Steven Worker is the 4-H Youth Development Advisor for Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.
4-H uses a variety of volunteers for it's programs. Steven conducted a study of volunteer educators, with a "diverse experiences, abilities and values" to teach STEM projects to students using 4-H curriculum at three sites using three different methods.
To describe volunteers' pedagogical practices, I conducted a qualitative case study at three sites where volunteer educators were implementing a design-based 4-H curriculum. The curriculum advanced youth scientific literacy by supporting scientific inquiry in conjunction with planning, designing and making shareable artifacts. Through detailed observations, videos and focus groups, I identified six common pedagogical practices, though educators differed widely in which ones they used. Pragmatic and structural constraints shaped their choices, as did their professional identification as engineers, or not, and their relative comfort with engineering.
To support volunteer educators in implementing a learner-centered educational program, curricula designers might be more specific in recommending and explaining pedagogical practices, and program managers might better train volunteer educators in those preferred practices.
Read this research article is in California Agriculture, volume 71, number 4.
Citation: Worker S. 2017. Volunteer educators bring their own ideas about effective teaching to a 4-H curriculum. Calif Agr 71(4):208-213. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2017a0021.
- Author: Diego Mariscal
- Editor: J. M.
4-H Outreach Summer Program
Summer of 2018
More than 100 youth, ages 5-12, participated in four weeks of summer camps in Santa Rosa and Windsor. The camps focused on team building, leadership, and civic services while also keeping youth active with sports clinics and non-competitive scrimmages to promote skill building.
Additionally, 4-H continued to grow its college preparation program – called JUNTOS - for Latino high school students. Four teens from Sonoma County were selected to attend the Juntos Summer Academy at UC Merced. The academy lasted 3 days and offered teens a weekend of college life along with college preparation workshops and mentoring.
As the new year begins, 4-H will continue to work with families, school districts and community partners to present more opportunities to engage in positive youth development programs.
- Editor: Jesenia Mendoza
Diego Mariscal, 4-H Community Education Specialist (position funded by Initiative)
Steven M. Worker, 4-H Youth Development Advisor
Stephanie Larson, County Director
County Portrait: There are over 92,000 youth in Sonoma County, with 37% identifying as Latino, 44% eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and 22% classified as English learners.
A particular strength were eight 4-H afterschool clubs, offering up to 75-hours of educational and athletic programs to youth at local elementary schools. Clubs focused on hands-on science, nutrition, leadership, and civics activities in addition to physical activity to promote healthy living. Programs included a strong teenagers-as-teachers component where teenagers were recruited and trained to facilitate activities. These long-term programs, particularly in comparison to short-term programs (e.g., less than 3 hours), supported tremendous outcomes and impacts. Youth increased their public speaking ability, science literacy, and reported healthier habits than before. Additionally, parents became much more invested in the 4-H program and began to lead expansion efforts. This will support long-term 4-H program sustainability.
Through our efforts, Sonoma 4-H increased the number of youth engaging in 4-H and developed new ways for youth to engage in 4-H programs. We strengthened our partnerships with local high schools and elementary schools, the Sonoma County Library, community centers, and the Boys and Girls Club.
The Sonoma County 4-H outreach approach focused more on long-term development of life skills for youth and volunteers, but while continuing short term experiences to improve brand awareness. We continued balancing this approach to recruit and cultivate more youth and adult volunteers to become invested in the 4-H program.