- (Focus Area) 4-H
- Author: Nathaniel W. Caeton
An unfortunate fact of life is that emergencies and disasters can and do occur. These events, which include earthquakes, wildfires, outbreaks of infectious disease, and more, can happen at any time and often do so with little or no warning. Not only do these events have the potential to affect every facet of life, but local emergency services can quickly become overwhelmed.
California alone has had no shortage of disasters. In 2022, the State experienced 7,490 wildfires, with 362,455 acres burned, 876 structures lost or damaged, and 9 fatalities (CalFire, 2022). Although the total amount of acres burned significantly dropped this past year, the 5-year average for acres burned rests at more than 2,300,000 (CalFire, 2022). As 2022 drew to a close, the State was hit by the first of several atmospheric rivers, bringing severe winter storms, disastrous flooding, landslides, and mudslides. This led President Biden to approve a major disaster declaration for California on January 14, 2023 (The White House, 2023). At the time of press, there are two active disasters declared for the State, encompassing 43 of 58 counties (FEMA, 2023).
“Children represent a vulnerable group and are disproportionately impacted during times of disaster.”
While the impact of these tragedies can be felt by all walks of life, children represent a vulnerable group and are disproportionately impacted during times of disaster (Peek, 2008). While there are many variables that influence the vulnerability of a particular child, as a whole “young people are less likely to understand the events affecting them, have less control and decision-making opportunities than adults, and often have less experience coping with highly stressful situations (SAMHSA, 2022).” Children are also more likely to experience trauma as a result of disaster because they are more likely to be severely injured and often lack knowledge of safety precautions (SAMHSA, 2022).
“The importance of equipping our youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters cannot be ignored.”
When confronted with such sobering information, one might be led to wonder what role, if any, might young people have when it comes to disaster preparedness and community resilience. The answer is simple; a significant one. With an estimated 22.4% of California's population falling under the age of 18, the importance of equipping our youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters cannot be ignored (US Census Bureau, 2022). Development of these skills can lead to a number of benefits including increased resilience and decreased fear and anxiety (FEMA, 2023). Furthermore, you people can become change agents and leaders within their families, schools, and communities – a time-tested approach rooted in the beginnings of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System, when rural youth programs were used as a way to introduce new agricultural technologies to adults (UC ANR). The method remains the same but instead of introducing agricultural technologies, today's young people can help introduce the concept of preparedness. Prepared individuals build prepared communities, and a prepared community is a resilient community.
This begs the question of where to go from here. Thankfully youth preparedness programs are gaining momentum and My Preparedness Initiative (MyPI) is one of them. MyPI is a complete leadership and disaster preparedness curriculum aimed at teens aged 13-19. Initially developed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service in 2013, MyPI has grown into a national program that reaches 27 states and 3 territories. The program has three key components, which are outlined below.
- Component A: Consists of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
- Component B: Consists of a full-featured add-on catalog, where participants can complete CPR/AED certifications, focus on specialty tracks in technology and career exploration, and participate in disaster simulations.
- Component C: Consists of the Prep+6 capstone project, where participants help develop emergency supply kits and emergency communication plans for their family and six additional families or households.
After an extended delay associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic, this innovative program is now slated for implementation in California this Summer, with an Instructor Certification and Training Workshop (ICTW) scheduled for August 2-4, 2023. The location is still to be determined, but if you would like to know more about this program or would like to become an adult MyPI Instructor, please contact Nate Caeton at email@example.com or complete the MyPI Interest Survey.
Youth preparedness programs like MyPI are positioned to play a vital role in developing young people while addressing the ever-pressing need for increased community resilience. If there are no programs like this in your area, you are encouraged to help establish one. And remember, as the leader of a youth preparedness program, you are doing much more than merely supporting local preparedness efforts. You are cultivating the next generation of leaders – leaders who can navigate adversity, effect positive change, and contribute to their communities.
- 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: Kelly Hong
- Author: Shannon A Klisch
The 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) club at Rice Elementary returned to in-person meetings this year for the first time since March 2020. 4-H SNAC is a collaboration between UC Cooperative Extension programs (CalFresh Healthy Living and 4-H) and local schools and provides 4th - 6th graders opportunity to build leadership skills and create healthy changes in their community.
Student leaders were excited to join the club this year and promote healthy living at a school-wide Family Wellness Night event, where families were invited to learn about community resources and healthy living tips. 4-H SNAC youth leaders worked together to decide which topics they wanted to promote. Ultimately they voted to host two booths including 1) a garden station where students demonstrated how to plant tomato and pepper plants and provided information on how to grow food at home, and 2) a hydration station with a spin-the-wheel game where students leaders engaged families in physical activity and shared how to make fruit infused waters to reduce their consumption of sugary beverages.
Leading up to the event youth learned about the importance of nutrition, gardening, and physical activity and the role they play in living a healthy lifestyle from the club facilitator. During club meetings, they practiced making group decisions following Parliamentary Procedure, making healthy recipes, maintaining their school garden, and playing games that focused on being physically active. Family Wellness Night was a culmination of the 4-H SNAC youth leaders' hard work where they were able to showcase all their new skills to be agents for change in their community. As a result, students reported that the best part of participating as a youth leader in this program included making food and learning how to make the world a healthier place, getting to work as a team, teaching others, and promoting healthy living at Family Wellness Night.
More information on starting a 4-H SNAC Club in your community can be found in our recently published 4-H SNAC Guide.
Funding support provided by USDA NIFA, CYFAR
California's CalFresh Healthy Living, with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – USDA SNAP, produced this material. These institutions are equal opportunity providers and employers. For important nutrition information, visit www.CalFreshHealthyLiving.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider. Full FNS Nondiscrimination Statement.
- 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.