- 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!
- Author: John Borba
This year, for the first time ever, a 4-H Western Heritage team from California attended the National 4-H Western Heritage Conference and Championship Shoot, held August 1 – 3, 2017 in historic Fort Benton, Montana. Seven 4-H members from Kern County and one from Santa Clara travelled to Fort Benton to participate in the program.
Experiencing Old West lifestyles and cultures
The 4-H Western Heritage Project combines a comprehensive study of the Old West with the fastest growing shooting sports discipline in the world – western action shooting. The purpose of this project is to provide an avenue for 4-H members and adult leaders to experience the lifestyles and cultures of the Old West from the period of around 1860-1900 through a living history approach to learning while instilling the concepts of firearms safety and personal responsibility. Members dress in Old West clothing, shoot replica firearms of the frontier period, and expand their knowledge of U.S. history. More information and a video of the event is available on their site, http://www.4-hwesternheritageproject.org/
Preparing for the event
California team results
Congratulations to the following 4-H members who placed at the event:
Junior Division - Girls Interview Skills
4th Place EmmaLee Lindley Kern County
Senior Division - Girls Interview Skills
3rd Place Christine Lindley Kern County
5th Place Hope Lindley Kern County
Senior Division – Boys Interview Skills
3rd Place Thomas Aquino Santa Clara County
Senior Division – Rimfire Shooting
4th Place Garrett Hawks Kern County
Senior Division – Historical Testing
1st Place Thomas Aquino Santa Clara County
Senior Division – Overall Top Hand
3rd Place Thomas Aquino Santa Clara County
5th Place Garrett Hawks Kern County
Join the California 4-H Western Heritage Team!
California is one of nine states across the country with an active 4-H Western Heritage program. If you are interested in joining this team, please contact John Borba, 4-H Youth Development Advisor, at email@example.com or (661) 868-6216.
- Author: Kate Lyn Sutherland
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
Over 200 youth participants attended State Leadership Conference (SLC) on July 20-23 at UC Davis. The SLC Planning Committee came up with the theme, "DRIVE-Find your place on the map." The focus of the conference was on finding what is important to you, making a plan and getting there.
Alumni join the Opening Kickoff
The 4-H Foundation invited alumni and friends to an Alumni and Friends Nite Out just before the start of SLC. After an early dinner at a nearby restaurant, they joined the youth delegates at the Opening Kickoff. Socializing and networking between youth and alumni was a highlight for both sides!
Keynote Speaker: Houston Kraft
Houston gave a dynamic presentation on "Making Kindness Normal" to our young leaders. Houston is a professional speaker, leadership consultant, and kindness advocate who speaks to middle schools, high schools, colleges, and businesses across the country. He has spoken to nearly a half a million people nationwide at nearly 500 events and counting. He believes that real change comes through more than just motivation, so he has created tools like CharacterStrong and conversations like the Choose Love Movement to make sure that his work isn't just about good feelings or a positive message - it's about making real, practical, sustainable change. http://www.houstonkraft.com/
Covering topics ranging from Mindfulness to Bullying Prevention
Participants attended assemblies, workshops, and recreational events while networking with 4-H'ers from all across California. Workshops covered topics like mindfulness, robotics, bullying prevention and more. All of the workshops and activities were planned entirely by youth volunteers on the SLC Planning Team.
For more photos and to see video highlights of the event, see the SLC event page.
Planning for SLC in 2018 is starting!