- (Focus Area) 4-H
- Author: Saoimanu Sope
Ibrahim Yaaseem, una residente en la Península de Palos Verdes, toma un casco de seguridad y lo coloca en su cabeza, después se pone el chaleco naranja y las gafas de protección. El atuendo es parte del equipo de seguridad que debe usar para participar en una jornada de aprendizaje práctico del club juvenil 4-H.
El Programa de Desarrollo Juvenil 4-H de Los Ángeles ya está pensando en el futuro de la administración del agua y ha acudido al Distrito Municipal de Aguas de West Basin de la Cuenca Oeste en El Segundo, para obtener un entendimiento más profundo del precioso recurso que damos por sentado muy a menudo.
4-H es un programa de la División de Agricultura y Recursos Naturales de la Universidad de California UC ANR disponible en todo el estado, a través de oficinas locales de Extensión Cooperativa que ofrece aprendizaje práctico y divertido para jóvenes de 8 a 18 años de edad. 4-H empodera a los jóvenes para que alcancen su máximo potencial. Les ayuda a fortalecer su autoestima, a participar en los asuntos de su comunidad y a surgir como verdaderos líderes.
Hay una gran diversidad de temas disponibles para aprender y como parte del aprendizaje sobre biología marina, Dee Keese, líder comunitaria de 4-H, coordinó, en diciembre de 2022, una excursión de aprendizaje interactivo por las instalaciones de la recicladora de agua West Basin's Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility con el propósito de inspirar un mayor aprecio por el agua.
Durante el recorrido los estudiantes observaron de primera mano el impresionante equipo y conocieron a trabajadores que colaboran en las tareas de reciclamiento de aproximadamente 40 millones de galones de agua diariamente. Al final del día, los estudiantes salieron con un entendimiento profundo de los recursos hídricos y se sintieron muy motivados para cuidar y conservar el vital líquido.
“Hemos aprendido que reciclar el agua ayuda a conservar este recurso limitado y a mejorar las condiciones ambientales de nuestras aguas costeras”, manifestó Yaaseen. “También, aprendimos bastante sobre cómo cuidar el agua para las futuras generaciones y que la conservación del agua es un elemento clave para combatir el cambio climático”.
Aunque Keese ha sido voluntaria de 4-H por 48 años, esta es solo la segunda vez que colabora en un proyecto educativo con las autoridades del agua en su distrito, “Me gusta está colaboración”, señaló. “Siempre estoy buscando organizaciones comunitarias y sitios en donde les gustaría interactuar a los niños”.
Líderes como Keese y los programas 4-H motivan a administradores del agua como Ancayan a dedicar también tiempo a la educación de la comunidad. “Me siento siempre tan humilde e inspirada cuando los maestros tienen como prioridad visitar nuestras instalaciones. Especialmente, en el sur de California, (el agua) no es algo en lo que pensemos”, dijo Ancayan.
Esto porque incluso en épocas de sequía, el agua sigue saliendo de las llaves de casa, para ducharnos, lavar los trastos o regar el pasto. De ahí que no es de extrañar que la conservación del agua no sea siempre una prioridad para los consumidores. Sin embargo; educar al público enfocándose en las próximas generaciones es la mejor manera de prepararse para el futuro.
Las autoridades del agua, en cada municipio, ofrecen una variedad de programas educativos para grupos de diferentes edades. Muchos involucran la participación activa como el programa local Teach and Test (Enseña y Prueba) en sociedad con la Fundación Sufrider, en donde los estudiantes de la preparatoria pueden analizar muestras del agua costera, identificar bacterias y compartir los resultados con su comunidad para ayudar en la supervisión de la calidad del agua en esa área.
De acuerdo con Yaaseen, el tiempo transcurrido con Ancayan en la Cuenca Oeste fue “único” y les ofreció una “oportunidad muy valiosa” para aprender por qué son tan importantes las instalaciones de aguas residuales recicladas. Ancayan espera que esa experiencia influya en los estudiantes para que opten por una carrera relacionada con el agua.
“No es un trabajo glamoroso, pero me apasiona pensar en la siguiente generación de trabajadores de los recursos hídricos”, indicó. “Espero que una vez que vean la ingeniería, el entusiasmo de los científicos que trabajan en nuestro laboratorio y todo lo que aquí sucede, los jóvenes también empiecen a pensar en las múltiples oportunidades profesionales que hay alrededor (de la administración y cuidado) del agua”.
