last April, I was selected to attend the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. If it wasn't for the scholarship from Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, I might never have been able to attend this conference, or connect with 4-H youth from outside of California. As someone who had never before been outside of California's borders, having the opportunity to experience a whole new place—brimming with people I never would have met otherwise—was an amazing experience.
National 4-H Conference: Roundtable on Adolescent Mental Health
During this near week-long conference, I had the opportunity to collaborate with 4-H youth from across the country on a roundtable group focusing on the mental health of adolescence in the United States. We were then able to present to the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) under the National Organization for Health and Human Services. Through this presentation, our team of diverse youth was able to voice our own concerns regarding the state of mental health in our peers. We were also able to provide the OAH with our own suggestions to combat the issue of stigma surrounding mental illness among American youth.
Invited to Collaborate on Social Media and Mental Health
Early this summer, and because of my involvement with the HHS, I was invited back to D.C., where I shared my perspective on how social media affects the mental health of my peers. I was one of 6 youth respondents selected from the U.S. to participate in this meeting organized by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs.
Through this once in a lifetime opportunity, I collaborated alongside Candice Odgers and Jean Twenge, both top researchers in their respective fields of psychology, to compare their findings to my own experiences with social media usage and how it relates to my own mental health as well as that of other youth who use social media. I was able to share my perspective on how the state of your mental health can be reflected through your personal social media usage. By practicing intentional social media usage and mindful habits, you can make positive impacts on yourself and others while connecting to your individuality. I also see it as a creative outlet that can connect individuals and provide all sorts of resources to provide connectedness, education, and opportunities to promote positive change for anything you may be passionate about.
Co-hosting a live Twitter Chat
Following my engagement in this meeting, the group of youth was asked to collaborate even further to propose a way to share what we had learned with others in our communities. We decided that the best way to share our knowledge of intentional social media use was taking to social media in a live and interactive way. On August 14th, we partnered with #ICanHelp and youth.gov to host a live Twitter Chat. Questions and tips were posted while Twitter users engaged and shared their perspective. Participants were able to interact with one another while sharing knowledge on how to be more mindful and intentional with how they use social media! For anyone interested in the postings, or reading what participants had to say, check out #mindfulsocialchat on Twitter!
Take the leap!
The skills I have gained and the connections I have made after initially going to National Conference have impacted my life in such a positive way. I was someone who was very nervous about flying all the way to the other side of the country, but I am so glad I did. I encourage other 4-Hers who may feel the same way to take the leap and apply for National Conference 2020. The experience is one that I know I will continue to positively reflect on, and I hope the same for all of you!
Apply by November 5, 2019
National 4-H Conference 2020
March 28- April 4, 2020
See the National 4-H Conference event page for more information and to apply.
- Author: Anna Regalado
- Author: Fe Moncloa
To celebrate the National Youth Science Day (NYSD) challenge in October, the 4-H Youth Development Program in Santa Clara County offered two peer teaching NYSD events, where teens taught younger youth physical activities and puzzles from Game Changers, a computational thinking curriculum created by Google and the West Virginia Extension Service. In education, computational thinking refers to problem solving processes involved in expressing solutions as a sequence of steps that can be carried out by a computer.
October 4th: NYSD at Escuela Popular
The first event was held on October 4th at Escuela Popular Dual Language Learning Academy in San Jose, California, thanks to a grant from National 4-H Council in partnership with Lockheed Martin.
In preparation for their event, 4th graders learned from Spanish-speaking teens, Hack Your Harvest, a puzzle where children learned the concepts of optimal efficiency to figure out the fastest way to take a tractor to the barn. The first few puzzles are relatively easy; they grow in complexity as obstacles are added, and children need to pick up lettuce as well. For the NYSD event, the 4th graders created their own puzzles to teach 5th graders. Concurrently, 5th graders learned Program Your Playground, a physical activity where children learn the use of conditional statements while developing multiple games of “tag” that also grew in complexity. The 5th graders created their own games to teach to the 4th graders.
On the day of the event, 71 fourth and fifth grade students engaged in peer teaching. They learned the intersection of technology with agriculture, and how computer science and computational thinking play an important role in linking the two. These students were mentored by 13 Teen Teachers.
While all activities were taught in Spanish, during implementation the Teen Teachers coached youth in two languages.
Through observation, participating students increased their science literacy and gained valuable skills in leadership, communication, and positive peer interaction. In the near future, Teen Teachers, or Maestros Jovenes will continue to expand youth's computational thinking concepts to cultivate their problem solving skills, and interest and skills in computer science.
We hope we can inspire youth to reach beyond what they thought they were capable of, and get to witness the amazing things they achieve when they do.
October 20th: NYSD at Google Complex
The second event was held on October 20th at the Google Complex in Sunnyvale, thanks to a grant from National 4-H in partnership with Google. To prepare for this event, four teens met weekly to plan the event. Each teen was in charge of teaching one of the NYSD activities. This event was open to the public. More than 50% of the participants were not already enrolled in 4-H.