- (Public Value) UCANR: Developing an inclusive and equitable society
- Author: Joseph Rowlands
- Editor: Suzanne Morikawa
Editor Note: The following essay was submitted by Joseph Rowlands for a 4-H scholarship from the Napa County 4-H Council.
4-H has had a drastic impact on my life. Having been born with cerebral palsy meant that I required many therapies on a weekly basis. I always needed people to assist me physically with activities. This meant that I didn't have much confidence in myself.
I joined 4-H at the age of eleven and raised two goats. Suddenly I was responsible for the care and well-being of two living things. They didn't care whether I was as strong as my peers, they just wanted food and water. I found that my strength improved, my confidence grew and I loved showing at the fair, even though I still required an assistant to help me control the goat. The next year I showed all by myself and placed! I realized then that I could do anything, my disability would not stop me. I didn't need a first place ribbon to feel like a winner, I was one as I was as capable as everyone else. 4-H gave me the confidence to believe in my own abilities.
The summer after middle school, I attended 4-H camp, having never been away from home before. My oxygen requirements have always meant that people were nervous to have me without my mother, just in case something went wrong. 4-H was amazing and said, “of course I could attend,” and they bent over backwards to make the week happen. This was my first experience being away from home. It started to put a seed in my head: “I could go away to college. I am capable of leaving home and I will be fine.” I will be moving to Sonoma State in the fall, living on campus. Close enough that I can still keep my regular doctors, yet independent. 4-H helped me to be independent.
I have been a member of Valley Ranchers 4-H since I was eleven years old. I have raised goats and steers. I used to be mentored by the older youths in the program and now I am one of the mentors. I have been involved in various projects through 4-H, such as the robotics club, arts and crafts, summer camp, presentation day, favorite food day and various other activities. Over the years I decided that I wanted to be more than just a member and joined as an officer. I became Club Treasurer for two years, then I became Club Co-President for two years, this year I am Club President. I am a Napa County 4-H Ambassador and I am also on the Napa County 4-H council as the member at large.
Involved in my community
Prior to COVID, I was involved in the robotics club at Justin-Siena High School. I was also in the choir at my church and very involved in the youth group. Unfortunately, once Covid-19 started, I had to give up most of my extracurricular activities. Over the years I have done a lot of volunteering work. I was one of the teen leaders of a STEM event at the Boys & Girls Club. I have been a Vacation Bible School counselor for various summers since middle school at Saint Apollinaris Catholic Church. I was a tribe leader at the 4-H summer camp in Angwin. I volunteered through Gigg at the Community Projects Christmas tree sale every year since middle school. I handed out water to runners on Thanksgiving mornings at the Turkey Trot held at the Napa Valley College, amongst other activities.
Technology and Robotics
Technology has a way of making the world accessible for people like me who have disabilities. From a young age I learned to program robots and I see the potential use of robotics to better our world. Robotics has uses in many ways: from the medical field, to the car industry, to assisting people with disabilities in leading a more independent life. I decided that I would like to pursue a career in technology and I hope to narrow down a specific field during these next four years of college.
I will be attending Sonoma State University and majoring in Computer Science. This scholarship would change my life. It would help to open doors to me that have previously been closed. As a recipient of a 4-H scholarship, I would utilize this scholarship to help with my college expenses such as my tuition, room, board and books.
Supportive 4-H Leaders
As for the 4-H leaders I have come into contact with, they are so numerous to mention. I have had nothing but amazing 4-H leaders who have supported me throughout my 4-H career:
- Jennifer Wade-Yeo, Valley Ranchers 4-H leader who has believed in me and encouraged me to try out for officer positions, ambassador positions and the 4-H council. She has always been such a great mentor, without her encouragement I am not sure I would have applied.
- Tammy Hill, who believed in me and my abilities and encouraged me to not only enjoy camp as a camper but to come back and be a tribe leader! I don't know if I would have had the confidence to try for tribe leader without your encouragement. Again, when you were interviewing me for the Ambassador position and I stumbled through my interview, you helped me find some talking points helping me through the process.
- Mrs. Maria Thomason, the Robotics leader, has always been so encouraging.
- Jennifer Goodrich who has been awesome in the leadership group
- Jennifer Jensen who has been amazing with the leadership project and the ambassador group!
- Of course Paul Tarap has been another mentor that could not go without being mentioned. He is a 4-H leader and he is the Ag4Youth leader, but I could not mention one group without the other as I would not have been in 4-H without Ag4Youth.
I know I am missing leaders that I have had interactions with, but I honestly could not talk about one leader standing out over anyone else as 4-H only has amazing leaders (at least in my experience). Everyone I have been in contact with has truly been a wonderful role model, encouraging and willing to bend over backwards to help.
Update from Tammy Hill, 4-H Volunteer for Napa County 4-H Camp
Joseph will be receiving the Polly Wagenknecht Memorial Scholarship from the Napa County 4-H Council.
- Author: María José Godoy
The California 4-H Management Board was established in 2016, after the previous State Council structure concluded its functions. At that time, a group of volunteers accepted the challenge to continue the mission of the Council, which aimed to strengthen the 4-H program and provide leadership for programming at the regional level. The Management Board centered its efforts on giving structure to this new group and took responsibility for several activities, including Area Presentation Days and Youth Summits. The main goal of the Management Board has been to strengthen the educational outcomes of these events and ensure that we're reaching a targeted group of youth across the Northern, Central, Bay/Coast and Southern Areas.