Para aquellos interesados en unirse a 4-H, visiten https://4h.ucanr.edu/Members/
Adaptado al español por Leticia Irigoyen del artículo en inglés
Editado para su publicación por Norma De la Vega
- Author: Laura Snell
I just wanted to give a little update on the 2023 Devil's Garden (DG) Colt Challenge. We had 40 youth in 4-H and FFA enroll in the program from 18 counties all over California. This year, weanlings through two year old wild horses were available to participants from the 2022 Devil's Garden Wild Horse gather. Youth picked up their horses around January 1, 2023. A competition will be held on June 17th at the Junior Livestock Showgrounds (8th and Nagle) in Alturas starting at noon for them to compete for awards in halter, showmanship and obstacle course.
Each April we have held a video challenge for youth to show us how far they have come with their horses. This was a great activity during Covid but has continued to be a highlight and opportunity to share more about our youth and their horses with partners and interested parties. Videos were evaluated on 4 criteria: Creativity, Horse Behavior, Trainer Ability, and Grooming. The winners this year are below, please enjoy watching their videos. All three winners are 4-H'ers this year!
Thank you for your support of this program and the unique opportunity it provides for youth in California. Please feel free to share this with other contacts that may be interested in the success of this program as well.
Zoey and Ginger: Fresno County, Reedley 4-H
Anika and Rusty: Contra Costa County, Brentwood 4-H
Aubrielle and Mystic: Shasta County 4-H
For more information see our website at devilsgardenucce.org and follow Devils Garden Research and Education on Facebook.
- Author: Shannon A Klisch
- Author: Kelly Hong
- Author: Mishelle Costa
Three years ago, in early March 2020, our CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE team was sitting in our downstairs auditorium trying to figure out how we could host our annual 4-H SNAC Culinary Academy in the face of something we had never experienced, and didn't yet grasp, was going to be a pandemic that would disrupt everything. We heard that schools were shutting down for a week, maybe two. Instruction was moving online. We were in the busiest part of our school programming year, planning for our fifth Culinary Academy with a group of youth leaders we had been working with all year. Recipes had been selected, supplies gathered, food about to be purchased. And then we realized... you can't bring youth together from four different schools across two counties to cook, laugh, play, teach, and lead in the midst of an unknown infectious and global disease. It was heartbreaking and suddenly real as we were sent home from the office, laptops in tow, and told to work from home until further notice.
Fast forward three years to April 2023. Walking into a school cafeteria over Spring Break, bustling with life and young leaders perfecting culinary techniques, putting MyPlate into practice, playing and leading physical activity breaks. I don't mean to be dramatic, but I almost cried.
On April 12, 2023 about 35 youth from 4-H SNAC Clubs in the Santa Maria-Bonita and Lompoc Unified School Districts came together for a postponed 5th annual Culinary Academy. Youth worked on recipes to enhance their knife and stove top skills, food safety, and baking techniques. Youth leaders selected the healthy, low-cost recipes including omelets and pizza. Youth also learned about food preservation and water bath canning techniques from the UC Master Food Preserver volunteers.
4-H SNAC is a collaboration between several UCCE programs including CalFresh Healthy Living and 4-H, local schools, youth, and families. The goal of 4-H SNAC Clubs is to engage 5th and 6th grade youth in low-income communities in identifying and leading healthy changes in their schools or communities while building their leadership skills.
Studies show that getting kids involved in cooking and food preparation is one of the best ways to promote healthy, lifelong eating habits. With 4-H SNAC Clubs we take those healthy habits one step further as the youth spread their knowledge and skills by leading food demonstrations at their schools, in their homes, and in their communities.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider. Full FNS Nondiscrimination Statement.
- Author: JoLynn Miller
Last month was National Volunteering Month and as a wrap up, here are some amazing things about volunteering you may not have known!
History of Volunteering
Volunteering is part of the fabric of our nation. From the very beginning, community members banded together to help each other out. One of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, started the first volunteer firehouse in 1736 and other efforts followed, often in support of the Revolutionary War. In the 1800s religious organizations fed the homeless and helped those less fortunate. Also, in the 1800s many well-known organizations were formed. These include the YMCA, American Red Cross, and United Way. During the 1900s volunteering increased with organizations like Rotary, Lions Club, and Kiwanis. Many of these volunteer organizations were focused on helping people in need, but youth serving organizations also got their start in the early 1900s; organizations like 4-H, Camp Fire Girls, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.
Nationally, and in California, volunteer rates increased during the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. Numbers hit a peak in the mid-2000s. Over the last ten years, those rates have remained steady or slightly dropped. In 2021, over 5.5 million formal volunteers contributed 379.2 million hours of service through organizations, with an estimated worth of $13.5 billion (Americorps.gov). This equates to roughly 18.3% of California residents who formally volunteered through organizations. Over 46.1% of residents report doing a favor for a neighbor which is a type of informal volunteering. Virtual volunteering increased prior to and during the pandemic. It allows community members to help organizations even when they are not in town. Things like accounting, writing newsletters, website design, or social media are all jobs volunteers can do virtually and on their own schedule.
Benefits to YOU
Did you know you might live longer if you volunteer? The Mayo Clinic cites research that shows volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health. In addition, in 2005 a longitudinal study showed folks that volunteer live longer than those that don't.
Volunteering could serve as a path to employment, not only for teens and young adults, but for those re-entering the workforce after time away. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) states that volunteers have a 27% higher chance of finding a job after being out of work compared to those not volunteering. If a person does not have a high school diploma, volunteering could increase their chance of finding a job by 51%! The CNCS reports that volunteers living in rural areas have a 55% higher chance of finding employment that non-volunteers. While the research didn't investigate why this may be true, there could be a variety of reasons. Volunteers get experience and skill-building within the organization. When you volunteer, you build connections with others who can vouch for your reputation and work ethic. In depth volunteering can and should be placed on a resume with the supervisor or volunteer coordinator listed as a reference. In a recent study by Worker et al (2020), California 4-H volunteers reported personal benefits of volunteering in five themes: Skill Development, Well-being, Sense of Gratification from Working with Youth and Adults, Social Development, and Deepening their Relationship with 4-H. This study describes the positive benefit volunteering with this organization had on the volunteer themselves.
Benefits to the Community
Research suggests that communities with strong volunteerism rates are stronger and more resilient overall. Community members who volunteer act as bridges bringing people together that may not have otherwise been connected. Local economy experiences positive effects when individuals receive professional development opportunities as part of their volunteer role. A 2012 report from the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) explained that an increased number and variety of nonprofit organizations in a community, along with positive community relationships, can help it to withstand unemployment in a recession. The NCoC states “for individuals who held jobs in 2008, the odds of becoming unemployed were cut in half if they lived in a community with many nonprofit organizations rather than one with a few nonprofits, even if the two communities were otherwise similar.”
A quick story.
Tuolumne County hosts a county-wide volunteer fair every year where they try to connect local citizens with volunteering opportunities. I had the pleasure of interviewing a participant that came to the 2018 fair and in 2019 started volunteering at the local juvenile hall via a community non-profit. Because of her great work at the juvenile hall, this volunteer was invited to a presentation by renowned child psychologist, Dr. Ross Green, hosted by the YES Partnership and Tuolumne Resiliency Coalition, titled: “Collaborative and Proactive Solutions: Understanding and helping children with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. This ultimately led adding to coursework at Columbia College and she is now double majoring in Psychology and Allied Health. Because of this volunteering opportunity, she feels better able to take initiative and has been able to push out of her comfort zone. “Since the Volunteer Fair, things in my life have just lined up.” She credits her attendance at the Volunteer Fair and subsequent volunteering to her changing life's course.
Continue to volunteer! Help others see the benefits of volunteering within 4-H and other organizations. We appreciate what you bring to the organization, and we hope you see the benefit too!
Harris AH, Thoresen CE. Volunteering is associated with delayed mortality in older people: analysis of the longitudinal study of aging. J Health Psychol. 2005 Nov;10(6):739-52. doi: 10.1177/1359105305057310. PMID: 16176953.