Over time, we have seen these activities grow organizationally, thanks to the valuable contribution of our dedicated youth and adult volunteers serving on planning teams and committees, as well as our committed 4-H staff members.
Area Presentation Days:
- Unified the evaluation and award systems of the Area Presentation Days across the state.
- Became the first statewide 4-H event to transition to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These activities were an example of innovation within 4-H, helping to develop online State Presentation Days.
- Advocated for the foundation of the new Public Speaking Advisory Committee, which will now include the organization of both Area and State Presentation Days.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
- Unified the educational content of all Youth Summits across the State.
- Implemented an organizational structure that allowed each area's planning team to interact and learn best practices from each other.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
Since 2016, we have been responsible for organizing over 60 events in total, with a yearly participation of more than 1,100 youth and volunteers from over approximately 40 counties.
As we recently stated in the January Newsletter, the termination of the California 4-H Management Board took effect on January 31, 2021. Many of our Board members will continue volunteering at 4-H in support of the Area Presentation Days or Youth Summits, dedicating efforts to grow and improve these and other activities.
Finally, we want to recognize the work and dedication of all current and former California 4-H Management Board Directors: Curtis Ullerich, Sarah Lloyd, Susan Garcia, Ed Ho, Kelly Violini, Bailey Walvoord, Ryan Cleland, Joslyn Campos, Trent Baldwin, John Trammell, Ethan Ho, Aubrey Stacy, Shannon Kane, Kate Lyn Sutherland, Vera Bullard, Carolyn Abrams, Betty Lucas, Serafina Martinez, Anna Sorensen and María José Godoy.
Special thanks to 4-H Staff liaisons for trusting in us and helping us in our mission: Gemma Miner, Jenna Colburn, Bernadette Ramirez, Suzanne Morikawa, Darlene Ruiz and Whitney Bell.
To all of them, and to the many youth and adult volunteers that helped us in our mission during these years - thank you!
- Author: Mia Wesselkamper
- Author: Millie Wright
In response to current shelter-in-place restrictions, two 4-H members created a virtual voting platform that can be replicated and customized to fit the needs of any interested 4-H club. It consists of:
- A website platform for the actual election process;
- An election video to allow club members watch the nominee's speeches;
- An online customizable ballot that provides voter IDs;
- Paper ballots for members who are voting offline.
This great program was created by Mia and Millie from Independence 4-H in Sebastopol, Sonoma County.
"One 'spark' we both share is leadership—we enjoy leading our club as well as working to encourage more youth to lead in various ways. Because of this, elections are a very important part of our club.”
From Mia and Millie:
We had already started our nomination process at our March meeting and club members were really enthusiastic about nominations and becoming a club officer. When the California Shelter in Place happened, we realized after a few days at home that we needed a way to have an election but still make it fun, interactive, and empowering. We wanted to ensure that our club members would not lose that interest and that is why we started the online election platform together.
We both have been part of 4-H for many years. Mia has been involved in 4-H since kindergarten and is now a junior. She participated in a variety of 4-H projects this year including: Rabbits, Outdoor Adventure, Soapmaking, and Woodcarving, and was a Teen Leader for Rabbits and Scientific Literacy. I, Millie, joined 4-H in third grade and am now a freshman. This year I did the Archery and Soapmaking projects, and was Teen Leader for Record Books and Beginning 4H.
Helping Other Clubs set up a Virtual Election
We have turned this into an Emerald Star Project by inviting other clubs from Sonoma County to use the template we created. We gave the interested clubs all the tools for them to customize the template for their elections. We are now hoping to help clubs statewide.
The 4-H motto is “learn by doing,” and not only did we create the template so club exec boards could run their own elections (it is a very user-friendly platform), but we have learned a lot from this experience too! We learned to provide technical support, to help families with photo and video editing and uploading to the website and we are happy to make a difference and help our community come together. We're very excited to help clubs participate in virtual voting, please let us know if you are interested in setting up a site for your club.
Sonoma County is grateful to Mia and Millie for stepping up and taking over the entire process and helping multiple clubs in our community complete their election process. They are now ready to help other clubs set up a virtual election process too!
Check out the4Helectionproject.com
Fill out the online request form for assistance in setting up your club's virtual election.
- Author: Andrew Kielak
Every ten years, the United States Census is sent to every resident of our country in order to get an accurate count of our population. This data is utilized for several different purposes, and the California 4-H Civic Engagement Committee wants to remind you of the importance of this effort. Below are just a few reasons why filling out the census from home now will help your local community.
Safely fill it out from home
This is the first year we are able to complete the Census online, at my2020census.gov. This is extra beneficial considering everything going on with COVID-19. You should have received a code for your household in the mail. If you don't have the code you can still fill out the Census online and enter your address information manually.
Data collection for the census has begun, so don't wait! It's only nine questions. You can fill it out from home by phone, online, or by mailing in the form being sent to homes. If you do not respond or fill out all the questions by May 1st, a census-worker will have to come by your residence to conduct an in-person interview. Responding from home now will limit the number of people who have to go door to door.
Ensures Equal Representation
The census helps to ensure that we are all represented. The data collected by the census is used to determine the number of Congress members we have, which is based on population. This is to make certain everyone is equally represented. If people do not fill out the census, there will be an inaccurate count–and thus our voice may not be heard.
Funding from the Federal Government
Population is a major determining factor in how much funding communities receive from the federal government. This funding impacts schools, childcare, medical care and many other programs that support youth and families. Because of these reasons, it is imperative to ensure we are accurately counted so our communities receive the funding we need.