Worker, S.M., Espinoza, D.M., Kok, C.M., Go, C.G., Miller, J.C. (2020) Volunteer Outcomes and Impact: The Contributions and Consequences of Volunteering in 4-H. Journal of Youth Development. Vol 15 (4). DOI 10.5195/jyd.2020.847
- Author: Saoimanu Sope
A typical day for Dee Keese starts with a 10-mile walk at 5 a.m. and her morning wraps up with a swim. Although Keese is in her late 70s, her daily routine would not surprise you if you knew what she has been doing for the last 48 years.
For nearly a half-century, Keese has been the 4-H community leader for the Palos Verdes Peninsula (PVP) club in Los Angeles County. A youth development program managed through local University of California Cooperative Extension offices, 4-H uses hands-on learning experiences to empower youth to build self-esteem and connect with their communities as emerging leaders.
“When you're pushing 80, working with young people helps to keep you young,” Keese said.
4-H has been a game changer in many ways
In the 1970s, Keese moved to the Palos Verdes area with her first-born son who had a learning disability. Others treated him differently in school, and it didn't help that he was the new kid in town. A neighbor encouraged Keese to enroll her son in 4-H.
“She told me, ‘You've got to put your son in 4-H so he can feel good about himself,'” explained Keese. “And let me tell you, it changed my life.”
In 1978, two weeks before her fifth child was born, Keese became the 4-H PVP club's community leader and has been in the role ever since.
While reflecting on her earlier days with 4-H, Keese remembered when most members were boys. Girls were not intentionally excluded at the time; clubs just didn't attract them. When girls eventually joined 4-H, it was a game changer.
“All of a sudden, the program shifted focus from solely agriculture and animals to include home economics like cooking and sewing,” Keese said. “Now, all my sons do the cooking in their homes. It's a good thing! Because we're moving away from traditional domestic duties, men and women are sharing roles, as they should be.”
The PVP 4-H club offers activities like archery, sailing, surfing and geocaching. “Everything we do is to help our youth be better as adults, out in the real world and in the workforce,” said Keese. “We're relying on the internet too much. Kids need to get outside and do things.”
Over the years, Keese has taken members – who range in age from 5 to 19 – on numerous hikes in places like Havasupai Indian Reservation and Mt. Whitney. She's taken them kayaking on the Colorado River and, these days, co-hosts old-fashioned card game nights on the weekends with other community members.
As a lifeguard and water safety instructor, Keese gives free training to interested 4-H members to become lifeguards. Training courses usually cost well over $200 per person. “If they're interested, I train them and they have another skill to use. And it benefits our club,” said Keese. “When we have pool parties or beach days, my kids are prepared to step in and help.”
‘She will help anyone and everyone at any time'
Ace Yeck, former president of the PVP 4-H club, met Keese 12 years ago and decided to become a 4-H member when he was in fourth grade, following a convincing conversation with her. “She just kept giving me opportunities,” said Yeck.
Currently a third-year undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University studying entrepreneurship, Yeck credits 4-H for preparing him for college. “I got all my community service and public speaking practice through 4-H. I remember doing beach clean-ups, feeding the homeless, helping out at the Christmas fair, and all kinds of events,” he shared.
During his years with 4-H, Yeck was elected to the state board as an ambassador before he went on to represent 4-H at the national level. “Dee encouraged me every time, so I kept going,” he said.
Keese admitted that her life is so full and fun because of 4-H. Her motivation stems from the growth and progress that her students experience. “My kids let me know when I've done something to impact their life. It keeps me motivated,” she said.
While thinking about the members she's had over the last 48 years, she couldn't help but stress how important it is that they feel safe. Keese recalls one student who is gay and had a challenging time getting his parents to understand because of religious and cultural barriers. “The family's priest called me and told me that this student felt like I was the only one who loved him,” she said.
“I can talk about Dee forever,” said Yeck. “One of her best qualities is that she will help anyone and everyone at any time. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and goes to bed at, like, 10 p.m. During that time, she's always helping people,” he added.
Because Keese comes from a different generation compared to the kids in her 4-H club, she attributes her successful impact to her ability to adapt. “If we want to keep kids in this, we've got to be flexible! And you've got to do things they like. We can't do things the way it's always been done before,” said Keese. “We have to be flexible.”
To Keese, 4-H is not just an opportunity to teach life skills or introduce kids to agriculture. It's a chance for them to build community.
“That's what I think my generation does well, having grown up in the '50s and '60s,” Keese said. “We're all about that communal living.”